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Assaulted by lorikeets; finally, ravens!

I seem to have a knack for finding the really boring places in Edinburgh. I'm staying in a serviced apartment for a few days, which is nice and spacious but has poor noise isolation, crappy wifi, and a crappy shower head. Though a nice full bathtub. And today's shower ran out of hot water. Yesterday evening I went for a walk down to the docks, and it was not exciting at all. Houses and hotels -- okay, some interest looking in the windows at decor -- Salamander Street of nothingness, duller houses on the way back.

Earlier I stumbled upon my first real Tesco, not a Tesco Express or the other "hole in the urban wall" brands but a full fledge giant supermarket.

Today I was up late and didn't feel great, so running late, but went to the Edinburgh Zoo anyway. It turned out to be pretty cool, even for just two hours, though it helps if I don't think about what 13 pounds is in dollars. But it's pretty big, and has lots of nice habitats for the animals -- some so nice you can hardly see the animals. 'Nice' generally meaning "overgrown with greenery and rich in water features." The post title first part comes from a somewhat standard lorikeet aviary, where you could buy cups of nectar to attract them. Somewhat less standard for me was how aggressive they were, often flocking on people. I even had my head landed on twice and I *didn't* have any nectar. One small kid was quickly terrified of the things.

I've never seen ravens in a zoo before, that I can recall. Or at all, which made me sad. I keep wondering if I do, and get told those are crows. Edinburgh had a common raven cage, which I was happy to stumble on. Only I couldn't see the ravens. After waiting a while I turned away sadly... and then they came out! And holy crap my mother was right, they *are* big. I don't think I'll be confused about that again. Helped by a feral crow being on top of the enclosure, for some added contrast.

There's a building with a bunch of chimps, though they were mostly resting or eating. Or as one girl pointed out of one of them, "she's doing it!" There's a Living Links building for research on squirrel and capuchin monkey behavior, with two enclosures of each, for ready-made controlled experiments. The squirrel monkeys running around were cute, the capuchins even cuter, especially when one had food and another one was nearby and they kept turning or going in circles respectively. Another one had an apple which looked rather big compared to it, but it was taking big bites, though also dropping a lot to the floor. Hmm, I wonder if it was sucking juice out of its bites and spitting out the flesh.

Jaguar. Leopard. Sumatran tiger. Asiatic golden cats. Painted hunting dogs, the new PC name for African wild dogs. Lots of penguins -- you know, any place that has penguins has lots of penguins. Kind of like meerkats. A porcupine. Supposedly Eurasian beavers, but I didn't see them. African aviary -- not a walk through one, just a big enclosure with a bunch of birds, and also dik-diks, tiny antelopes.

You know, the map doesn't look that big or complex. Pretty spread out, I guess.

Staying another day to sleep more, plan more, and figure out what to do with my bag. Familyfriend returned the bag I'd left with her, and I was dismayed to feel it's almost as heavy by itself as the clothing duffel I've had in the Highlands (and which can fit inside the big bag for say, airplanes.) Goddamned language books.


Damien Sullivan

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