Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Zurich and the Zoo

Clearly the product of a country
that knows how to enjoy itself... 
Zurich might seem an odd place for a holiday. Efficiency and high prices seldom make for the best jaunts. But when an old bandcamp friend, Maestro-in-Training (MiT), moved out there, a visit was planned. And this is how I found myself in the wilds of urban Zurich last weekend with Pegson in tow.

MiT's encyclopaedic knowledge of Zurich was such that, if the conducting thing goes to pot, a fallback guided tour career awaits.

After local architecture, interesting geographical features and places of worship had been covered, we took a tram to the zoo. There are only four topics of conversation possible at any zoo. As follows:

1. Levels of liveliness of favoured beasts. Subtitled: 'Is it dead?'
2. Enclosure size. A certain space meets layman understanding of what is  appropriate for [large-ish animal] to live in. All others declared cruel.
3. Security of dangerous beast enclosures. Subtitled: 'That tiger could absolutely get out of there if it tried'. (Taking into account moats, electric wiring etc.)
4. Physical similarity of beasts to mutual friends. (This should really be at 1. My oft-remarked facial similarity to a monkey makes zoo trips endlessly hilarious. I love it, obviously.)

Passing the Chimp Enclosure for the fourth time that day, I finally dragged Pegson and MiT into another enclosure - the Seal House. They were still chortling about the monkey thing when a seal slid down the window and lay on its back on the tank floor not moving. At that moment a parent carrying its child pushed in front of us to get a closer look at the cute seals.
For Reference: A live seal

Fearful that seal death would scar the child for life, we knew we should intervene. 
'Right.' [whispered]
'Is it dead?'

The seal just lay there. On its back. Not moving.

'Did we just see a seal … die?' I ventured. 

Roaming meant googling 'how do seals sleep?' was out. The silence of death came upon the Seal House. Even the neighbouring months-old child had started to stare.

Other seals slipped by: their cheerful swimming highlighting more and more the stationary dead-ness of our floored friend. 

'Let's hit the gorillas!' Pegson said, gratefully seizing the opportunity for more monkey-based gags.

Nothing to be done. We scuttled past the forlorn seal-loving crowd. The Dead Seal opened one eye. He waggled a fin. Relief broke across the city.


  1. i wonder whether they monitor the cages 24/7 so that any corpses can immediately be removed, or whether sometimes animals are dead in front of small children for hours on end? pondering, L.

  2. good skills on finding the post! not on facebook yet. slack i know. incidentally what thoughts on a kate in the countryside facebook group? would you be lead member if i asked nicely?

  3. Loving the seal pic - am so tempted to go back to the Zoo to see the Penguins do their twice daily walk around the grounds. Maybe I could steal one when I am there - am sure Neven would't mind...

  4. The question is - did Pogson put an embargo on the child kicking story incase of problems arising from Swiss lawyers?

  5. actually good point. the answer is yes. greggers- please don't sue ... x

  6. My people will speak with your people. I'm also concerned that the "let's hit the G's" chat will make me sound violent. It was clearly a location based hit that was requested.

    Also, no mention of rum+hot chocolate, but all in all, a very efficient post.

  7. @peter i am delighted to hear it. did you spot the efficiency of my numbered list?