Wednesday, August 13, 2003

So many wonderful things have happened in the last couple days. My illness not being one of them. This cold or whatever it is is being a bit dastardly.

Monday, Larissa and I went to the Nikolaev Zoo, and it was truly something. They have more varieties of animals than perhaps anyother zoo I've been too. That is not to say that they were kept in optimal circumstances. We saw some monkeys that we're supposedly rare, I'm not sure if that equates to endangered or hard to catch. Regardless, they were amongst the most gorgeous primates I've ever seen. They had very furry heads, and their bodies were quite small maybe 6-8 inches including tails. They were very casually eating from their tray of goodies and tossing the husks or skins to the bottom. There was also a 50 year old alligator, which from the look of it, it hadn't seem to have moved much of those 50 years. Although, it did blinks or roll it's eyelids. I was very enamored with the slon, or elephant that was playing to the kids that were feeding it. After it would fetch the fresh fruit, it would stand there waiting for more by waiving its trunk in the air. It was quite something. This was as Larissa was explaining to me the depth of an elephant's memory. This elephant was no spring chicken; although, they had those also. The chickens, cows, and horses were not exactly exotic to us discerning viewers. The ostrich that chased its keeper along the side of the cage was however quite interesting giving a little bit of a hop as it approached the edge of the space it had to run. There were goats, camels, and big cats. I was particularly impressed with the jaguars, black panthers, lions, and cougars. The cages were sometimes adequate and very different in their layout that I would have expected. For example, there was a round cage half with wolves, and the other half had coyotes. They had large arcs to run along, and run they did. They were running the first time we saw them, and some hours later when we passed by the cage they were running again. They were really beautiful animals. The whole zoo experience was great and tiring, I came home and slept for several hours afterwords. It was probably the most temperant day we've had so far here, not being much above 70. Larissa was even cold when the wind blew on occasion.

Things are really good all in all, and I'm enjoying my time here in Nikolaev. My volunteership is moving along, when I finish the webpage I'm working on, I'll post the address for others to see, and then I'm to Kiev. I have been reading a lot about what will be of note to do while I'm there, and I have a lot of time to figure it out, six weeks to be precise. My Russian is improving marginally. I actually had my first dream in the language before coming to the internet cafe this afternoon, and it mostly revolved around asking politely for staples from the various stores I'll frequent for supplies while on my own. It seems as though I will have another home stay while in Kiev with an employee from the Holocaust center there. I was told the home will be english speaking and have high ceiling. What else could a 2 meter tall gringo ask for?

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