John and Chie at London Zoo

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London Zoo is just a short walk from my flat, so on Friday 30th June 2000 me and Chie, both of us just big kids at heart, decided to spend a day there. Despite a few moral quandries about whether or not zoos are really right, I had a really nice time there, and probably enjoyed it even more than I would when I was a kid. Obviously this was a great opportunity for some pictures, so off we went, camera(s) in hand, to see what we could see.

13:38:10 Here's the first place we visited, the small mammal house. Chie didn't like this picture very much! Perhaps not the most flattering of angles - I think it's the photographer at fault here - not the subject!

13:39:27 Ermmm, now I think this was a Gold Tamarin, although I could well be wrong.

13:44:05 More cute little primate guys.

13:54:44 Feeding time at the zoo. These little guys were so cool - they kept snatching bits of fruit off eachother - they looked so human! The picture doesn't really do it justice...

14:19:57 Right so here's some pelicans, with Chie laughing in the foreground for no apparent reason! Maybe pelican means something rude in Japanese?

14:21:42 A slightly manky pelican.

14:23:27 Well you can't really see them that well, but there are some flamingoes in the background here- honest! I'm therefore doing the obvious.

14:24:12 A second attempt to get a picture of those flamingoes...

14:30:30 There's a statue of a lion's head here, I was trying to get it in the middle of our heads but kind of missed...

14:31:28 Here's the big guy, looking misleadingly peaceful. I'm always amazed by the way big cats act identically to little cats - the way they lap up water, the way they scratch, and so on.

14:33:03 Here he is pacing up and down. This bit is always a real shame - it's really magnificent to see animals like this so close up, but obviously it is really unnatural and not really fair on the animal itself. I also got a video clip of him which you can see here.

14:37:14 Still, on the other hand, as Chie pointed out, zoos are important for conservation and raising awareness of conservation issues... I think for me the jury is still out on whether it's right or wrong.

14:37:32 I don't care how thick that glass is, I was bloody scared!

14:40:16 One of my favourite bits (and everybody else's it seemed) - the penguin pool. Despite a sign pointing out the pool as "a building of special architectural interest", I couldn't help thinking it seemed like a very artificial environment for the penguins.

14:41:49 We got there at feeding time! This must be one of the best jobs in the zoo. If you look closely you can just see a fish in mid air.

14:44:37 Hold on a minute - you're not a penguin! Clear off!

14:44:55 Chie does her penguin impression - nice!

14:45:56 I could watch penguins all day - I love the way they waddle along. I also took a little movie of them which you can see here.

14:48:56 Despite their very artifical environment, I kind of got the feeling the penguins were one of the happier zoo animals. Lots of friends, as much fish as they could eat, and great weather all year round (from their point of view at any rate).

14:51:02 They're fantastic swimmers - so well streamlined.

14:54:13 Several of the guys enjoying a post meal swim.

15:11:23 Now you're definitely not a penguin.

15:12:02 There's a shop by the penguin pool where we went to buy monkeys! Here is Chie with Minky (the black one) and Winky (the, err, other one).

15:12:35 ...and here's me with Minky and Winky.

15:18:37 Myself, Chie and our new found primate buddies.

15:27:09 Hello Mr Camel!

15:28:04 A slightly better camel picture. Its hump seemed to be leaning over a bit. Well I'm no zoologist but I'm guessing when food is plentiful there's no need to maintain a fat reserve. I could be wrong!

15:30:47 This sign appealed to me for some reason!

15:31:51 I don't think Chie could do a convincing camel impression...

15:39:24 We timed it just right to see the elephant's bath time... There's three here, and they're all girls apparently.

15:39:44 Zosan, zosan, oh hana ga nagui...

15:44:06 Yes, it's definitely an elephant.

15:44:24 Am I right in thinking these are Indian elephants? (smaller ears?)

15:49:03 Yet more elephotography.

15:49:38 Chie doing a bizarre elephant impression - is that a five trunked elephant?

15:52:00 You can't quite read the sign in this picture, but it's a warning that apparently the elephants are likely to steal loose items such as handbags and cameras!

16:04:06 Here's a rhino. I think it shares the same bit of outside with another rhino that it doesn't get on with very well, so when that one is outside, this one has to stay inside.

16:08:27 So here's the outdoor rhino - and Chie doing another great impression!

16:08:51 I am quite worried by how convincingly monkey like I am in this picture.

16:09:25 A young boy runs right across the picture totally oblivious to his surroundings!

16:09:29 If primates were employed as removal men, this impression would be a lot more convincing!

16:11:01 One of the keepers feeds one of the gorillas with an unpleasant looking liquid...

16:50:34 Messed this one up - it's too dark. Still you can just about see a little gathering of monkeys having their dinner.

17:02:44 This guy was called a bongo, apparently.

17:03:10 Categorically the first time I've ever seen anyone doing an impression of a bongo (at least of the hoofed variety).

17:06:10 The giraffes were all indoors. It's not obvious from the picture, but the one in the foreground had to have its ear surgically removed because its mother had been chewing it! Eww!

17:07:01 I love the way they put the feeding baskets way up high like that. Of course, they probably have to! But still, errr...

17:12:38 I could pretend this is arty, but it's actually just badly lit!

17:13:58 Kirinsan, kirinsan, your neck is very long...

17:23:08 Regent's canal goes through one end of the zoo, by the big aviary. Here's Chie on the bridge over it.

17:23:24 ...and here's me!

17:25:36 This is inside the aviary thing, a couple of birds tiptoeing across the stream.

17:27:32 Again inside the aviary. Errr, thanks Chie!

17:27:49 Awwww... I like this one :)

17:30:25 Right so we're out of the aviary now, and making our way to the exit. From this side you get a good view back over the rest of the zoo.

17:30:44 There were a few separate bird enclosures near the exit. This picture was taken through the fence but I just managed to avoid getting any bits of wire in the way...

17:31:11 ...this one is better still... You could almost believe it was taken in the wild... errr, maybe!

17:35:38 These owls were really sinister. They just sat staring at you. They worried me.

17:36:39 So here's the exit - we didn't want to leave!

17:37:00 I can't bare it! I want to stay!

17:53:15 After leaving the zoo, we wandered up Primose Hill, before making our ay home. All in all, genuinely one of the nicest days I've ever had.


The lion pacing up and down...

The penguins waddling about...