Friday, February 11, 2011

More Fun Activities!

Le Parc Zoologique de Henri de Lunaret
Last Saturday I went to an awesome and FREE zoo in Montpellier with three other girls in my program. The zoo is actually a short walk away from the Paul Valéry campus, so we all planned to meet there at noon and walk together. Well of course there was bus strikes going on that day, so I had to wait a while for the bus and was a little. Wasn’t a big deal or anything, it’s just annoying that there are strikes practically every Saturday! This zoo is mainly outdoors except for a building that has a mini-rainforest in it (this is not free so we didn’t go in). The weather that day was sunny and perfect for walking around the large, wooded paths of the park…I didn’t even wear my jacket! Sorry, to brag friends and family back in MN, but it was super nice. The zoo was a lot bigger than I imagined, it took a while to walk from each animal habitat to the next and the paths/signs were kind of confusing. This of course didn’t bother us because we had fun just wandering around and running into whatever exhibit was hidden up ahead. One of our favorite exhibits that we saw was the Lemur house because lemurs are just so darn cute! I liked the turquoise-eyed lemurs, but the all around favorite had to be the classic ring-tailed lemur. These guys were the most active, jumping all around and SUN BATHING! Also, there was one that was missing an arm.
It’s kind of hard to make out, but this guy and others were sitting upright with their tummies facing the sun and their arms outstretched! So cute.
Turquoise-eyed lemur resting/being pensive.
Another favorite animal of ours was this guy right here. When we first walked up to the enclosure he ran in front of the window quickly and we were like “Oh it’s a fox!” but after about 5 seconds we were like “what is going on, this fox is not normal…he’s too tall and big!”
Well, upon reading the placard, which was in French, we found out that it was actually a maned wolf that has many foxlike attributes.
Besides animals the park also had some awesome wood sculptures that I took tons of pictures of and climbed atop. Here is a rhino, which was my favorite. I took a carving and construction class last semester, so that is probably why this was so interesting to me. Such a charming and grand sculpture!
Here is a curious looking baby bear.
This is me on top of mama bear. A list of animals we saw: exotic birds, a European otter, lemurs, too many hooved animals, the fox-wolf, macaques, a wolf, lions, bears, a cheetah, ostriches, giraffes, caracals, painted dogs, and zebras. That isn’t even all of the animals that they have! We got tired so we decided skipped over the Asian and oceanic animals. Afterwards, I went to the Quick near campus with Merrill to get a burger. Quick is the French version of McDonalds, but it’s not as good.

La Pantinoire
Later that night my host brother and his friend took me to the relatively new indoor ice rink near Odysseum. One part of the complex has a normal indoor ice rink and plays music. The other part of the complex is a “night club” with a dj, fog machine, strobe lights, colored lights, with ramps, tunnels, and “dance floors”. Think of a place like roller garden, but on ice! It was cool but strobe lights and fog machines make ice-skating difficult. I only fell down once! That’s pretty good for not skating since last winter.

That’s all for now! This weekend I’m going skiing in the alps with my program…another winter sport I haven’t done in a long long time. I will definitely be starting out in the jardin des enfants (bunny hill) and green slopes. Skiing is one of those things you never forget how to do, like riding a bike, right? Wish me luck!
p.s. I believe this is a map of the mountain we will be at.
p.p.s I thought this sign from the zoo was funny.
No feeding the lemurs bananas or baguettes! Only in France!

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