Mike kept slapping his thigh, laughing his heart out watching the hippo being watered by a fire hose, held with both hands by the keeper. That was almost 20 years ago and that was how long since I last visited the SF zoo. Erik sent me the link to SF Gate announcing the 8th birthday of the new hippo at the zoo. So naturally the Hippo went to visit new hippo, named after Brian Wilson of the SF Giants. The zoo had expanded, almost doubled its size, with a bigger parking lot that charged $10 and a new entrance on the Great Highway side. It was a brilliant sunny day, warm but windy. Inside the zoo 2 new places to eat and new souvenir shops. The elephants were moved out. There was a complete skeleton of a californian seal. The snow leopard (Uncia uncia) was asleep and so was the baby anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) (shhh, do not make noise, baby anteater is sleeping!) The Andean bears (Tremarctos ornatus) were very ugly. The polar bear (Ursus maritimus horriblis) played with a surfboard in the pool, while the grizzlies (Ursus arctos) lounged in the sun away from the spectators. The gorillas (gorilla gorilla gorilla) proudly played with their youngling, a happy content family, looking at us as if we were the ones in captivity. The Mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx) looked exactly like its cartoon cousin in the Lion King. The lemurs (Eulemur) were all, well, ugly. Zoo visitors were excited about the penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus), but they were magellanic, the poor ugly cousins (to the Kings of course), not very colorful, and short little things. The otters (Lutra canadensis) were playful with each other. Storks everywhere but didnt bring the Hippo any babies. And the kids all ran to see the Nile hippo (Hippopotamus amphibious), who, as usual, was not doing much except floating on the corner of the pool, occasionally spurting water from his tiny wiggling ears. But upon the Hippo's arrival, Brian did raise his head to acknowledge her presence. She had to be content with only a brief moment with him. Too many kids wanted to see the hippo. He lowered his head to continue his slumber. Sometimes I think it's quite boring being a hippo. They dont do much.
Since the day was so fine, a rarity in the city, we took the Great Highway to Ocean beach, and stopped to take a look at the ruins of the once thermal baths. Louie was closed due to new management. The Cliff House was busy but H went ahead to procure us a table so we could have a drink before dinner and to rest our tired legs. On the terrace A took Hippo inside the booth to see the images of the Camera Obscura. I was amazed! 360 of the area, the images were crystal clear, reflected on a circular surface, showing the ocean with sparkling water. I took a video of the entire rotation. Never knew this thing was so amazing!
Dinner was at Town in San Carlos, my old stomping ground. Petrale sole with mashed potatos and broccollini as usual. The food was good but the atmosphere was, as usual, loud. Nonetheless, one of Hippo's favorite restaurants. Sometimes I wish I still lived there.
See zoo images