We slept in (only to about 08:30) today and just went to the hotel’s restaurant for breakfast. I liked it better than the Hilton’s restaurant; they had an espresso machine, not just brown water coffee. We checked out, almost paying for somebody else’s room (Dan said “336” and the concierge misheard that as “326”) but when we queried what on earth cost us $2.21 and were told, “Oh a few phone calls,” we disputed that we didn’t call anybody. I didn’t even notice that there was a phone. They still have phones? Doesn’t everybody have a mobile?
We caught a cab to the zoo, as it was only up the road. A bit far to walk, wheeling carryon luggage. Dukka dukka dukka. We did spend a few hours walking around the zoo with me dragging our carryon bags behind us. Into the small mammal house. Dukka dukka dukka. Invertebrates, apes. Dukka dukka. Past the giant panda and otters. Dukka dukka. I think we almost walked the entire zoo, some parts twice because it’s lay out is terrible and you have to double-back if you want to avoid missing entire chunks of displays.
Washington Zoo was weird for two reaons. Firstly, it’s free and there are no fences, no ticketing, and the car parks along its periphery just face open exhibits directly. Secondly, we saw a lot of animals. This is good and bad. Good that we got to see the animals but bad because it meant the displays were still mostly geared towards the humans, rather than an enriching habitat for animal conservation that most zoos are moving towards.
Our legs quickly ached again. We luckily accidentally hailed a cab from a bus stop outside the zoo (I was pointing toward the cab telling Daniel, “Hey this cab looks like it’s free!” hoping that he’d hail it because I was too shy but the cabbie saw me flailing about and pulled over anyway). We soon arrived on Manny’s doorstep, his front screen door wasn’t locked and he must’ve thought we were burglars when I let myself in.
We met Manny’s cousin, her partner, her friend and her friend’s partner, as they came over for a Christmas afternoon tea/dinner. Manny cooked up a jambalaya (New Orleans style) and prepared some smoke salmon (with diced white onion, chopped dill and freshly squeezed lemon juice), prosciutto and some dips and chip things. Then he made cocktails. He was very keen on his latest cocktail recipe he’d found at a local restaurant. It required straining something twice through gauze. I even had to try amaretto in the hot chocolate he made. I’ve not had so many types of alcoholic drinks in 24 hours before.
Manny called us a red top cab and we got to the airport on time. So much on time we were early for check in and the counter wasn’t even open. I bought postcards and stamps and we sent off Christmas/Washington postcards to Mum, Dad, Daniel’s Dad, our sisters, and Dan’s Grandmother. They’ll probably get them next year.