Sunday, July 28, 2013

Human Persons Like Animal Persons

Saturday at the zoo!  Even though I know it's normally a mistake to visit a zoo in the hottest part of the summer, during the hottest part of the day, and on the busiest day of the week, we braved the heat and the crowded metro to visit the Zoologic de Barcelona.  The entry fee was steep, but the dolphin show and the bear were worth the entry fee alone.  

I haven't seen a dolphin show since I was a kid, so I thought it was strange to find myself watching dolphins perform just days after the government in India announced that dolphins were "non-human persons" with rights, and banned dolphin performances in order to discourage the capture and confinement of these intelligent animals.  Apparently, India is the fourth country to ban dolphin shows and elevate dolphins above animal status.  Outside this zoo were young people, mostly young women, and more than just a few with haired dyed blue or purple, holding signs and protesting the dolphin slavery.  I have to admit that I haven't deeply considered dolphin shows, or where I stand on viewing them, but since I paid to see the show as part of my entry fee, and couldn't glean enough meaningful information from the posters to sway me, we joined the majority of zoo goers and watched the show.  It was fun, the dolphins were beautiful, and the crowd was ooh-ing and ah-ing through the whole show.  

The zoo seemed to have more birds on display than other zoo's I have visited.  Most were in giant outdoor aviaries; Barcelona must have a climate that is bird friendly.  It was strange to see all the different types of parrots on display, and then watch the wild parrots nesting in the palm trees above.  My favorite birds were the peacocks that were roaming free and making their eerie call.  I see peacocks in my future.  

The bear was relaxing in his pool while he held his toes, Winnie the Poo style.  Even though there were signs asking that people not feed the animals, in at least three languages, people were rewarding the bear with snacks.  He was hard to resist.  

Monkeys are silly!

For dinner we met up with the other "adults" in our group, and went out for drinks and tapas at a restaurant reviewed by the New York Times.  It was by far the best tapas we have eaten.  It was the most expensive too.  

We stared with some bread smeared with tomato, fish roe, and cured wagyu beef.  I've heard of wagyu beef before, which is a type of fancy Japanese cattle that is reported to have super tasty flavor and marbling.  Paper thin strips of wagyu jerky is probably the only way I'll ever be able to afford to try it.  

Then we had chicken strips breaded with potato chips, which were actually amazing, and some bombas, which are deep fried mashed potato balls with meat in them.  

Then, to finish the meal, we had rabbit ribs and little fried fishes.  I thought it was appropriate that on zoo day we had a meal that included at least four types of animal meat.  

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