Wednesday, May 23

"He went ape!"

Today was my last full day in Fort Worth. Tomorrow, at approximately 6pm, I will be boarding a plane to travel to an experience that will change my life. I am prepared. I was not however, prepared for what happened today. It's nothing bad, it just scared me so much my heart was pounding for at least a good five minutes, and I'm almost certain I had an adrenaline rush.

For those of you who know me, you know I love the zoo. I can't even explain how much I enjoy it. I don't know why- I just love being outdoors, getting to see all the really cool animals- no matter how much they look the same each time I go there. So, it only made sense that instead of packing and resting up for my trip, I went to the zoo on my last day in Fort Worth for the next while. I went over Christmas break with my family and didn't get to see any of the "safari" animals, so that was the first thing I wanted to see. I took plenty of cute pictures- and I'm sure my Brother, his girlfriend, and my friend were looking at me like I was a child, running back and forth between the exhibits, pointing at the animals- as if they couldn't see the giant giraffe standing ten feet away, or the group of elephants that were relaxing in the shade without me pointing them out.

Fast forward through about three more hours of really great animals, some relaxing at the food court, and the group of us quickly growing tired from the heat and exertion of walking around, and we get to the primate exhibit. For those of you that have never been to the Fort Worth Zoo, I feel like you should, and for some reason, everyone is always awed by the primate house, I mean, it is pretty cool.

The gorillas in particular never seem to be extremely happy about being there however- mostly because the way their face is shaped, but in other part probably because they have about a thousand people come by them every day, press their faces up to their glass, and mock them. I'm sure it's an exhausting day-job (if you're wondering what their night job is, they sing in jazz-clubs). In particular today, however- one ape was soaking up the attention.

While this gorilla was chowing down and tolerating (if not enjoying) the attention from all the parents and their children, photographing and taking videos of a monkey eating (so exhilarating and rare- right?), the one in the other exhibit was acting particularly annoyed with people (we will call him Harvey from now on, for briefness' sake), and was avoiding all the glass places where people could look at it. I'm sitting down, waiting for people to get bored and move on, so that I could snap a couple pictures and move to the next exhibit and lo and behold, Harvey comes over and starts eating next to the glass, probably because that's the only place food was left. Nathan pointed out to me that Harvey was in camera view, and told me to hurry and snap a couple pictures, before he slunk away again. I of course, obliged because I didn't want to go away empty-handed and without pictures from the primate house, and the other people didn't seem to be moving anytime soon.

This is a quick before picture. That is- before the incident. Harvey noticed I was taking a picture, and was none to happy, he gave me the meanest look I've ever seen in my life. Thinking "ooh, he's mean muggin' me!" I stayed put, trying to get a picture of his angry face. Bad. Idea. Angry gorillas, are not pleasant. One second he was standing up, presumably to walk off because he was sick of the people, and the next minute. He was picking up a pile of poo and charging the glass. He slammed up against the glass with a tremendous thud- banged on the glass a couple of times (from what I assumed, because at this point I had instinctively closed my eyes from fear), and then flung his fistful of poo, angrily, licked his fingers clean, then sat down again- continuing to glare.

I had yelped- or at least I think I did. It was either me or Nathan, and I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. We were both scared, it was something that I had never expected. If I had had my video camera setting on, Harvey would have been a YouTube sensation- probably with a million likes by the end of the week. People flocked over, asking what happened, laughing hysterically at the poo smeared on the glass. I walked away. I did not want to be present when he flung himself at the glass again- because somewhere deep inside me, I knew that this time, he would somehow make it through, and he'd be after me- the one who started it all. We left, wondering why he was so angry that day, going on and on about how freaky it was that Harvey was so angry, and Nathan making a phone call to a friend about the "crazy thing that just happened". I now understand why people say "that person went ape".

But all in all, it was a really great day. I love all the pictures I got- and I had a great time with my friends. I can't wait to fly out tomorrow and start an adventure that I'm sure is going to be full of surprises- hopefully none as frightful as what I experienced today. Talk to you from Ukraine.