Saturday, September 01, 2007

Zoo life

On Friday, our entire company took a half day and celebrated a belated Summer Party at London Zoo. I haven't been here since I was a child, and to be honest I would be torn to return again if we have children. Seeing the monkeys, fish, parrots, sloth bears and more was undoubtedly a treat. I understand the benefits of captivity for species that would otherwise be extinct or endangered. I can see that London Zoo is doing its best to re-create natural environments in limited spaces.

But I did feel a little uneasy ogling the animals while they looked on bored and paced or swam around and around in their confined spaces. Of course I see the advantages of zoos, both for animals and children, but there will always be a tension between the pros and cons of enclosed zoos for me. I can't help it.

After a few hours, after much food, drink, chatting and animal watching, we clambered into barges and floated down the Grand Union Canal to Little Venice. In this very chilled and salubrious part of west London, we spent the evening supping mojitos, Champagne, beers, wine, anything and everything really, and picked at endless rounds of canapes at the excellent E Bar opposite Warwick Avenue.

As the day was being planned, I had thought 10 hours would be far too long to spend in the company of loads of people drinking too much. Though I like to drink, my body can't tolerate lots of alcohol. Work parties always involve huge groups and lots of drunkenness and I invariably slip away before 10pm. But as I get older, I get more confident - more confident to pace myself, to take off if it gets too hectic, to sit in smaller groups and chat, to not chat if I need a breather and simply need to sit back and take it all in. In these ways, I survived a long day and had a fantastic time. And I left after 10 - just!


Olivia said...

Coincidentally, I went to the zoo last month (on that one hot weekend) after 20 years - and even though I've lived round the corner from it in St John's Wood for the past 3 years, I never went. I've just moved miles away and now I go! Gah!

Anyway, it's never as exciting once you're an adult, but it was a needed experience - one of those days when I was depressed and didn't want to see or talk to people. Just seeing animals is sort of good therapy.

Planethalder said...

It's always fascinating watching animals isn't it. They are so engrossed in what they are doing that we humans can all learn a little thing or two from them.

Bombay Beauty said...

I hate the idea of office parties, but once I'm there they seem not be as bad as I expected... I've meaning to visit the Zoo many times, since my jogging route takes me past regularly. Sometimes I see the giraffes lazing about before their shift begins! BB