A Day with the Monkeys

Tiny Kinda Cute

I was told of a zoo where every convict was a primate. Since then the story has grown roots in my memory and when we contemplated a trip to the Netherlands, I immediately thought of spending an afternoon with those of my order. I was probably as excited as a kid in a candy store when our last day in the Netherlands was dedicated to getting to Apenheul (Ape Hill) and perhaps taking a picture or two.

We were up and about early in the morning to get out to the train station. We picked up a couple of strippenkaarts so we could save some money on the local transportation in the country. You can use the strippenkaarts with 15 slots a peice anywhere in the country. It makes it pretty easy to plan out transit on the other end when you don't have to worry about the payment.

The return trip, on the Inter-City train, cost a total of 47€ a body, with a transfer in Amsfoort. The trip was not as long as it felt, but soon we were in the station seeking out the number three bus to take us to the Hill of Apes. We saw a building that was labeled as the Canadian Club as the bus toured us around the city, and later research shows there is a large number of Canadian veterans that have settled in Apeldoorn. We were so busy checking out the little town, that we watched as the zoo zipped past us on the bus. We ended up disembarking much past our scheduled stop. It have us a nice chance to have a nice stroll in rural Holland. We wandered past some nice comfortable homes. Before we were able to access the front gate.

After a bit of a walk through some greenspace, we came to where we were equipped with our monkey proof gear. Each guest is required to put everything in their pockets, their food and 'anything of value' into a canvas bag with a monkey proof clasp. I guess the little buggers are quite good at taking things and exchanging them with the trainers for more food. The gentleman at the gate detailed us in how we should behave because the inmates walk free within the walls. We entered their world.

We first saw some ringtails. They didn't seem to care too much about us as we walked through their land. We meandered through fuzzy red things and hair black things taking in quite an environment and some funny poses. The cutest, of course, are the little babies, and we were given quite a treat seeing the chimpanzees get fed.

We heard the drums start when we started down the path, and the chimps went wild. They ran out of their house and started gathering on the play area in front of the viewing area. They didn't clamor for space, but took up their places and waited for their food. Soon a trainer was throwing various fruits over the wall, and the mayhem started. Most of it was what one would usually see watching animals that are kept get fed, but it was cute to watch the youngest member try to get away from his mother and have a nice little snack.

During our visit to the zoo, we did get a little rain shower but we still stayed until the zoo closed. On the way out I spotted the first acorn I have ever seen in my life. With that note, we slowly rode back to Amsterdam. It was pretty late on in the evening when we got back to Ingrid's and we immediately set upon packing for the next leg in our adventure. The next day was shaping up to be a big one including travel to another country, setting up camp and watching an international rugby test.


Sooner Than I Think


Sonja and I have been planning a trip to Europe for some time, and things are really coming together. A while ago we received our train passes, and we've tested the camping gear. Just recently, the whole idea of the trip hit home, and became grounded when our Rugby World Cup tickets showed up.

The RWC has been the anchor behind the trip from it's inception. I wanted to go four years ago, but never pulled it together, and this time it's going to be different. I didn't cough up the dough to see a tier 1 match, although I did sacrifice enough to get in two matches while I'm overseas.

I knew I needed to see our boys in action; though, they are by no means rugby powerhouses. Give the choice of seeing them loose to Australia (0-5), Wales (1-7) or Fiji (2-5), I figured I'd take in the battle against Japan (8-9). Fiji will also be a good game, and we may steal it from them, but it was on the wrong side of the Chunnel to fit into our schedule. The second game in our lineup is between Italy and Portugal, and we chose it through a combination of cheapness and timing.

I'm starting to realize that it's only two weeks away until we leave. I'm sure the long weekend, a meeting of the photographic society, a couple of dinner meet-up and catch-up will make the time remaining zip.


PhotoFriday: Ambushed

Exley and Killer

I couldn't figure out what I was going to do for this week's Photo Friday competition when I first read it. Immediately I thought of the military definition of Ambush, which is to attack from a concealed position. I have no military pictures, and nothing that involves fighting from concealed positions.

As I was working thought my day, my mind happened across thoughts of rugby, and I remember some old wise ass from the university cracking that Rugby was the closest thing you could get to a battlefield, it just doesn't use any weapons.

I have a collection of rugby photos that I looked through to find this week's entry. It turns out that another definition of Ambush is to attack an unsuspecting person, and I know our boys did just that in this game.


A Great Weekend

Doggie torpedo

The remorse that fills me when a great weekend comes to an end is always painful, but hopefully it will give me a standard to which all future weekends can be compared.

Right after work on Friday, I went out to Joey's for eye candy and appetizers. I met with a recently departed co-worker to chat with him about his leaving and his new line of work. As usual I had my business hat on, and may have lined up more peripheral work for myself, which we all know I don't have enought time to complete.

Knowing that I need to spend more time enjoying life and having fun, I decided to make a huge leap and jump back into the console market after over ten years of absense. I went down to BestBuy, and picked myself up an XBox 360.

I took it home and untangled everything and in typical Microsoft fashion the bloody thing had to update itself about four times before I was able to play anything, but boy was it worth it. I picked up Burnout: Revenge and Dead Rising and had myself a whole barrel of fun crashing cars and killing zombies. The Live Arcade is a lot of fun too, playing the old games that I used to plunk away at in the theatre in Houston. I'm glad I made the purchase, and I know I'm going to have a lot of fun. Looking at my calendar, I can tell I won't be playing much for about the next two weeks, but knowing that it's there will make downtime a lot more fun.

I did manage to get away from my new electronic fun a couple time this weekend. On Saturday, Sonja and I went out to watch the Semi Finals for the Alberta Cup in which my team was playing. The game was solid, but in the end we ended up losing to the Rams.

Sunday, I made it out to the Calgary Climbing Center so that I could practice up, and get Sonja knowledgable about Belaying. It was a pile of fun but it didn't even take two hours before my hands and arms were sore from hauling my fat but up the walls.

I came home on Sunday looking forward to a little bit more XBox action, and found that my internet was borked. I called Shaw to inquire, and the man on the other end of the phone told me a troubleshooting technique that reminded me of the stupidity of blowing on Nintendo cartridges. Basically, I have to unplug the modem, unhook it from the cable, and then touch the copper on the wire. I then hook everything back up, plug it back in, and everything is good to go. That is until two minutes elapses and my connection is all messed up again. Shaw realized that there is a problem, but they won't send out a service man until Friday of next week. That's a long time to go without internet, and it makes me damn happy I switched over to a hosted solution for my websites.


Ah, What a Weekend

Beautiful Catch

This weekend was a lot of fun. Friday night started out with The Canucks first and second divisions being pitted against the Saracens. We lost our game, but we played hard. I know because I felt like hell the next morning.

Saturday was very relaxed, and I love the weekends where you don't feel like you have to do anything, or rush anywhere and you get a great deal of stuff accomplished. I managed to get a good deal of things knocked off my ToDo list, and was able to be mellowed out throughout the day. Sunday was a lot like Saturday, with me just puttering until I was finished, and then thinking about what I needed to get done next.

This morning came quick, and I find myself sitting at my desk, wishing again it was Sunday. Pretty much Par for the course. Vu did navigate us out to the sketchy edge of town (read: Forest Lawn) for some of the most excellent Viet food I've ever had. Ordered in the native toungue, the soup definitely made my metabolism go through the roof. Now I'm going to get back to arranging ones and zeros