Trip Start Sep 15, 2012
Trip End Dec 19, 2012

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Flag of South Africa  , Gauteng,
Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Went to the zoo this weekend. I’m not a fan of animals in cages, but I have to admit this zoo is a good one. The Johannesburg Zoo is a lovely combination of good-sized and well-designed enclosures for the animals, some rides for kids, and open spaces for family picnics. I went on a Sunday afternoon, and it was happily full without feeling crowded. (Photos of some denizens of the zoo below.)

I’ve learned a couple of things about Johannesburg in the past few days.
• It’s at ~1,750 m (~5,750 ft), making it a higher altitude than Denver, the mile-high city. People kept mentioning the altitude, but it didn’t even click until I realized the walk to, around, and then home from the zoo tired me more than an 8-10 kilometre walk should have.
• Jo’burg’s vegetation density qualifies it as rainforest. Walking around, seeing these fantastic gardens (at least what’s visible through the gates), I believe it. It’s an actual urban jungle.
• More than one person has told me that the benefits of living here (the beauty, weather, relative ease of living [if you’re well-off enough to have servants]), no longer outweigh the problems.

Other random things I’ve heard:
• An urban legend that Hadidas make the noise they do because they’re afraid of heights. (They make that noise while roosting in trees or while flying.)
• That the “prawns” in the (excellent) movie “District 9” were called that after existing-in-real-life Parktown Prawns. These beasts are starting to hatch now, and I’ve already seen a baby. Found a good short story about a real life grown-up one: http://apple.copydesk.org/2010/12/10/attack-of-the-giant-damn-bug/
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