The turtles are in heat: my visit to the Zoo

Friday was another one of those turnabout days. When Yoli was in the States, I took her to the St. Louis Zoo. So Friday she took me to the Santa Cruz Zoo. I noticed the zoos had one thing in common immediately: the same 3-D, block-letter column spelling the word ZOO from the top down.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this Zoo, but it turned out to be fairly nice. Most of the animals were South American, so there were many I hadn’t seen before and a few that I had. I enjoyed seeing the birds most. They had a lot of different parrots (all sorts of colors) as well as toucans and even turkey-type birds.

We spent a lot of time in the giant birdcage, which is much like the one in St. Louis. As soon as we went in, I saw a worker sweeping the floor. He was wearing a Maryville University shirt, so I tried to ask him in Spanish if he knew the university. He smiled and nodded but didn’t really say anything. I tried to say I was from St. Louis, but not much more reaction. Yoli stepped in and explained what I was getting at, and the man had a laugh. It was clear to everyone he hadn’t been to St. Louis. A few minutes later Yoli told me he didn’t say anything because his mouth was full of coca leaves he was chewing, and that his whole mouth was green.

We saw many other creatures while we were there… alpacas (like llamas), all kinds of cats (ocelots, tigers, etc), spider monkeys, snakes, iguanas, and many that I can’t remember the names of. There were a lot of strange creatures I’d never seen before, like the one that looked like a fox only with tall legs like a horse and dark, mane-like hair on its neck.

This zoo also had an area with a lot of playground equipment for kids, and there were several food vendors around. It was in decent shape overall, but some parts were a little neglected, especially toward the back.

Also interesting were the two giant turtle pens. There were a ton of turtles in these two pens, and it seemed most of them had one thing on the mind: reproduction. It was hard not to laugh every time we walked past it. Fortunately we found one non-entangled turtle near the fence and it gave us a chance to pet it and take photos.

Before we went to the zoo, I ate breakfast with Arnold and Greta Wry. They were very nice and the food was good. I had an orange, a nice bowl of granola, and two pieces of toast. Most Bolivians only eat a piece of bread for breakfast, if anything. The big meal is lunch. Since we went to the market yesterday, we now have some cereal again here, so I can resume having a somewhat larger breakfast.

Conversation with the Wrys was good, we talked about conservative churches and about the challenges facing rural churches in Bolivia, where there are few qualified pastors. There’s a big need, and for those missionaries who are serving, there’s so much work. We also had a short devotional time together, after which Greta asked for my help with some problems she was having in Outlook Express on her PC. I resisted the urge to recommend she dump her PC for a Mac (where even Microsoft’s own programs work better and have more features).

During work Friday Yoli and I took a break to participate in the seminary’s afternoon chapel service. There are two sessions of school every day: morning and evening. My understanding is that there is a chapel service for each of those sessions once a week. But I could be wrong. Anyway, Friday Rusty Penney (the rector) was talking about the seminary’s doctrinal statement and its importance. Every year all the staff of the seminary sign it to show their agreement with it. Yoli hadn’t signed it yet, so she was invited to the front to sign it. I couldn’t fully participate in much of the service, since all the songs were Spanish and they didn’t use hymnals or overhead projectors to show the words. But Rusty is a Texan, and his Spanish was more understandable to my American ears.

This evening we went back to that “restaurant” at that family’s house near the seminary for their chicken milanesa. It wasn’t quite the same (or as good) as the one Yoli did while she was here in the US, but I liked it more than what I ate the previous night we came. Afterward, we went back to the seminary hoping to watch the games at their Social Night. But instead they were doing a chapel-like service, which we stayed for. Then they went to eat at about 9 p.m. Yoli wasn’t feeling good and looked tired, so we decided to call it a night and she went home.