The flamingos are here. You can see them if you follow Salam until you get to the Corniche. (I’m sure he said the Corniche). You know when you come over Maqtaa Bridge (nod)…yeah, well they were in the mangroves you see on your left as you cross that bridge. There’s about one hundred of them and they should be here for a couple of weeks.
You can’t miss them.
I’m pretty sure I do know those mangroves, but when I look at the map, none of the words I think I’ve heard make sense. The Corniche and Maqtaa Bridge are linked by Salam, but they’re at opposite ends. Though I have heard that there’s more than one Corniche. And I thought he said Reem Island, but maybe he said Sas An Nakhl.
And mangroves? There’s mangroves everywhere.
I’d love to show the flamingos to my boys. And because of reasons, it would be good to take them birdwatching tomorrow to say, ‘Do you know who would love to see this’ and ‘Shall we ring her when get home?’
But I’m not sure I can get us there and where will we park and I know the boys will shrug when I say, ‘See? Told you it was awesome.’ I will give them facts about flamingoes turning pink on account of the shrimps and they will say, ‘You already told us that, heaps of times’. Then one of them will hit the other ‘in the kidneys’ or ‘on the spine’ and the other will yell indigninantly, ‘He hit me on the spine’ and they will argue over who takes the photo and who stands where and then they will start playing tag and it’s probably near a busy road.
We’ve seen flamingos the mister and I. In the south of Mexico back when I was still a senorita and I had just mastered the Spanish subjunctive tense and truly believed it would always rest in my mind. We caught a boat that we were probably supposed to bargain for, but probably didn’t. That was magic out in that boat. Now there, there’s some happy times.
And when I was the mother of preschoolers I spent a great number of afternoons wandering around the Adelaide Zoo. On our last trip there (a pupil free day) I was hit by the sense of how much my life had changed since the boys had both started at school. The three of us were laughing and making jokes about monkeys’ bums and I just had one small bag (no pram, no nappy bag) and sometimes they ran in front of me, but I didn’t worry too much about it because I knew I’d see them at the next turn. All of the other mothers there were the mothers of preschoolers, staring off into in the distance in the way that mothers of preschoolers do, offering distracted ‘mmms’ and ‘yes the monkeys are playing’ in sing-song tones. And running after the child who had just made a dash, because who knows where they’ll go and what might happen to them.
I hope never to be that tired again. And thirsty. I was always thirsty, like I always had apple and dried apricots, but I’d never packed myself a drink.
Anyhoo, the flamingo enclosure is by far my favourite part of the Adelaide Zoo. It has the sculpted elegance of days gone by, and the Dragon’s Tree exoticism of far-off lands. The Friends of the Zoo were selling Dragon’s Tree cuttings a few months before the mister turned 40 and it would’ve been an ace gift, truly wonderful. They live forever those trees and Tashi, with whose adventures the mister became intimately acquainted during the preschool years, once hid in a Dragon’s Blood Tree. The day I saw the clippings (I guess they have a more substantial name, but I don’t know it) for sale I couldn’t buy one because…well, I can’t remember why but maybe because I’d walked from the tram…and the next time we went they weren’t selling them anymore.
The best thing about the flamingo enclosure is that I have no discomfort standing in front of it. There is no overhead wire, no ‘cage’. The flamingos are perfectly able to leave, but they never do.