Sunday, September 19, 2010

What a day.

Today was a very long day. I got up this morning around 11am, hung out in the living room with my roommate Jillian, and got ready for the zoo around 1:30pm. I then ventured out with my map, walking towards Kent Train Station, but I took a wrong turn. I asked some girls if they knew where it was located, and they pointed me in the right direction. It didn't take more than fifteen minutes to get there.

My ticket only cost $4.50 euro, which I was rather glad about and then I walked out onto the platform and found a seat. I originally thought that the train went straight to Fota Wildlife Park, but it made several stops along the way. When it did stop at Fota, I thought everyone was going to get off the train, but no one did, and so I stayed in my seat. We all ended up in Cobh (pronounced Cove), and everyone got off there. I decided to get off the train to ask the ticket vendor if there was a train back to Fota or Cork.

After the train left, I walked up some stairs and headed towards a gift shop/historical exhibit. I asked if this is where I should go for train tickets, and a lady at a booth pointed back towards where I had just gotten off. So I turned back, and as I got onto the platform, I realized that the train I was on had just turned right back towards Cork (it was a dead end). Plus, everything there was shut down. Not a single soul was near or around the platform, and I freaked out. After waiting twenty minutes or so, I wondered around and managed to find a schedule. I couldn't figure out which time the train came, or if it was going to come back. Then this guy who was about my age came walking down the stairs and asked me something (I couldn't understand him, not so much the accent but he had braces on, too), and I explained my situation. He walked away and sat to wait for the train. Another twenty minutes later, and this guy sits one seat over from me, and I asked if the train coming was going to Cork, and he said that the train always comes and goes the same route. I was so relieved! I ended up waiting an hour and a half for it to come back.

Finally I was at Fota Wildlife Park, but the woman handing me my ticket informed me that it closed at six, and the train came in twenty before six. So I only ended up having forty five minutes to wonder around. It is AMAZING. Everywhere you walk, there are hundreds of birds meandering around in front of you. There's also an island with lots of wooden structures and nets for all kinds of different monkeys to climb on. I stood right in front of a group of lemurs playing on a fence, and I walked right past lots of wallabies that were sitting next to flocks of geese. I also saw these very strange rabbits, but they had hooves instead of paws. I don't know what they're called, but they were lounging around all over the place.

I barely made it to the giraffes. I was looking all over for them, and it wasn't until I only had twenty minutes before the train came did I figure it out. It was a very long stretch of gravel, and the giraffes were standing at the end of it. On the left of me were the cheetahs, and on the right was a huge hill covered in crows with zebras and a giant ostrich nestled on a boulder. By the time I reached the giraffes, a man came out and opened up the shed behind then, and then he started to rally them all inside. I got a few pictures of them, and I was sad to see that there were two fences spaced out in front of me, so that I couldn't actually pet them as I thought I was going to be able too. I was excited to see them, though!

I ran. I had to rush as fast as I could, because there was only thirteen minutes before the train came. I kept wanting to stop and take pictures of the cheetahs, but I couldn't risk it and just kept on going. I reached the end of the park with ten minutes left before the train was scheduled to return. I was very fortunate, because instead of arriving at 5:40pm, it ended up getting there at 5:35pm and leaving a minute later. There was another train after that, but it wasn't coming until 7:20pm, and after waiting so long already today, I really didn't want to do it again.

Random facts of the day:
1. Jaywalking is your friend. Everyone does it, and it saves two seconds to a minute, depending on where you're crossing.
2. The official colors of Cork are red and white, which stand for blood and bandages.
3. Pubs are not like American clubs, in fact better. People respect your boundaries, and the music includes anything from ACDC, to The Killers. It's also less crowded, and there's none of that dirty dancing.
4. Chai is not chai tea. It is milk with cinnamon type spices, yet it is still just as tasty.

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