Posts Tagged ‘zoos’

Jeremy Hardy on the subject of the Zoo Quorum (he meant the newly abolished quango, the Zoos Forum), on Radio 4’s The News Quiz on Friday.

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Warm enough

India, Day 37 – Thiruvanathapuram

After a brief session on the internet this morning – curtailed by needing the toilet – I set off walking along Trivandrum’s Mahatma Gandhi Road (everywhere seems to have one – much like every British town has a Victoria Road, and/or Square, and/or Park) looking partly for a coffee shop, partly for anything interesting. I didn’t find any nice, air conditioned, Western-style restaurants of any kind, but did pass various smart old-ish buildings.

Mosque and Cathedral

At the northern end of the city centre is a large park containing the zoo, a couple of museums, a gallery. After stopping in a restaurant for orange juice, tea and parotta (naan, essentially) I decided to head into the zoo, although I was hot and tired and disappointed that I hadn’t found a CafĂ© Coffee Day or something similar.

Spectacled Cayman

I bought a camera ticket for 25 rupees, and when I went round to the entrance was asked for my ticket. Not my camera ticket, my person ticket, which, obviously, I didn’t have. So I went back to the ticket office and bought one for 10 rs.


The zoo was OK. Apparently it’s pretty decent by Indian standards, but I haven’t been to zoos much anywhere. Typically, some enclosures were empty and a bit run-down. The large birds – herons, pelicans, vultures, hawks – looked miserable in their cages. The monkeys, African plains animals had a fair amount of space with grass and trees to give the illusion of a natural environment. The most impressive animals were the big cats – jaguars, leopards, lions and tigers (they smell very doggy, too). One tiger was in a cage and had a pool about five feet across and 18 inches deep. As I got there it climbed in for a cooling bath. Shortly afterwards it got out to eat and kept slipping on the concrete floor.

Tiger Bath

The zoo paths were shaded by trees, but back in the park the heat was getting on for the temperature known as oppressive. Almost not wanting to, I went into the Napier Museum (5 rs). It had a nice collection of Hindu, Buddhist and a few Christian artefacts. More importantly it was cool.

Napier Museum

After that I was fed up with exploring, so I got an autorickshaw to the station. From there it’s a short walk to my hotel. I stopped at Indian Coffee House. Bit of a strange place – it’s a spiral building, with the floors on a fairly steep gradient; the waiters wear white suits and fancy turbans. I had a tea and my first masala dosa (a crepe-like thing with a filling of purple potatoes and side dishes of hot sauce and some sort of coconutty stuff).

So I’m feeling a little down at the moment, but nothing desperate. I had a busy time in Goa, so I’d like to relax a little – and the heat doesn’t favour going out and doing stuff.

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