Monday, September 15, 2008

Colorado and Creatures

I was born in Colorado Springs; however because of the nature of my father's work, we didn't stay very long. I have no recollection of it at all. This was my first time in Colorado since. I flew in from Portland, hubby drove in from Kansas. It had been 4 weeks since I'd seen him; I was excited. It's a short flight, about 2 hours.

Mind you the Denver Airport is a behemoth. I remember the stories of its upgrade and how the new design interfered with the control tower or something, and how it was supposed to become the biggest airport in America or something, but I can now declare in my experience it's the largest airport I've ever been in and it sits in this bleak, open expanse of nothingness some miles out of town. I had to take a metro to go to baggage claim... I was tired from running around all morning dropping dogs off at boarding, picking up house so I wouldn't return to a messy house...

Vestas, my husband's company paid for this whole trip. They do a yearly shindig where they fly 2000+ employees & spouses to some location in North America for a big gathering. They pretty much took over downtown Denver this past weekend, you couldn't look anywhere without seeing someone wearing the logo or a little wind-turbine on their shirt. They arranged for shuttles to pick up arrivals, but since my husband was driving in, he came to get me. I nearly bowled him over when I came out of the terminal into Baggage claim.

We drove to Denver proper then, and it is a really gorgeous city. It has a sort of Portland-like feel to some degree; progressive, well-maintained, pretty, trendy... but it's huge, wider; open and the spaces are broad. Fewer trees. :( The hotel was crawling with Vestas employees; people from all over the world (lots of Danes, decidedly) and hubby was greeting old and new friends alike constantly. A casual cocktail party Friday night with a hosted bar, and we were off to a crazy weekend. Catered breakfasts, dinners, lunches... Hosted bars... the coyote ugly... it was a glut of relaxation, wild abandon, and fun.

Saturday, the 2000 participants were given a variety of excursions to choose from. Some folks went to see the Red Rocks concert hall, others went to drag races, amusement parks, outlet malls, some went to an arboretum; hubby and I thought we'd like to see the zoo and science museum. Portland has its own zoo, however the animals there are always crashed out. You come up to an enclosure and you're squinting to see if you can make out an animal among the shrubbery and rocks, and then you'll see a rock twitch, and you realize, oh, that's the animal.. and it's sound asleep. Nice rock/animal. I won't even broach the subject of Portland Zoo's flock of fornicating bats either... Shocking, truly shocking.

We got there on time, but there was an incredible delay in getting in, so we were very rushed. We did get to see some critters though. So I shall share some of what we saw:

Señor the Lion was quite relaxed (and shameless) on this beautiful day. Surrounded by his women, he was basking in the most indecent manner (that only a feline could possibly accomplish with such panache; a mega-feline at that), smugly congratulating himself on his indolent, blessed life. It was quite disgusting, in a hilarious, adorable way, of course.

The zeebas were enjoying a fresh armload of hay from the keepers. Not in the picture; a massive ostrich preened in the same enclosure.

The Maned Wolf (also known as the fox on stilts) and his friend were also enjoying the sunshine. They were like two foxy-mats on the ground until I made a little weird noise; both heads popped up in unison, and the ears radared in my direction. Life is good, they told me. Especially when the sun is shining.

The Arctic Fox was hiding. People would glance into the enclosure, shrug and walk away, but my husband was more intrepid and discovered this little guy taking shade against the wall beneath the fence. A noise, and he glanced up; his winter coat not quite there yet... sweet face.

The polar bears were also quite stealthily hidden; and again Dan was most diligent in finding where they were tucked away. He found this one chilling in the shade against the wall, like his little foxy friend, however he got another picture (which he didn't send me) of the bear in the cave.. she was lying there, and when we spoke to her, she lifted her massive paw and covered her eyes with it. It was the cutest thing I ever saw. Polar bear feet are the most adorable thing ever invented by nature.

These guys were quite splashy and energized, working the crowd. I especially adore their funny fin-feet and their whiskers. They're like dogs of the sea. I wanted to hug them and play kipper-frisbee with them.

So close yet so far away, my five-fingered, opposable thumbed little buddies were confined to Monkey island where they stared at us with their little people-faces and silently tried to persuade a select few of us to wade across the water and to come and play. I would have loved to, but we didn't have time to help them escape monkey island, we had pachyderms to see!

The giraffes were oh so giraffey. Why oh why can I not have one or two just for me? Their big floopy lips and their short bodies, they are like creatures of fantasy. A brand new baby one bandied around with the big guys. This adult thought the brick wall was most tasty.

Baby giraffe liked my 'horse-tongue-quack-noise' quite a bit, and gave me lots of face-time but hubby hasn't sent me those pictures yet. So for now you get this picture of him. Precious no?

At last the pachyderms! YAY! I had missed them at first, and was most crestfallen, for they are my favourites to see. But on our way back, the keepers had just let them out of their barn, and they were stamping about in their elephanty way, playing with water with thier trunks, and tossing bits of hay about. Oh, they were muddy too, very muddy, it must feel nice to have a nice mudbath on a hot day.

Splish splash, it's so nice on a warm day.

These are sizable ladies, n'est pas?

We did see some other creatures, of course; of particular interest, a bird we dubbed the 'proximity alert bird' because it was cackling away all the while, but when people approached the enclosure the cackle would intensify in pace and volume. We saw a cheetah impatiently pacing the back fence of its enclosure dreaming of springbok and miles of savannah.. We saw river otters playing in a dark tank, Kangaroos lazing in the sun, and a Tapir stretched out like a great grey lump.

That's my kind of place, that's all I have to say. We enjoyed a catered lunch at the Museum of Science afterwards and completely forgot to take pictures until just before we left, we passed through a room where the windows provided this spectacular view of Denver.

Wow. What a beautiful city. If Dan sends me more pics, I'll share. :)

After a day of excursions a grand party in fine dress... The setting a blaze of colour and live music. What fun. Sunday morning hubby and I poked and dawdled together. A tearful separation at the behemoth Denver Airport and it was all over. ::sniff:: He'll be home in a couple of weeks; we plan to have an early birthday for Dan and anniversary celebration. We're headed for a nice stay and romantic dinner at the Timberline Lodge where we were married. Perhaps you recognize it from The Shining?

I got home last night at about 10 (so tired and a tiny bit hung-over). I pick up the dogs from summer camp after work today. Then back to normalcy for me. I finished my first Tredwell illustration in pencil on the plane and at the airport. One more, plus ink and watercolours and the first chapter will go up.

Ciao everyone.


storybeader said...

wow - that's some perk!

But, bec Vestas is involved with helping the world ween off oil, I won't think badly of them. In fact, that's a great thing they do - what a moral booster! I want to work for them! No,not really, unless they need someone to set up an archives...

Lauren said...

I'm glad you had a nice time with your hubby :-)


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