… Aside from hanging out with B’s family, of course, which is nice, except they don’t speak English and I don’t speak Hungarian. I did notice though, that the second time we went, I understood a lot more of what everyone was talking about. The problem is, I can’t find the words to say anything to contribute… or by the time I do find the words, the conversation has moved on. Thankfully, B is a wonderful translator (except for a few times when I said something and he looked at me and replied, “I’m not translating that. I have no idea how.”)
We are always fed to the point of needing to roll home and have a good lie down, and one lovely family member moves out of her little apartment to give it to us for the duration of the stay. The generosity and genuine feeling of being welcomed and accepted (despite my lack of communication skills in their native language) is quite overwhelming. This was particularly evident the first time I met them, when B’s sister invited me to come to her ultrasound with her. Despite the language barrier, it was obvious that she was pleased for the company and genuinely happy I was there. Her obstetrician explained everything to me in English, while E lay there, brows furrowed, wondering what he was saying, until he reverted to Hungarian to reassure her the baby was perfect. A special moment.
During our stay there more recently (a few weeks ago now) we went to the zoo with B’s sister, her husband and their three year old son. We didn’t have a lot of time as it closes early in the cooler months, but I must say, it was quite a good outing. Many of the animals are not caged or fenced in – most are in enclosures that use deep ditches and moats of water to stop them getting too close to humans. Except the big cats (my favourites) which, of course, would probably swim through a moat and jump a ditch for the chance to snack on a human hand.
I was lucky enough to see this lion cub have a wrestle and play with her mum, who after about 20 seconds of horseplay (lionplay?), mama lion gave her cub a good whack over the ear and the cub took off, frisky and roly-poly. They are just beautiful… I only wish they were not in captivity.
I took great pleasure in feeding some very cheeky llamas at the zoo. You can buy pellets to feed to some animals, so of course I handed over my cash to the vending machine. Those llamas are familiar with the sound of pellets falling into a paper bag; they stuck their long necks over the fence, had a good sniff and serious stickybeak at what I was up to. One in particular would not allow another llama to be fed – she was quite aggressive to her pen-mate and lunged at my hand each time I tried to feed the more docile of the two. In the end I resorted to putting pellets in each hand and feeding both at the same time, whilst telling her she was a greedy llama who really didn’t deserve any more. Meanwhile, B and his family were wandering off… Clearly not as interested in the llamas as I was.
Finally, I was very impressed by the white tiger. I have never seen a white tiger before. Newsflash – white tigers are just like normal tigers but white. This one looked like he wanted a showdown with me. I was eyeing him off in his enclosure and he eyeballed me back and did that huffy-puffy guttural throat thing that tigers do. Then he kept doing it at me. I am quite sure he wanted me for dinner. Either that or he liked my new handbag.
Photo credit (for the llama shot) – My Mister B.