Category Archives: Animals

Toronto, Canada

E. and I were able to stay in Toronto for about six weeks in May and June. I was busy with work at the time and wasn’t able to pull together any pictures. Our apartment was in the middle of a downtown shopping district called Yorkville and down the street from a city library.

Luckily (or unluckily) for us, we were able to take care of our landlady’s cat for about a week. As I’ve detailed in past dog and cat posts, I love animals, but I have a moderate cat allergy. After a couple of days,  I was sneezing so much that I had to carry around a box of tissues. Our landlady must have had a guilty conscience because she dashed over one night and took our fake pet away.

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Filed under Animals, Canada, New to Town

Red Cross Snake Farm

The Thai Red Cross  in Bangkok has a snake farm on its premises in order to educate the public, develop anti-venom to treat snake bitten patients, and promote the use of snakes to assist farmers with their crops. The exhibit includes an indoor aquarium, outdoor holding spaces, and a snake show. The location is also called the Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute.

The handler above is holding a copperhead rat snake.

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Filed under Animals, Thailand

Cats of Wat Pho


A wat is a Buddhist temple. You may have heard of the famous Cambodian Angkor Wat. Wat Pho is known in Bangkok for housing the reclining Buddha–one of the largest Buddhas in the world. A tranquil temple seemed like a reasonable place to find a lot of tranquil cats.

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Filed under Animals, Thailand

More Rock Hyrax


In a previous post, I introduced a slightly perturbed rodent named a rock hyrax, more commonly known as a dassie. I’m not sure that the photo truly conveyed the dassie’s character, so here are a few more photos.

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Filed under Animals, Cape Town, South Africa

Portuguese Man o’ War

Man o' War

A Portuguese man o’ war jellyfish washed up on the beach in Simon’s Town. Its tentacles are stretched out on the rock below it.


Filed under Animals, Cape Town, South Africa

Rock Hyrax


We saw these guinea pig-like creatures at Boulders Beach. They were hanging around the penguins and looking generally sour about life. Their true name is rock hyrax, but South Africans call them dassies.

Dassies look like miniature bears, and you can barely resist the urge to grab their nubby little ears.


Filed under Animals, Cape Town, South Africa

Penguins in Patagonia


While in Punta Arenas in January, we arranged to visit the nearby Isla Magdalena by boat to see the Magallanic penguins. They are often called “donkey penguins” because they raise their heads and honk like a donkey in order to posture in front of other penguins or predators. It is said that there are 60,000 breeding pairs on the island.

Two colonies are located near Punta Arenas–Seno Otway or Isla Magdalena. We heard that there were many more penguins to see at the island which is only an hour and a half away from the city. Seno Otway is accessible on the mainland.

The colony on Isla Magdalena seems used to hordes of touristas snapping pictures and cooing over the fat, fuzzy babies. The adults would patiently wait for a clearing in the human pathway so they could cross in a little line. There were also some fat, awkward seagull babies.

When our boat pulled up to the island, I was so excited to see  a beach teaming with penguins.

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Filed under Animals, Chile

Don’t Pet the Cats

Photo Credit: Andshewas

In my Top Ten Things post, I mentioned that it’s worth your time to visit the cats in Parque Carlos Thays in Palermo.

It’s surprising how tame the cats are. They are used to cat lovers who arrive daily to set out little dishes of food at set locations. They are also used to Argentines willing to sit on a park bench and pet them. Some of them used to be in loving homes, so it’s natural that they enjoy human company.

Despite my best intentions, I could not walk past the park on Friday night without petting one. Despite the large sign that says, “Do not pet the feral cats.” I admit to having a weakness–combined with bad cat allergies.

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Filed under Animals

Sort-of Dog Walker

I joked about becoming a dog walker when I arrived in Buenos Aires; then I discovered that dog walking is serious business. It’s not uncommon for a professional walker to walk 15 dogs or more.

I’m just not that strong…or brave.

I did, however, become a dog walker of some sort. A friend lets me walk her greyhound twice a week. He is insane. Although he is one of the fastest runners of the world–one of the most sporty dogs ever–he detests going outside. He would rather curl up in his propio dogbed or sun himself stretched out on the Indian rug than go outside with me. Some days he doesn’t make it for an half an hour outdoors without trying to drag me down the street to his home.

I’m never so popular as when I am walking this dog. Porteños are fanatics for dogs, but they are particularly drawn to his delicate and puppy-like appearance. “Es un GALGO?” (greyhound) they exclaim, and caress his muzzle and coo. Teenage girls come running after him like groupies.

His tiny ears feel like swatches of velvet. His eyes are golden. I have to admit that he is pretty precious.


Filed under Animals

Traveling to Iguazú










To get to Iguazú, we took a bus (linea Rio Uruguay) and tried out the “cama suite.” This is a cushy, reclineable seat that turns into a bed at night. It was super comfortable, but the bus goes from side to side at night on the road. If you are a light sleeper, you’ll wake. The “cama suite service” was nice. The waitress served hot meals with salads and wine or beer. The trip by bus was 16 hours, overnight.

We stayed at the Rio Tropic hotel about 5 minutes outside of town. Though it’s outside of town, this location has advantages. If you like a more tranquil atmosphere, it’s down a quaint dirt road. The accommodations are a year old and super clean.

There is a swimming pool and free Internet (shared laptop). The breakfast is freshly squeezed orange juice, cafe con leche, yogurt, facturas (danish), and medialunas. The owner speaks Spanish, English, and French.

Rio Tropic is a ten minute walk from the bus stop to the waterfalls.

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Filed under Animals, Argentina