Tag Archives: family trip

The Zoo and My Flexible Morals

Last weekend my wife and I set aside moral objections to keeping animals in cages and took our daughter to the zoo.

I was surprised how easy it was to make the decision. Perhaps because my wife and daughter had already visited the Vancouver Aquarium a few months ago, and, after doing a bit of research on that facility, I decided that the work they do is actually a bit more important and significant than just providing amusement for people. Besides, my daughter has this thing for Beluga whales and, barring an unexpected trip to Nunavut, probably won’t be able to see any in the wild for quite some time, long after she has outgrown her Beluga whale phase. So, when I planned the trip to the Vancouver Zoo last weekend, I naively envisioned an organization run with the same type of environmental integrity as the aquarium.

The visit was okay – there was only one animal that I thought might be a bit uncomfortable. A brown bear that seemed to me to be in a fairly small area, but the sign on the pen said it was a temporary facility and a new one was to be completed very soon.

All in all, though, I felt good about the trip and the zoo. The Girl had a good time and can’t stop talking about the nursing baby Wallaby she saw.

Which is why I feel doubly sick after reading in the paper this morning that the Vancouver Zoo – the zoo I so happily gave my money to 4 days ago – has become the first zoo in Canada to be charged with cruelty to animals.

Yep – not feeling so good about our family trip now.

Road Trip

Warning! Gross bodily function details ahead!

When did I suddenly become my father? When did I suddenly develop the need to lock my family in a 10 x 8 foot steel box and drive for hours searching for endless shortcuts and back routes to get places? My Dad used to study road maps like doctors study x-rays, looking for the slightest hairline fracture of a road to haul us down. Somehow, I ended up with that gene.

We took the girl had her first extended road trip this weekend – a 6 hour drive through the rugged Pacific Northwest Mountains to a beautiful fishing village cum weekend hideaway. This place is remote; so remote that, for an hour and a half, you get absolutely no radio reception.

Things were going well on the 6 hour trip. We got up early and were out the door relatively on time. We had a happy girl in the back seat; thanks to some new Miffy books we had bought before the trip (nothing like some new stuff to bribe a kid into submission). Heck, we even managed to find gas for 8 cents a liter cheaper than in the city when we needed a refill.

Then the last 30 kilometers came. A treacherous, hanging off the side of a cliff drive on roads that haven’t been maintained since 1956. Endless up and down, sway back and forth upanddown….you can see where this is going and it ain’t pretty.

30 minutes from our destination, on a stretch of road with cliff on one side and 100 foot frop to ocean on the other, the girl lost her lunch. Poor thing. She was spewing. And here we are – we can’t pull over – the road is too narrow and dangerous. So we have to keep on going, girl wailing and throwing up in the back seat.

Finally we come to a pullout and, since we are in the middle of mountain wilderness, there is a (OHMYGODTHATSCOLD) mountain stream running beside the road. We take the sobbing soaking girl out of the car and proceed to wash down the girl, car and car seat as best we can.

A short time later, the girl calms down, the mess gets cleaned up and we’re all strapped back in the car and on our way. A few minutes later we arrive at our destination – friends we haven’t seen much of since they moved to this remote fishing village almost 2 years ago. Our girl gets out of the car, grinning ear to ear. Her first words to our hosts?

“I barf!”

And so begins a fantastic weekend.