Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Birthday at the San Diego Wild Animal Pak

On Saturday, July 10 (this blog post is late, but better late than never), I went to the San Diego Wild Animal Park, to further celebrate my forty-second birthday. Instead of having a party, like I usually do, I decided to do something different for a change. I went with my nurse, Ernie; my mom, sister, my niece, Dallas; my nephews, Sterling and Stetson and my good friend, Peter, who came down from Palo Alto. We went at 4:00 in the afternoon and stayed till 8:00. This is a great time to go, since it is usually cooler, and the animals are usually less sluggish.

As we entered the park through the aviary to look at and find the various birds, my youngest nephew, Stetson grabbed a plump, slow-moving bird as it walked around the area. I thought the bird would peck him, but it just seemed surprised. There is never a dull moment when Stetson is around.

After that we went to the Lorikeet Landing, an aviary with tame lorikeets. The lorikeets fly around and like to land on visitor's outstretched arms, hands, shoulders, heads. They especially like to land on you when you have a cup of nectar. I had a cup of nectar placed on my wheelchair armrest, and in no time at all, I had a lorikeet on my arm. One also landed on top of my head. That was an enjoyable experience for all.

The next stop was a performance by an African acrobatic troupe from Tanzania. They put on an entertaining show. The show included a flaming limbo pole, which an acrobat moved under. Each time the pole was moved even lower, until it was so low that it didn't seem possible that anyone could pass underneath it. But, he managed to do it. One of the acrobats also did some fire eating. Also, there were flips, contortionism, and one of the acrobats stood and did handstands on an ever growing stack of chairs, which seemed like it would topple over at any moment. The amazing feats of the acrobats, plus their enthusiasm made for a great show.

After that show we headed to the Frequent Flyer bird show. The show--one of my favorites--includes birds from all over the world. I always like to see the various birds from around the world, especially the majestic birds of prey. There was also a brilliant colored macaw and they also had an African grey parrot, who talked and made animal and other sounds. I always find that to be amusing. During the show, a group of crows in a nearby tree, got in on the act and a white egret landed on top of a nearby tree. It was as if they felt left out and wanted to be noticed. The part of the show I always like is seeing the different birds-of-prey, such as hawks and an owl, flying over the audience (they fly so low that it looks like some audience members will get hit). They always look so graceful as they fly over. I also like to learn about the different birds.

After the bird show, we saw the gorillas. There were a few strutting their stuff around the enclosure. After a dinner break we saw the elephants, then the lions, and just like cats, they were sleeping. The male lion was sprawled out on the roof of an old jeep, while there were two lionesses on the ground. Then we ended the visit with a stop at the insect and reptile exhibit. I am always amazed by the variety and complexity of the insects and how some of them can blend in with their environment. My nephews seemed to enjoy this exhibit.

This was an enjoyable, yet low-keyed way to celebrate another birthday. It was nice to spend time with my family and my good friend, Peter. It also gave me a chance to spend some quality time with my niece and nephews.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yesterday I celebrated my forty-second birthday--another victory against Duchenne Muscular Dysrophy. When I was diagnosed at the age of six, the doctors said I would not live past the age of seventeen. How wrong they were! I am another year older, but I still keep on ticking. I celebrated this birthday with little fanfare. I just got together with my family and my good friend Peter, who came down from Palo Alto. It was a nice, low-keyed way to celebrate being another year older.