The Monkey Soccer Mom – Weekly Travel Photo

Mother and Child - Chobe Safari - Botswana

While we may differ from monkeys in more than a few ways, some things remain the same.  Young baboons are every bit as curious, rambunctious, and entertaining as human children. They also appear to be every ounce the challenge for their parents to deal with.  In this photo from Chobe National Park in northern Botswana I captured a healthy mother and her rather animated child right before he launched himself from her back and into the nearby grass for a playful romp, roll, and flop.

The mother’s mixture of vexed parent and half-ignored mode of transport reminds me vividly of the small army of soccer moms (and dads) that descended on the rich green grass fields behind my apartment back in Arizona every weekend.  The kids could often be seen half-tumbling out of the mini-van’s sliding doors moments after the vehicles came to a stop. The raised voices of vexed parents chasing after them.

Both sights brought a smile to my face.  Though I will admit that I’m ever so slightly more partial to the oversize ears and awkward tail that define a baby baboon.

Would you like to see previous Friday Photos? View past travel pictures here. This photo was taken on a Canon T3i (600D) Camera.

Polar Bear Meetings – Weekly Travel Photo

Wild Polar Bears in Churchill

While most of a polar bear’s existence is spent in relative isolation, there are times – often during their great migrations – when they find themselves cued up and provided with the opportunity for casual social interaction. Bear tea time if you will. It is in these rare moments as the bears wait for Hudson Bay’s ice to freeze over that what start as tense encounters casually transition into relaxing play time and socialization.

This photograph shows two bears engaged in the early stages of one such meeting.  We were incredibly lucky in that at various points in the day as many as four bears could be found in the immediate area of the Tundra Buggy Lodge where we were staying.  Watching the bears go through their social rituals, establish a power hierarchy  and make friends was a fascinating insight into these otherwise solitary, but highly intelligent creatures.

Would you like to see previous Friday Photos? View past travel pictures here. This photo was taken on a  Canon T3i (600D) Camera.

Beer, Subways and Hedgehogs

The Canal - Copenhagen, Denmark

A quick update – things have been pretty hectic here. I started classes last week and was delighted to find that most of the reading was engaging, relevant, and genuinely interesting. Both of my professors seem to be friendly, supportive, and engaging.  All in all a promising start.

On the other side of things I’m still waiting for my Visa to come through.  Danish immigration services have given me inaccurate information several times so far slowing down the process. Frustrating. I’m hoping that I finally fixed the last issue and will get my Visa and CPR (basically your Danish drivers license/social security card) later this week.  Not having a CPR has been absolutely brutal as it’s required for everything – from signing up for a bank account to registering for a cell phone plan.  Housing is also an absolute nightmare here with virtually no support from the University. I’m still looking, but find that anything near the city center typically gets snapped up in a matter of hours.  Definitely a change of pace from what I was familiar with in Phoenix.

BUT, I’m sure you’re wondering what hedgehogs have to do with this article right?

Last night I was heading home from a friend’s birthday party at about 4:30AM.  After a night spent chatting with new friends I made my way to the Christianshavn metro station dodging past the bums sleeping at the entrance and preparing to hop on the escalators that would carry me the 2-3 stories down to the metro line. As I neared the escalator a marginally sober Danish woman in her 40s? approached me in a flurry telling me she needed my help with an animal (first in Danish and then in English).  Initially thinking she was just a weird drunk I was a bit hesitant at first, but I quickly noticed a small spiny critter sitting huddled on the 3rd step down on the now halted escalator.

She had a large sweater with which she was trying to move the little guy, but given his spines, and her fear of him she ended up jumping up and down/back more than actually moving him.  After getting over my disbelief at drunkenly running into a hedgehog randomly in the middle of a metro station at 5AM in the heart of Copenhagen I tried to figure out how to help the little guy.  Though unsure his chances were much better up-top I felt fairly certain that the odds for the little guy surviving the night, and passing drunks in the metro station were significantly worse.  I gingerly took the sweater and slowly scooped up hedgehog as he bristled, talking to him soothingly and trying to calm him before carrying him up, and out of the metro.  All the while trying to remember if hedgehogs had the ability to shoot spines like a porcupine, and hoping that he continued to be fairly docile despite being carried.  Luckily I avoided getting poked, stabbed or shot with a quill and was able to walk him a ways along the canal and down by some trees and bushes before releasing him.

One thing is for certain – Copenhagen continues to shock and entertain me.

For now – I’m off to the next adventure!