Dear All, herewith my impressions of my visit last week in Zoo Berlin. For those who are interested, I have also added some little videos on YouTube (do a simple search on Asbeek1 and then you will find them), but please bear in mind the I am not a "Steven Spielberg". The links to my pics were already given last week. Sorry that the text is in English, but as you all know, my German is not worth that much. Hope you like it nevertheless.
Knut and Adventures and Suspense in Zoo Berlin (September 4-6, 2009)
And so for the eight time, I kissed my cats "Auf Wiedersehen” grabbed my bags, closed my front door and left for the Town of the Bear.
Now that the works between Liège and Aachen are finalized, I am gaining a lot of travel time. But nevertheless, there was still enough time to think about the big upcoming event “Gianna coming to Knut and Berlin”.
Actually, almost already when I entered Zoo Berlin, I could feel the “vibes” and all Knutians were talking about it. All were hoping that – of course – it would be a success story, others feared that the Munich girl might be too dominant for Knut (Auweia, the spoiled Berliner brat is having many many mothers, isn’t it!!! – in other words, for Gianna it will become more or less “meeting mothers-in-law”) and maybe she would steal his food, and maybe she will hit him and maybe he can no longer take long Sunday morning naps, again others were almost measuring the available square meters and soforth und so weiter. But without any further doubt, EVERYBODY WISHED TO BE A FLY to be able to witness the two youngsters when they meet for the first time.
But first, there were again many visitors for Knuti’s 33rd monthly birthday (a kind of celebration that only Knut addicts can understand, even if they do not participate in the celebration itself). And of course, while we were there, we also decided to enjoy each others company.
One of the experiences I love the most is simply entering Zoo Berlin. I always have the same thought and the same feeling: I can now relax !! And the first I saw was little Ko Raya. Oh my, she has grown since June (which of course is very normal). But Shaina Pali is and remains my favorite: not only is she a very beautiful elephant girl, it is so enchanting to watch her playing with her little petitie-sister. And I was lucky that twice I could watch them while playing in the water and especially the second time was wonderful. When I entered the Zoo on Sunday morning, it was rather rainy and the Zoo rather still empty. I saw them playing around the pool and thought by myself “maybe they will go into the water”. And yes, that was exactly what they did, they went straight into the water. And imagine, I was standing there all alone, no visitors around me. I must admit that I never realized that elephants could play so lively.
As you all know, I cannot stand still for a long time, so every now and then, I need to walk around. And during one of my wanderings, I arrived at the enclosure of the peccaries, where there are again two babies. At a certain moment, one of the babies became very talkative with mommy. Never heard such funny noises ever before.
And as usual, I visited my old “friends” like Krümel, the hippo’s, otters etc. Good heavens, Devi is almost as big as Sutra, but much wilder. And the little hippo girls are not soo small any longer. On Saturday morning, Bea, GiselaH and I went to the Bärenhof, because Gisela has brought honeycombs and I had Belgian grapes for the bears. While going through the Hippo House, we could see one of the young girls doing kind of underwater ballet. It was funny on the one hand but also fascinating and actually also elegant to see her rolling and turning under the water.
And on Saturday morning, the big polar bears were having a very special treat, a big salmon for each of them. Well, that was the intention, but alas. Nancy was having her “water moods” again, which means that she refuses to go into it. And when Mrs. Weckert was throwing the salmons to the bears, dear Nancy stood and stared there and Lars was faster and was having two salmons for him. OK, might not be very gentlemanlike, but that is life I am afraid. Although I must confess that I had mercy with her and it was sad to see her looking so sorry. But next day on Sunday, it turned out that she learned her lesson: it was again special “salmon” treat and this time she was IN the water and TIMELY. You should have seen her face: “JUCHU, I have one !!!!” Actually, Nancy was lucky that one of the visitors is having a golden heart and wanted her to have a salmon too. So, to make sure that Nancy would at least have one, there were 5 salmons delivered. And this time, the lucky one for having a double portion was Tosca.
I also learned about the nice background story regarding Knuti’s weekly salmon. When I heard it, I truly enjoyed it and I hope that it will continue when the two young bears are together. Well, maybe Gianna will also get one or otherwise I am quite sure that the keepers will share it between the two.
Another thing that made me smile, was the fact that during the first evening at Joe’s everybody (well, almost then) spontaneously agreed that a new money collection for Knut and Co was required, because the purse was nearly empty. But .. the result was great. And our poor dear Gudrun is busy again for a while (and well, we can repeat this collection in December, isn’t it !). What I appreciate the most is all the work and time and energy that she is spending in this and how she can always make a great event of it, for the bears and for us. And therefore, I hereby take the opportunity to thank Gudrun from the bottom of my heart for all her efforts.
And then there was also a very interesting discussion with Bea and Frans about the number of photos that have been taken so far from Knuti. I was wondering who at this moment is winning this contest: is it the late Lady Diana or is it Knut? First I thought that it was still Lady Diana, but Bea and Frans convinced me that this might not be the case and that there might be much more pics of Knuti (even though we will never see them all). And you know something, now I think that both are right. So many people (how many million now ?) have already visited Knut and taken pics (and not only one, but numerous) and some do even come on an almost daily (if not daily) basis. Anyhow, Lady Diana and Knut have three things in common: first, they have the looks, second they have the charms and most of all, they both made people believe again in fairy tales.
And we all have already read or heard from the photo aunties/uncles the funny reactions of people in connection with “black/brown/muddy” Knut. Well, on Sunday afternoon before leaving, while spending my last hour in front of the enclosure and watching the bear, I had my share of that. At that moment, Knuti was particularly muddy and barely having a white spot in his fur. Quite a lot of people – I presume that these persons do not know Knut so well – were seriously doubting whether this dark brown animal was Knut. But there were always other people who could inform them that this was really the KNUT. Now, at a certain moment, there was practically nobody around, a small group of 5 to 8 persons arrived and one of the men asked “Ist das Knut?”. One of the women replied (and according to me) in a rather deciding manner “Naturlich nicht, das seht man so”. That made me so pissed off that I immediately replied (in my best German and not so friendly) “Na genau, das ist Knut, er ist nur ein bisle dreckig”. OK, they were convinced, but the top was that they then just left without further looking at him. A few moments later, two young girls were standing beside me and one of them asked again (but in a friendly way) whether this was Knut or not, because this bear looks so brown and not polar bear white. I told them that this was definitely Knut, the cutest bear on earth who adores rolling in the mud with the known result. It made them smile and they too took a lot of pics.
And then the best was the moment when a young mother with her child arrived and sat beside me. She asked exactly the same and again I confirmed his identity. Actually, at that moment, it was hard to find him (Simone would call this “Suchbild mit Knut”). And as you also know, when Knutians are in the Zoo, you will always meet some every here and there and share a few words. And so did I at that moment. And then her second question was the best I ever heard: “are you one of the Knutians?” It goes without saying that I was proud to say “YES, I am”. And then we started to chat for a while. She told me that it was her first time that she visited Knut and I explained her a bit of the international character of the Knutian world. She found this very interesting and fascinating that a young bear created such a special world and confessed that she too is now very curious to know how it will go with Knuti and Gianna. And when she left, she said the golden words that we all have said at one point in time: I will come back.
And that is exactly what I intend to do (well at least, I will do my utterly best): coming back in December. To visit and enjoy the presence of Knut and his young play mate Gianna and to meet all of you again.