Slept in until eight this morning after two days of long bus rides and the climbing around The Great Zimbabwe.
After a morning coffee and muffin headed out on a walk to the Harare Gardens. Following maps on the iPad worked fine until I was at the edge of the gardens and saw what I thought was a side entrance. Proceeded to take it, photographing a few flowers as I passed through morning hellos from locals. Thought to myself it was a shame it was not better kept and so much trash around, then I came to the wire fence with barbed wire and no gate with nicely kept ground on the other side.
So I doubled back to go where Google had indicated the main gate was located. Then it dawned on me, when I saw one of the occupants who earlier I thought was basking in the morning sun was now brushing his teeth and grooming, the city had fenced this off for homeless citizens - was much neater than the shanty towns seen on the edge of the city.
Once I made my way to the main gate, walked down the road, and through the restaurant with as many tables outside as in looking out on the park - there were well maintained grounds. Walkways rambled past flower beds, I was hoping for proteas but greeted by marigolds and cannas which I can see at home, but no roses. Continued wandering though the park past small ponds and through brick columns with vine covered lattice overhead. Well-dressed citizens on their way to work passed saying good morning or hello as I passed others laying on the ground reading a book and enjoying the sun.
A nicely fenced children's playground was next to the exit as I proceeded to the National Art Museum - hmmm didn't I visit it in Bulawayo the other day. Well guess every city can have a "national museum". Interestingly this one also an exhibition of another Danish artist which consisted of a man's head with sun glasses (almost all identical) except the two lens on each had a contemporary icon on it such as Yahoo!, Facebook and Twitter as mirror images. Oh well.
Upstairs was a mixed media exhibition of photos of groups of people with acrylic paint lines applied to a purpose I still do not understand other than they were colorful. The best part of the museum was the stone sculptures on the front and in a back courtyard of people, birds and animals.
From the museum I took a detour through the financial district. Was in the process of taking a photo of a fountain feature the bird element of the Zimbabwe flag when a gentleman in a black suit who was standing near the door asked me if I was a reporter. When I told him no he wanted to know why I wanted the picture - told him I was a tourist and wanted to share the fountain with my friends at home. He said I should not take pictures of it. Since he did not have gun and I had not noticed a guard nearby you know what I did. Then as I walked on past the building I saw the signage on the side of the building - Federal Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe. That may have been the reason?
After another kilometer and a sandwich headed back to my hotel for a nap before my taxi driver would arrive to take me to the Wild Is Life Animal Sanctuary.
This sanctuary takes care of orphaned animals that include a wildebeest, lions, giraffes, kudus, sables, ostriches, elephants, and one pangolin. The lions brought here as cubs will stay because they did not not have mothers to teach them to hunt and they could not survive on their own.
First order of business was feeding the giraffes. You hold a branch out with leaves on it and they will just strip it clean, but hold on tight. After photos and selfies it was time for tea. Of course it featured scones, but also carrot cake with cream icing dusted with ground white chocolate. Marshmallows, fudge brownies and other sweets were available but I limited myself to a thin slice of cake, oh yes and one scone.
Next to the tent where we had tea, there was a viewing platform and it was feeding time for the elephants the youngest are still on baby elephant formula as they get older they graze and the will be relocated in the wild with an existing herd.
Next was watching the lions get fed. They each receive 5 kg of horse meat six days a week. They have seven lions, two were born at the sanctuary before they figured out male lions mature more quickly in captivity than in the wild.
Finally it was time to visit the pangolin, probably easily best described as a cross between an armadillo and an anteater. About a meter long and with a tongue of equal length, she spends ten hours a day with her handler who carries her in a backpack from anthill to anthill to be sure she does not overeat one ant variety which could be toxic to her. This a very rare protected animal. Penalty for possession without a permit is ten years in prison.
After seeing her walk on here two short legs, we retired to a seating area for wine and canapés and such a variety. Will not need to go out for dinner tonight. It is late already so my cabbie is here to take me the 27 kilometers back to the hotel.
Wrote this journal while listening to the news on Aljazeera. 4 stations here and CNN is not one of them.