Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Lost Luggage, Pirates and Pineapple Cupcakes

I meant to update yesterday or sunday, but this weekend had other plans for me.

Last time I updated, was the Saturday of the free weekend I had in Oregon.  The next day, we went exploring.  Up the 138 in Oregon is the Umpqua river.  The highway twists and turns with the river.  Every few miles, there are places where you can pull of, park, and hike to some of the most stunning places I have ever seen in person.

Then back to the zoo on Monday.  One of the keepers took some time out of her day to teach us about the hippos, and their training schedule.  We were less than 2' from them, with nothing but the fence between us.  

On Friday, the vets told us if we bought canvases, that the elephant keepers would have one of the elephants paint it for us.  We didn't expect to be able to pick out colors, and actually watch the elephants paint.  

What a great artist George is.

The rest of the week was more medicine - mostly we worked on the hooves of deer that live in naturally rocky areas - since Oregon is so lush, their hooves don't wear down naturally, so they need to be anesthetized and get pedicures throughout the year.  

Wednesday, the vets had meetings all day, so they paired each of us up with a group of zookeepers - one classmate went with the ungulate department, one with the elephants, and I went with the Cheetahs.  I got to help prepare cheetah diets, got to feed them, and watch as they went through their daily training routine with their lions and tigers.  

Thursday, after working on the animals that needed vet care, the intern had us practice shooting blowdarts indoors for awhile, before taking us outside to the range to practice shooting dart guns.  

Friday was more medicine, then we gave our presentations on zoo animal anatomy and physiology, and did our case presentations, rode a camel, then it was time to leave.  

I didn't exactly want to leave, but I did want to see Tyler and my pups.  I knew I would only have about 36 hours in California before turning around for Seattle.  But United had other plans.  Remember the clusterfuck they caused at the beginning of the rotation? Well, they decided they could top it.  First our flight was delayed, then cancelled.  My 36 hours in California was slowly shrinking.  Finally, we got a flight booked for the next morning.  We were put up in a hotel for the 6 or so hours we had to squeeze in a power nap before having to try to fly again.  Finally, we're off.  My 36 hours is looking more like 24.  Then we land in San Francisco for our short layover.  Which becomes a longer layover due to yet another delayed flight.  My 24 hours is turning into 20.  Finally, we get to Ontario, with enough time to see Tyler for 2 hours before he had to go to work.  But did my luggage make it with me?  Of course not!  United left my and one classmate's luggage in San Francisco, and another classmate's luggage in Medford.  Uugh!  

So I get home.  I spend a little bit of time with Tyler.  Then Sarah picks me up for what I was assuming were lunch plans.  She starts driving.  I ask where we're going.  Apparently to the Renaissance Faire.  It was fun as hell (especially when Broon started making fun of a row of people dressed as Jack Sparrow), but I was starting to feel guilty for not spending more time with the pups.   I get home, only to be invited to dinner by my next door neighbor and my old neighbor.  Go to dinner.  Leave halfway through to pick up Tyler from work.  Re-convene at the restaurant.  Don't get home until midnight.  Find my luggage had finally been delivered to me.  Finally able to start doing laundry to pack for Seattle.  Don't get in bed until 3.  Get dropped off at the airport just after 10.  Not long enough!

Anyway, I'm in Seattle now.  The flight was flawless (I'm assuming because it was not through United).  Our hotel is entertaining.  They have plates of free pineapple cupcakes every afternoon (and damn, they are some good cupcakes).  The University of Washington department of comparative medicine is only a 20 minute walk from the hotel.  And the hotel lends out bicycles for free, so at some point when I have downtime, I plan on getting on a bike and exploring Seattle.  I'm going to attempt to find a Swedish restaurant, the underground Seattle below the city of Seattle, and maybe the bridge troll.  

I guess I'm not really sure what I need to see here, and I'm not loving the big city vibe anywhere near as much as I loved the large swathes of forest I had in Oregon.  This is also my last rotation of 3rd year, which means finals are coming up in less than 2 weeks.  I'm more worried about studying than exploring at this point.  If there's something amazing in Seattle that I can't miss while I'm out here, leave a comment, and I'll try to visit it.  Otherwise, I'll probably have my nose buried in my laptop for most of the weekend.  

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