It is the end of 2013 and what would be a better way to cap this roller-coaster-of-a-year than the most epic Weekly Penguin we've had to date. Heck, I'm not sure we'll ever going to top this one, for obvious reasons. To put it short; when me and Petja travelled to London for the Doctor Who Celebration event in November, we arranged our trip in a way we had one extra day in reserve. And what we spent the day on? Well, for the first time ever I was on the same landmass with real penguins, so yeah, to ZSL London Zoo we went.
But it gets better; ZSL has a daily VIP experience called 'Meet the Penguins'. That's exactly how it sounds – a small group of people per day can get to meet the residents of London's one-and-only Penguin Beach. And when I say meet, I mean face-to-face! When I saw this option on ZSL website, I didn't waste any time checking the prices, I just went and ordered us two VIP tickets. Was it worth it? It was the best money I've ever spent!
As always, these waddlers are considered wild animals and as such one doesn't go in and pick them up for cuddling. No, you go in to the enclosure, sit down and maybe, just maybe, one or two critters will come to check up on you. Luckily for us, one of the Humboldt penguins, Jack, was a naturally curious soul, inspecting us all. Biggest items of interest? Petja's legs and the buttons of my leather jacket.
The other penguin visiting us was the local celebrity Ricky the rockhopper. And when I say celebrity I mean it; he has everything from a Facebook page to even a rock single! Naturally, Ricky has an ego to match; his keeper told us that the moment Ricky sees a camera, he starts posing. And it for sure looked like it! Apparently Ricky and Jack also are borderline enemies, or at least Jack doesn't like Ricky at all, so it was amusing to watch the two keep an eye out for each other while they inspected us weird visitors.
Once again a huge THANK YOU to ZSL London Zoo for making a lifelong dream come true!
On a side note; my beard wasn't a casualty of Mowember or any such thing – it just wasn't part of the costume etiquette of the following day's party.