Premier Booked For London
Yep, it's official!
I've found an
80 seat theatre in London which has agreed to promote and stage my
play with ME as the solo performer!
It'll run for
2 nights at the end of November and, man, am I excited!
2. Crocodiles Tortoises And Elephants
all along the earth's Equator, between the Tropic of Cancer and the
Tropic of Capricorn, so you'll never see any crocodiles as far north
as France, unless of course, you go to Pierrelatte.
a very small town just 10 minutes south of Montelimar by train. As
a township, it's pretty ordinary, except for . the Crocodile Farm!
Farm is not a zoo. Yes, it's open to the general public and it has
exhibits of many different breeds of crocodiles and aligators (and
more recently, giant tortoises!), but that's about where it stops.
The function of the Crocodile Farm is to . farm crocodiles!
Well, first of
all, there are about 350 crocodiles on the property. And most of them
are very much 'adult'. That is, they're between 2.5 and 3.5 metres
(8-11 ft.) long! But they weren't like that when they arrived. Back
in 1991, they were brought from the African Nile when they were just
wee babies, and only 50 cms (20 in.) long.
'housing' facilities and lots of tender loving care has seen them
grow marvelously to their current heavy-weight sizes.
And they're breeding!
The mix of males
and females has been thoughtfully considered so that each male (the
larger crocodiles) has his own little harem of about 7 females. And
even though they're all in one very large enclosure, each male has
carved out his own little territory, so heaven help any other croc
who dares to wonder in and make eyes at one of his lovely ladies!
And the enclosure?
It's built like
a natural jungle setting, with a long waterway, lots of trees and
large areas of shoreline for sunbaking (crocs only!). They've even
introduced birds and fish into their environment to make it look more
natural. Interestingly enough, even though the crocodiles could eat
the fish, they never do. Because they're fed quite generously every
3-4 days (Wednesdays and Saturdays) and their food takes 72 hours
to digest. So the fish are swimming in relatively safe waters!
And it's a virtual
hot house, where the temperature inside is kept to a constant tropical
level of about 30 degs. And the air is kept very humid by jets of
fine mist which is sprayed all around, every minute or so. In fact,
the jets are cleverly placed above the wooden ramps which wind throughout
the enclosure (and out of the crocodiles' reach) so that you can cool
yourself down by standing in front of it.
It's a very professionally
run business, where the farm staff are all dressed in a khaki uniform
and very helpful when it comes to sharing information. And if you're
a little shy to go up and ask, there are several educational presentations
held throughout the enclosure every hour, on the hour.
for about 100 years, but this farm isn't a retirement centre for aged
crocs, and the last place they'll never appear is on a restaurant
menu or as crocodile shoes or belts. Believe it or not, these crocs
are bound to be taken back home. Back to the African Nile where their
numbers have declined in recent years.
In fact, the Pierrelatte
Crocodile Farm's breeding program is so highly regarded that they've
even been entrusted with 2 very rare Chinese Crocodiles (only 25 left
in the wild!). Other crocodiles on display are the smaller slender-nosed
versions such as the caymans. And I was fortunate to be present when
they were being fed in their small glass enclosures. A bucket full
of eels was emptied into each enclosure so that there were about 2
eels for every cayman. And these eels swam around happily while the
reptiles simply ignored them . momentarily. But just 20 minutes later,
there wasn't a live eel in sight. There were a couple of half-eaten
eels, one on the shore and one in the water, but I guess these would've
also been snapped up soon after I left.
But let me finsh
with the tortoises and the elephants.
big enough to ride on!
Even though giant
tortoises lived naturally on the Galapagos Islands and the Seychelles,
nowadays, giant tortoises can only be found 'wild' on Anatola Is.,
on the east coast of Africa and just a little north of Madagascar.
This is because the water is too shallow for ships to moor there and
they are safe to live and breed in peace. And they sure do breed!
This island is such a paradise for the giant turtles that there are
100,000 of them living there. But maybe that's because they just refuse
to die. Giant tortoises are known to live for up to 150 years!
Anyway, the Crocodile
farm received some of these tortoises in 1994, when they were only
7 kgs. (15 lbs.), but now they've grown to 35 kgs. (77 lbs.). And
they won't end up as turtle soup either. This farm is all about giving
these large reptiles life and a future.
And the elephants?
Well, I didn't
get to see them. But they must've been there. After all, there was
a road sign warning us to be careful because elephants crossed there.
And there were elephant footprints where the elephants must've crossed
some time ago, even though the concrete had set firmly since then.
But the most convincing evidence was the picketed enclosure which
the elephants had broken through and left a generous deposit of .
er . elephant poo. Or was that just the farmer's sense of humour?
article is taken from the ebook,
400-Day LETS Odyssey
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