Maritza Ruiz-Kim

Artist, San Francisco Bay Area

A Roaring Good Time at the Zoo

We went to the San Francisco Zoo today.

Over Christmas last year, a tiger here at the two men & killed one teenager. Local people remember this clearly. I shuttered a little as the lion roared today, and I told Enn “I don’t like that sound”. He replied quickly that he does, in fact, like that sound.

I thought quickly– Where do I hide if a tiger comes prowling?– then I went back to admiring the sweet animals.

It’s such a lovely zoo. Really, it really is.

When I lived in San Francisco- it’s been years now- I remember hearing that the zoo wasn’t all that. Things do sure change in 10 years!

It was the perfect outing for a blazing inland summer day.

I packed up the nite before, and we were there before it opened.  We made our way quickly to the back of the zoo to see the bear feeding in Grizzly Gulch. They let the bears out and they make a rush for the food. The dive in the water, and they basically do a hide & seek for food. So cute!

And we saw:

Polar Bears,

Penguins,

Giraffes & a baby Giraffe,

Lions,

Tigers,

and sweet little baby boy cub Sumatra Tigers! They tousled each other just a few feet from where we stood against the railing.

Sweet!

And we pretty much had a great time in the city that I lived in for some of my formative adult years- the years in between high school & getting married, the years at college that went so fast, and a few years after that.

We took the long way home from the zoo and Zee snoozed behind me while Enn chatted in the back. Five years old and asking “When I am 60 million years old, how old will Zee be?” and “When I am 150 years old, how old will Zee be?” and “What is the opposite of Book?” and “What is the opposite of lightbulb?” and “What is the opposite of ….”) I mean, I’d give it my best shot if he wouldn’t still randomly say “No, that’s not it.” Anyway, I try to remember to treasure these precious discussions.

We went up the Great Highway, then down Geary, passing 37th Avenue and the flat where I briefly lived before moving downtown with my best friend.

I can’t believe I was 17 years old, living just blocks from the beach of the Pacific Ocean, on my own (with room mates).

It’s more magical looking back than it was at the time. No, actually, it was pretty awesome even then.

Living by the beach! How great is that!

And then so many other city experiences come flooding back-

being a down & out, then being able to spend most of the night on the deck outside my flat, wrapped in a blanket, looking at the stars, smelling the sea salted air…

doing spoken word performances at bars where I was supposed to be 21 (was 18), even if I didn’t drink anything but soda…

the long bus rides across the city…

buying groceries at a place that’s now a Toyota dealership…

meeting up with friends at a Korean BBQ, not knowing my future husband frequented that place, too…

waiting for the bus to come, so I could take long bus ride across the city…

the weird acquaintance I made with a girl who was probably schizophrenic, but at the time she just seemed only a teeny bit little off…

the close proximity of Lincoln Park, how scenic is that place as it overlooks the Golden Gate bridge and had lookout spots and all!?!…

and the place where my friend Mel and I went walking near the Cliff House to the old public baths, and past them as we walked precariously along the edge of the cavey, cliffy area, and the way some crazy man emerged from the caves and started screaming at us & chasing us away…

There is construction in that area now… I wonder what they are making?

Ah, Life at 17 & 18 years old.

I love San Francisco!

2 Replies to “A Roaring Good Time at the Zoo”

  • I remember those bath house ruins. We were on a big group date and took a bunch of pictures. Did you guys get to go to the petting zoo?

  • Wow! sounds great, would have loved to have been there doing all that stuff.

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