Local Heart, Global Soul

March 25, 2017

The “Flying Fox” Is The Highlight Of The Day…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The final section of the “Klimmen Enzo” high line obstacle course, and the highlight for Kiwi Daughter, were the “flying foxes“.

I discovered when I left New Zealand that this term was met with strange stares and puzzled expressions, and subsequently learned that elsewhere in the world these were known as “ziplines“.

Our friend went first so that Kiwi Daughter could see how things were done.

Attached by his safety harness, he sailed rapidly down the line, and when he started to become too small to make out at my shorter focal length I engaged the zoom and was delighted by how much of the action I could get into shot.

Kiwi Daughter likes to rubbish the fact that I carry around my big DSLR rather than just use the camera installed in my phone, but take that mobiles, I doubt you could zoom in this far and get photographs like these!

After being reassured that it was possible to make the distance perfectly unharmed, Kiwi Daughter exhibited an uncharacteristic measure of boldness and along with the obligatory screaming as she whizzed along the wire she added a few theatrical poses, even letting go one hand and waved an outstretched arm.

She got herself into the correct position for “landing” in the net, and once safely stopped, climbed up the net and then the ladder to an even higher level.

From there they attached themselves to the next wire and “ziplined” to the next stage: a large pole standing further out in the field.

Both landing safely on the platform, and having now completed two side of the triangle, the third and final “zip” brought them back to the main tower structure, the axis of the two main parts of the course.

The rush of endorphins and the buzz from the experience was plain to see, Kiwi Daughter was also rightly proud that she overcame her fear of doing the higher parts of the course and her doubts about her ability to finish the course. Her elation after the flying fox sections of the course clearly told us that this was not an experience that will be forgotten quickly, and the confidence she gained was immeasurable too. Of course as parents we were proud of both our kids: they each did their best and went as far as their physical abilities allowed. More importantly I think that our kids realised to some degree that whilst this may primarily be a physical obstacle course, its also a mental one too.

Naturally you have to trust your equipment but you have to calculate how to get around the various obstacles and overcome the fear factor that comes with the highest sections of the course. The zip lines are the icing on the cake: to participate is actually very reasonably priced, …but the experience is priceless.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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The same net: side view…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Klimmen Enzo / Climbing park Texel / The Netherlands. (Kiwi’s note: website Dutch language only).

November 24, 2015

I Think This Might Be Turning Into A Shoe Fetish…

This is my last post about the “Klompen” (clogs) in Garderen for 2015 at least. Yes, it might be starting to look like I have a shoe fetish but the simple truth is that there was so many more clogs on display this year and most were painted on both sides, so many a photograph was needed… Enjoy!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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And finally, just in case you are thoroughly sick of shoes by now, here is a painted apple!
(“Je Maintiendrai”, the motto on the National coat of arms is French for “I will maintain”.)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sand Sculpture Garderen / Zandsculpturen Garderen

November 23, 2015

Shoes, Glorious Shoes! (Well, Klompen At Least)…

Garderen, a small village in the Dutch province of Gelderland, hosts a large sand scupture exhibition by international sand sculptors each year in the Spring and Summer months. One of the two themes in 2015 was “Children’s books” and it ws not only the sand sculptures that followed this theme but also the artists who decorated the large fiberglass “klompen” (clogs) at the entrance of the exhibition. Let’s take a look…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Sand Sculpture Garderen / Zandsculpturen Garderen

June 11, 2015

Strange Birds And Lion Monkey’s With Flaming Manes…

Filed under: Activities,Apenheul,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following yesterday’s post , after seeing the show that the peacocks have put on, we go to a part of the park where there are more birds.

Amongst them is the Abyssinian ground horn-bill, a very strange looking bird with bulging eyes, and pat of the ground horn-bill family of birds.

One of the keepers was busy feeding them when I arrived, she showed us the container she was feeding them from, a dead duckling was on it’s back inside, a bit of a shock for the children that nature is necessarily cruel and for one creature to survive another has to have died.

Being the only visitors in this section of the park we stayed and talked to the keeper for a while, these African birds are certainly very distinctive and unfortunately becoming ever more endangered.

Apenheul is mostly of course a monkey zoo so they count themselves lucky to have some of these birds in their care, all we can hope is that the wild populations and their habitats can be kept safe and that they can survive as a wild species too. In an enclosure close by there was a flock of strange looking birds, these were bald headed ibis and they looked curious, as if the feathers from the tops of their heads had fallen out unexpectedly.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There was an informational sign board close by, depicting Venetian masks of the “Plague Doctor”  which share many of the features of these interesting looking birds.

The children marvelled at the “weirdness” of these birds and it was interesting to see how they looked at fairly close quarters. (the birds, not the children!)

From there was moved on to a giant apery area, we all liked this space and the birds but were getting so numb from the cold we lingered less than we would have liked.

All moaning about the cold stopped when we were greeted outside by the Golden Lion Tamarins, these amazing little monkeys had fiery manes on jet black torsos with hints of the flame colours creeping out in their legs and tails.

Several of these were astonishingly close o us in a tree, and extremely skittish, vanishing at speed at any loud noise or big movement, we had to stay very still to get photographs.

I think that it would be very hard to get this close outdoors in the crowded summer season. Leaving the Tamarins behind we finally reach the end of the park where we find a nearly deserted set of stalls and a roundabout. The kids didn’t mind being some of the only customers on the ride and we get some funny photographs for our private family album as they ham it up.

Before we know it we are at the bag return area… and the shop that beings us out at the main entrance again, so full circle.  We warm up in the shop before heading back to the car, with the heating on full blast and quickly getting toasty and warm, we all agree on two things: first we have had a wonderful day and second, on a winter’s visit anywhere  in the future we have to remember to bring enough scarves and gloves!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 10, 2015

Show Us Those Tail Feathers…

Filed under: Activities,Apenheul,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Back in the winter of 2013 when Family Kiwidutch visited the monkey zoo in the Netherlands called Apenheul, the cold weather drove us indoors whenever we could manage it.

After we had had lunch we dallied outside for a little while as we watched several peacocks flirting with each other.

The smaller, lesser plumed female was being courted first by one very persistent male and then a second male joined in, which resulted in both males spending more time chasing each other off than either pursuing the female.

Since the female didn’t look particularly interested anyway, she took the opportunity to escape the pestering for some peace and quiet.

The first male was particularly eager with his flirtations and was most willing to call and fluff out his feathers, and was so busy with his assertions that when the female went around us in order to show her disinterest, her male suitor came right up to us so that he could get past to follow her.

My resulting close-ups of his feathers were better than I ever could have imagined and the “eye” effect of the decorations is actually a brilliant piece of work from mother nature.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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June 9, 2015

They Look Like Climbing Teddy Bears…

Filed under: Activities,Apenheul,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Back to the outside areas of Apenheul zoo, Family Kiwidutch pass though first a set of electronic doors, then though a curtain of air that comes up from the floor.

I didn’t get the name of the monkeys housed here but it seems that they don’t mind the cold, in fact they look like fat little bears at some moments when they are sitting on their haunches.

As we turned a corner and came towards a large rock, it becomes apparent that two of these monkey’s are chasing each other, one darts up the semi-sheer rock face with speed that takes my breath away, and even at my quickest I am just able to get photographs of the second monkey who follows it.

If we sit still, a few of the monkeys will come close and check us out a little bit. It might also maybe been that the park had only been open for few days and we were amongst the few visitors who were still novelty items in the eyes of the monkey residents.

On the other side of the large rock we find a smaller kids climbing wall, where children can test out their own climbing skills.Little Mr tried valiantly and failed miserably and then after some minutes both of my offspring started shouting that he was “almost at the top”!It was true, of sorts, because he was clinging on with his hands and in a strange sitting position but his body weight was being held us as high as possible off the ground by his sister.

Believe me, their method was probably the most ungainly you could imagine and we have the family photographs to prove it.  In another part of the park we see some people standing under a roofed shelter looking upwards. When we got there we found some small monkeys up on ropes that have been slung around the rafters, huddled together for warmth and making the best  of the heat lamps hanging down near by.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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June 8, 2015

Children Get Plenty Of Chances To Let Off Steam…

Filed under: Activities,Apenheul,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Apenheul zoo is very much a zoo that promotes awareness of monkeys in their natural habitat and the challenges of preserving those natural habitats around the world not only for now but also for the future.

That’s why one of the things our kids lived about Apenheul were the many kid-friendly interactive playthings.

Everything from the playground where there were wire tunnels high up in trees (just like the ones they have seen outdoors for the monkeys) and wooden animals as the play equipment to smaller obstacle course pieces all around the park.

There were also large things to run around on, like the massive raised viewing platform that our kids looked longingly at but were too cold to go and try.

There were also a myriad of education things to explore, like checking out our own arm span against the boards that show the arm span of the average adult orangatang. There were things that made the kids giggle like the giant fibre-glass replica of a turtle shell, it is hollow so the kids can crawl inside and get their photograph taken looking like turtles.

My children both gave it a go and I got some very funny photographs for our family album. If we had been here in Summer than I’m sure that they would have enjoyed these even more but the cold drove us indoor once again. We all opted for a warm lunch to help us thaw out and all in all the food  wasn’t that bad.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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June 7, 2015

These Young Guys Are Just Monkeying Around Again…

Filed under: Activities,Apenheul,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Following yesterday’s post, Family Kiwidutch are visiting the gorilla enclosure at Apenheul in the Netherlands. Yesterday I focused on the adults, today’s post is a photographic post about the playfulness of the youngsters…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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June 6, 2015

Gorilla’s Behind Glass, Luckily Very Very Thick Glass…

Filed under: Activities,Apenheul,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Coming inside out of the freezing cold during our 2013 visit to Apenheul Zoo, a zoo that is especially for all types of apes.

We have already seen some of the smaller monkeys but now have arrived at the gorilla enclosure.

Gorilla’s are extremely strong and very dangerous so no risk is taken, there is not just one layer of especially reinforced glass but two layers of this glass.

By the entrance of the enclosure there is an example of the glass used so that visitors can be reassured that these huge beasts will not be coming though the windows any time soon and it’s at least 4 cm thick (1.57 inches).

In one of the windows we are lucky to see a mother gorilla with her very small baby, and in time to get a few photographs of the baby, who was very quickly bought close by it’s mother and went out of view.

One of the keepers is around, answering questions from the visitors tells about what one of the large gorillas is doing. They are going to the back of the enclosure to where there is a multiple wired window that is two layers thick.

The keepers places various fruits and vegetables between the two layers of wire and the gorillas are kept busy getting the food out.

I saw a part of an apple on the floor and asked what the favourite food is, and was amazed by the answer: the gorillas adore it when there are onions on offer! and prefer onions over everything else! Wikipedia (link to website at the end of this post) tells us:

Gorillas are ground-dwelling, predominantly herbivorous apes that inhabit the forests of central Africa. They are the largest living primates by physical size. The DNA of gorillas is highly similar to that of humans, from 95–99% depending on what is counted, and they are the next closest living relatives to humans after the chimpanzees and bonobos.

Gorillas’ natural habitats cover tropical or subtropical forests in Africa. Although their range covers a small percentage of Africa, gorillas cover a wide range of elevations. The mountain gorilla inhabits the Albertine Rift montane cloud forests of the Virunga Volcanoes, ranging in altitude from 2,200–4,300 metres (7,200–14,100 ft).

Lowland gorillas live in dense forests and lowland swamps and marshes as low as sea level, with western lowland gorillas living in Central West African countries and eastern lowland gorillas living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo near its border with Rwanda. After about five minutes we are lucky, a keeper put in some onions and the gorillas were quick to indulge in their favourite snack.By the entrance is a window that shows all of the fruits and vegetables that the gorillas get given here. The larger apes keep busy, checking out each other and playing around with the youngsters…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Gorilla

June 5, 2015

Leading The Eye Away From Your Worst Feature… Um…To Where?

Filed under: Activities,Apenheul,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch were visiting Arpenheul monkey zoo on a cold winter’s day in 2013.

We have been warming up by viewing some of the monkeys who are preferring to stay indoors and then entertaining ourselves by getting as close to the ones who want to stay outside too.

In the corner of one of the well heated enclosures was an monkey that was sitting in the glass fronted window.

He drew instant laughter from our children because he had not only a long face but also very long hooked nose that made him completely comical.

In fact Himself and I joked that God  must have been in a very strange mood when this monkey was created. The monkey we were looking at is called the Proboscis monkey” or  “long-nosed monkey”.

There were two halves to this  viewing window and when this monkey moved from the first window to the second he changed his sitting pose, choosing this time to face us full on with his legs fully apart, giving us a full frontal view of the “full Monty”.

Our innocent kids were still  completely unaware, laughing and making comments about the “poor monkey’s ugly nose” but Himself and I couldn’t fail to notice something very noticeable a little further down.

A bright red penis, which Himself jokingly whispered into my ear must have been necessary distraction for this monkey to make himself more alluring to the lady apes. It certainly raised our eyebrows! I know that if you have one physical feature that isn’t your best attribute, then stylists always advise to draw attention away from it by emphasising something else that you are happy with. This monkey seems to be taking that idea a little too far!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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