Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How to Travel With a Chimpanzee

I think I know what traveling with a chimpanzee would be like after taking Alex overseas. Unfortunately, tranquilizer injections for toddlers are not as readily available as they are for chimpanzees. Here are some photos from our last-minute three-ring-circus adventure in Europe.

Ring 1: Belgium

Behold Alex dancing in the middle of Brussels' main square. In pajamas. At three thirty in the afternoon:

Q: How do you coax a stubborn two-year old back to his stroller?

A: Offer him Belgian chocolate.

Ring 2: Germany

Where we stopped at every waterway and smelled every flower.

We visited what appeared to be Hamburg's greatest pride: the world's largest model train set, featuring replicas of several U.S. and European cities. Everything seemed quite accurate, except the miniature Bryce Canyon included a highway billboard advertising Planned Parenthood.

Ring 3: The Netherlands

Kendall and I, both embarrassingly afraid of heights, tested our phobia by taking Alex to the top of an old windmill. On the tiny platform at the top, Alex, who was suffering from time-zone-schizophrenia-induced madness, dropped to his hands and knees and spontaneously combusted into fits of meowing and purring, causing Kendall and me to reach wildly to toward the floor for his hand, afraid to abandon the security of the railings we so desperately grasped. We didn't climb any other windmills.

Happy cows do not live in California. They live in Holland and Germany, where I renewed my vows to all things dairy and discovered "quark," a food that, despite its Star-Trek-ish name, tastes like melted clouds glazed with rainbows. I plan to make it in the near future.

We survived Amsterdam, where trains, buses, cars, bicycles (so many!), and cannabis-smoking free spirits line every corner of the city. I don't even want to imagine what Amsterdam would look like if everyone had four wheels instead of two.

Since Alex never really adjusted to European time, we were exhausted by the end of the trip and ready for the wrestling match that lay ahead on the twelve-hour flight from Amsterdam to Salt Lake City. Alex won several battles, many involving his propensity for sudden feline transformations, but the ultimate victory was ours when we finally laid him down to sleep in his crib. He didn't wake up until 7:00 am--his normal waking time.


  1. I cannot believe how big he is! What a personality--you can tell from the pics!

  2. I'll take a chocolate bribe any day! Hand it over, and I'll be your servant forever. Or at least for a minute. Seriously though, it looks like you had a great time! And how could you not with such a cute monkey tagging along? Glad you made it back safely.

  3. I hear that the happiest of all cows are actually in Switzerland, and that this fact alone is enough reason to extend an international vacation by several days.

    I'm excited about this quark you speak of ....

  4. I'm so glad that my son isn't the only one inexplicably turning into a cat at odd times.

  5. Wow Alex is getting so big! That's awesome you took him with you. I'm sure you had many funny moments traveling with a toddler.