Sunday, February 18, 2007

Rhino Lad

I was at Charlie's Ale House on Saturday with my friend, Baran. The intention was to study for the LARE exam (for becoming a registered Landscape Architect), but after several beers it was obvious that we were not going to be able to focus. Suddenly this lady came over to us and asked us exactly this: "Would you like to try some of these butt nuts?" After stopping myself from saying "What the %#@& is a butt nut," she revealed a plastic bag full of what looked to be dried chick peas. I thought to myself, who would ever just go up to someone in a bar and ask if you wanted to try some weird nuts out of a wrinkled plastic bag? And worse, how badly does this lady need friends?! Was this her idea of a pickup line? Obviously she had it all wrong. Her other friend came over at this point and began to announce that she was moving to Malaysia soon. I wondered what would spark such a large move, and she mentioned that it would be great if she could go somewhere non-tropical, since she had been experiencing so many hot flashes lately, because of menopause. Interesting. Then she began to tell us what she does for a living. Her focus in Malaysia will be trying to get a certain species of rhino to breed with others and increase the population, which is diminishing at a very fast rate. Apparently, these rhinos do not breed well in captivity, and are so elusive, that villagers that have lived in this area for 70+ years have never seen one. In fact, the only way they are aware that the rhinos are present is by seeing hair caught on a branch, or evidence of them eating certain plants. I was quite intrigued by the entire conversation, and how very passionate this lady was about the rhinos. Her work there has the ultimate goal of demonstrating to the locals how to care for the rhinos, and encourage to mate on their own, and not to disrupt their habitat, which has been overtaken in the last few decades by palm oil plantations.

So even though we meant to study for this exam, and didn't, we still learned some interesting information in the process. Alcohol can be quite the social lubricant, but only if you have it with butt nuts.

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