Cute Baby Animals!

I felt like I needed an antidote to my last post…  Over the past few weeks, I noticed that the water in the Infinity Pool and Blue Lagoon was murky.  I had my suspicions so we put the night camera out.  My heart melted when I saw these baby raccoon kits.  The next night we put out some of our old cat’s toys and the kits didn’t disappoint.  It has been really hot so they loved having a wee bath. Perhaps they are bathed more than Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’ kids?

Raccoons are part of the Procyonidae family widely spread through North and South America.  There are 7 species, from Alaska to Argentina, and include Coatimundi and Kinkajou.   Their original Latin name, Ursus Lotor, referred to their perceived habit of washing their paws.  As omnivores they will eat food in shallow water but the real reason for them moving their webbed paws in a washing motion is because they use them as vibration sensors.  Our kits were about the size of the Pyrex dish (although apparently two can fit at a push…)  In my mind, they look like a cute little bear/cat/dog hybrid.

Mother raccoon did not appear on camera so she was probably resting in the reserve, leaving the kits in the Garden of Raccoon Delights.  Raccoons usually have 2 to 8 kits but it’s likely that our 6 kits are cousins. Female raccoons sometimes live together to raise their kits – the original Sister Wives?  The biggest raccoon I have seen in our yard was as big as a Bulldog – their weight ranges from 5 to over 50 lbs.  Mrs Stripe, who was a street cat from Egypt, looked at it with utter astonishment.  It didn’t smell like a dog or a cat, so what was it??

Striped tails are my weakness so I smile every time I look at the video.  They are so small, fluffy and playful!  In another video we heard them whining for Mama.  It sounded like a puppy whining softly.  In general raccoons can make a variety of noises – yowling, growling, hissing, purring, chirping and cooing.  This litter was really quiet and I couldn’t hear them even though they were feet away from my bed.  What goes on in our yard at night?  It’s a magical, if occasionally stinky, place.


The European lady in the bathroom

When I was at the airport this week, I went into the ladies restroom. My eyebrows were raised at a lady in her knickers (panties to Americans) and shirt at the sink. I realized she was washing a garment. We both went into adjoining stalls and I could see from her shoes that she was not American. When we both came out, I saw that she was now wearing a beautiful white skirt and I said to her, “did you get the stain out?” She laughed and said “did you see me?” I starting laughing as well and said, “You have to be from Europe.”

The lady confirmed she was from Denmark and I related to her my first encounter with western European girls in Scotland. My friends and I went to a Grade 3 Scottish youth hostel in the back of beyond. It sounds like something out of a horror movie and it really was. There was only one tap at each sink because there was no hot water – goodness only knows where the water came from, probably the stream behind the building. There were no showers, very little privacy and damp blankets. My fellow Catholic girlfriends and I were doing our best to wash ourselves under a towel when we noticed the Dutch girls, naked with one foot in the sink washing their nether regions and everything else. They had no issue with being naked with other girls which is an entirely normal response – we all look the same, more or less.

As we traveled more we noticed that Scandinavians, Dutch, Belgian and some others were completely comfortable with nudity. On one occasion in Amsterdam I was waiting in the queue for the ladies restroom in a department store. The queue was very long so the staff suggested that we use the gentleman’s restroom instead. The Dutch ladies went off happily but I just couldn’t bring myself to walk past the urinals. It would be a completely different story now with a middle-aged bladder – get out of my way I need to wee!!!