“Let’s go pet the babies! They’re so cute & sweet!” we thought. Even though we were intimidated by the thought of petting the adult tigers at the Tiger Kingdom, our group was excited to see the cubs. What we didn’t think about, however, was that the adults were trained – cubs aren’t!
When we walked into the enclosure, three cubs were sleeping. Cute. Two others were awake and wrestling, with little squeaks and roars (sort-of) as they tried to pounce and pin each other. Epi-cute. Suddenly, one of them noticed us and decided he wanted a better challenge. With a tiny growl, he started stalking towards us. The trainer shooed him off and distracted him easily, but it was a little unnerving. They are still wild, after all.
We went to hold one of the cubs that was sleeping, and he didn’t seem to mind too much, besides a few big yawns. He had huge paws for such a tiny critter, and I was surprised to feel how coarse his fur was. I expected tiger cubs to be soft! The little guy was pretty well-behaved, except for when he decided to get a taste of my friend’s shirt and started licking him. That’s a big no-no here, as the trainers don’t want the tigers to develop a taste for people. So we had to distract the cub and get him to stop licking. Pretty soon, he joined the other cubs in the wrestling match, and our group moved on to see the bigger cats. That was a different experience than I expected, but still fun!
When were you surprised by an experience that wasn’t exactly what you expected?
Camera info: Fuji Finepix A303 / Automatic Point & Shoot
ISO 100 • f 7 • 1/680 sec
“PrayforJapan” is currently the #1 trending topic on Twitter. Last night, the island was hit with an 8.9 magnitude earthquake. The resulting tsunami has hit several other nations as well. I spent a while this morning talking with a friend whose Japanese family members weren’t responding (they have been found safe now – praise God!), as well as with another friend who has been up since 3am working with those providing aid. There were also many on Skype this morning praying over this. Like my friend in the photo is doing, right now we all should be praying over Japan.
The situation is difficult, but at least the early warning signals got a majority of people out of the way in time. The US Geological Survey has rated this quake as the largest in Japan, and the fifth strongest on record. Right now, the death toll is at several hundred, which is fairly low for the size of the disaster. A 1923 quake in Tokyo killed 140,000 people by comparison. Still, for the families affected, the cost is already as high as it could get. On the mainland, canceled flights, floods, power failures, and fires are making travel and communication difficult. Google recently released a live feed of news stories and practical help for those affected, including a person finder app for those still missing family members. The AP has released several photos of the conditions in Tokyo, for those who haven’t seen them all over the news already. Finally, Reuters has posted an evaluation of how the disaster will affect various business arenas in the USA.
In times like this I am reminded of how little control we really have over our lives. We never know when disasters like this can change everything we know in a moment. It gives me perspective on how I spend my time – is what I’m doing right now really making a difference? Life is short, so I should be using my life to make the world a better place.
Have you or your family and friends been affected by the earthquake or tsunami in any way? Share your stories, updates and prayers in the comments.