When I was preparing for my trip to Dubai, I told my favorite three-year old where I was going, and we discussed the wildlife I might see.
I told him that I would see penguins, at Ski Dubai. He looked at me like I’d lost my mind, and gently suggested that I’d perhaps be more likely to see some camels.
Trevor is a smart kid. He knows that penguins have no business in the desert.
He also warned me not to get too close to the camels because they’d spit at me, knowledge that he’d acquired at Disney World. The whole conversation felt like a post-modern cultural metaphor for something.
Meanwhile, I did see camels on the trip, albeit in Oman, not Dubai. Although I think they were actually dromedaries, but close enough.
Thanks to Trevor’s wise counsel, I kept my distance to avoid the risk of a spit incident. But as he did not warn me against it, I did get rather cozy with this one penguin. (The photo looks funny because it’s an iPhone photo of a souvenir photo that I was suckered into buying. That’s a different story, though.)
I thought that the penguins would feel sort of slick — like someone rubbed them down with Omega-3 fatty acid fish oil — but they are actually quite soft and not at all smelly.
Alison J. Stein
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