June 15, 2012


Last weekend I wanted to take my six year old brother Blade and his girlfriend Judy to African Lion Safari in Guelph. It's a great place where kids can meet their heroes and adults can get their car ripped apart by monkeys with simply outrageous butts.

On the drive there, everything was going smooth until Blade threw Judy's cabbage cone out the window because she made fun of his favourite Aerosmith song, Love in an Elevator. I got all distracted trying to calm them down and I must have made a wrong turn in the process because although we ended up at a jungle adventure park, I don't think it was the right one. After traveling down a long, gravel laneway lined with Arby's billboards and Portuguese flags, we drove underneath a sign that indicated we had reached:

 A Freakin' Lion Safari
Some damn animals

Since the kids were already driving me nuts, I decided we might as well just go with it. It claimed it had lions and there were bound to be bathrooms and somewhere to get fries, so why not?

I drove up to a ticket booth and was met by a guy who looked like Bernie Lomax, the titular character from Weekend at Bernie's, shades and all. His name tag read "Designated Honker", which I assumed had something to do with Women's breasts, since taped to the wall were several printed out pictures of naked women with Melissa Joan Hart's face Photoshopped in.

"20 clams for adults, 10 clams for each for the turds. Parking is 50 but you can park wherever you want, even right here [he pointed down into his lap], the fuck do I care?" he said.

I paid the man and he gave me back one swath of black felt and two swaths or red. On the black he had written in permanent marker, "MAN" and then on each of the red ones he wrote "BABY". We drove on through, parked beside of mound of scrap metal and saw what looked like a fenced-in public swimming pool. 

We soon learned that this was know as "The Pit" and indeed was once a public swimming pool that closed down in the late 80's due to a lamprey infestation. 

A park ranger who was dressed more like a a Jedi, but instead of a light saber he was holding a net, was telling the small gathered crowd what kind of animals were in the pit.

"God' honest truth, it's mostly frogs in there. If you look over by the pile of boots you'll see our lion, her name is Twix. There's some regular Ontario birds, they come and go, whole lotta worms, and there's a litter of beagles that was born two weeks ago. Questions?"

I asked him if there were any other animal attractions in the park and he said to pull our car around behind the west shack if we wanted to experience the freakin' safari. I was hesitant to say the least, but Blade and Judy seemed to be having fun so we hopped back in the car and met the ranger behind the west shack. 

The "Savannah" looked like nothing more than a bunch of interconnected youth soccer fields, compete with rusted out goalposts. The ranger had told me to keep the car under 15 km/h  and just follow the pylons, that looked to me like cheap witch's hats spray painted orange. Several were just blowing in the wind. I didn't understand the strict speed limit until the ranger himself began to jog beside the car, giving a running commentary on the animals in the fields. There wasn't anything too exotic -- a couple of cows, some pigs, a large nest of opossums, but up ahead we spotted some monkeys playing on one of the goalposts.

"Oh shit, what are those?" The ranger asked me, almost out of breath. 

I told him they were monkeys to which he sort of stared at them then veered off into the forest that borders the fields. Never saw him again. 

Based on that I decided to turn around and end the safari portion of our trip.   

There was a small hot dog stand near the old pool that only served toast and jam, so we grabbed a few and ate them on a slightly rotten picnic table. Since it was old it was covered in carvings of people's initials and accusations of homosexuality, but what really drew my attention was something that read "STay AFteR DaRk anD We wilL CUT YOU". As we were finally driving out past the ticket booth on our way home there was a very well made sign with the same slogan. What a day!


scott said...

This needs to be made into a short film.

Duke of Spook said...

Are you the man to direct it?

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