I used to travel a lot, and one of the things that’s fun about travelling is seeing the assorted creature features, both domestic and exotic. These critters come from India, Peru, Cambodia, and more.
Cows are sacred in Hinduism. That means a few things: 1) no Big Macs at McDonalds, 2) there are random cows wandering around everywhere, and 3) you are expected to get out of the cow’s way, and if you don’t, don’t be surprised if the nearest grandma pushes you out of the way because you’re being a disrespectful doofus.
The picture below is a beach in Goa. During the day, humans get the beach. As it starts to approach sunset, the cows take over. Why not, right?
In Jaisalmer, which is out in the desert in Rajasthan, pigs roamed freely right along with the cows, along with a few dogs and chickens. Critters galore! I’m fairly sure that’s the only place I’ve ever seen free-ranging pigs. It makes trying to walk anywhere a bit more challenging, because there are so many critters underfoot.
This billy goat’s gruff creature feature is in Varanasi. Varanasi is an odd place. It’s on the banks of the Ganges river, which in Hinduism is very holy, but on the practical side, it’s really not clean. This is one of the various ghats leading from the city down to the river, which Mr. Gruff here is navigating just fine. I didn’t take any photos near the ghats where they cremate people, because that would just be inappropriate, but cows were wandering around there, and it was all just a whole lot going on. Actually, India in general feels like a whole lot going on for a westerner. Take the sensory stimulation you’re used to at home and multiply by 1000, and that’s India. It’s quite remarkable.
These pictures from my hotel in Varanasi are out of focus, but the one of the left shows munchkin monkey riding backpack style on mama’s back. They’re very agile little critters, and they’ll quite eagerly snatch food whenever there’s an opportunity.
My friend and I were staying on the Greek island Rhodes, and went to check out the acropolis in Lindos. We could have trekked up from where we got off the boat, or we could go donkey-back. The donkey seemed much more interesting. The bag I’m leaning on is from Mountain Equipment Coop, and the MEC logo was actually a great way to spot follow Canadians while travelling. This was the best shoulder bag ever. I was crushed when it was stolen on the beach in Santiago de Cuba. When I went to MEC to get a replacement, they’d come out with a new version that was nowhere near as good. I used that until it disintegrated, at which point MEC had discontinued that bag altogether, depriving people of a chance to own the best shoulder bag ever made.
Part of the striving street food scene in Phnom Penh is deep-fried insects. I’m not sure if the insect-eating started before or during the Khmer Rouge-led genocide, but they’re certainly gung ho on bugs now. I chose not to partake in this particular critter-fest.
This picture is me getting a fish massage in Siem Reap, Cambodia. And what, you may wonder, is a fish massage? These fishies (I’m not sure what kind they are) like to nibble on dead skin cells, so they eat the outer bits of your feet. It’s tickling and exfoliation all at the same time.
Buddy above is in Bangkok, Thailand. I’m not sure what kind of giant lizard he is, but I like to call him a Komodo dragon.
These photos are from the Islas Ballestas off the coast of Peru. They have Humboldt penguins, which only live in Peru and Chile, and all kinds of other birds. These photos were taken from a boat. We were encouraged to wear hats because of the high risk of bird poopage. 💩
These photos are taken in the Sacred Valley area, not far from Machu Picchu. There are three kinds of similar critters in this area: llamas, alpacas, and vicuñas. Vicuñas have a distinct look, but I’m too clueless to be able to tell the difference between llamas and alpacas, so they’re all llamas to me. The one thing I do know that “baby alpaca” scarves and such things don’t actually come from baby alpacas; they’re a certain kind of hair from the grown-ups.
This shaggy beasty is my favourite.
All pictures © 2021 Ashley Peterson