This year the Chinese (Lunar) New Year and Valentine’s Day fell on the same day, so we celebrated the New Year a little early. In the East Room, interns hung paper dragons, dragon masks, red decorations for luck, pictures of tigers and fish, and a huge sign that said “Happy New Year” in English and Mandarin. There were also raisins, an exciting favorite.
When the doors opened, there were lots of pant-hoots, and excitement as the chimpanzees raced around, picking up raisins all over the playroom, and playing chase. After all of the raisins were gone, Loulis made another loop around the room, pulling down all of the decorations, red sheets and clothes, streamers, the paper dragon hanging over the wooden platform, and finally the red “Happy New Year” sign.
For dinner, all three of the chimpanzees attended a special order Chinese take-out party sponsored by Kathy Gee. We ordered the following items from Panda Garden for the feast: Egg Flower Soup, Crab Cheese Won Tons; Almond Chicken; Garlic Chicken; Vegetable Fried Rice and extra Fortune Cookies (3 each). Prior to the start of the meal the interns were drooling over the smell and we took bets on which items might be favored.
The meal offered a number of surprises. First, the Egg Flower Soup was served as a forage in paper cups hidden in the night-time enclosures. Although Dar tasted the soup, the forage was primarily commandeered by Tatu, who drank almost every cupful while Dar and Loulis looked on. Crackers were a bust so Dani, the evening’s server, moved onto the main courses. In the second surprise of the evening Dar took a shining to the Crab Cheese Won Tons and managed to eat all eight!! Tatu picked through the offerings for bits and pieces while Loulis tasted everything on the plate. Interestingly, no one was very taken with the chicken.
The fortune cookies were served for desert and enjoyed by all, once we told them they were cookies! Prior to that explanation the chimpanzees merely looked askance at this seemingly ridiculous looking offering. At least, that’s what I imagine they were thinking considering their initial facial expressions and general lack of excitement. Overall the meal was quite a success but maybe next time we should try some pork?