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Meanderings of a Working Travel Agent

Mom Was Right – She Always Is

My name is Percival and I am a Chinstrap penguin and I live on Deception Island in the Antarctica Peninsula.  I didn’t know I was a Chinstrap penguin until I was a bit older and asked my mom why the other penguins on our island – that Adelie bunch – always made fun of me and called me Smiley Face.  My mom said our markings are different from the Adelie crowd and anyway they are a bunch of stuck up penguins and I should take no notice of them – even though they were always shouting and pointing at me. 

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It’s a happy little place here on Deception Island …. Even though we are living on top of a volcano.  Well it is active but has been quiet since the 60’s.  I had to laugh, however, when a whole bunch of tourists arrived and their owner told them the rules to follow “in case of an eruption”.  Their faces! 

These tourists are really strange.  They have been around for my whole life and apparently for a long time before that.  Mom has told me since I was little to just ignore them – its best not to habituate them to penguins otherwise they will start doing things like kidnapping us and taking us across the world to where they live.  And I have heard stories of penguins being held captive in those strange countries – so trust me – I am not going to engage with them.  But it’s hard really – I have been told that the tourists are not allowed to approach us or get in our way – but they are allowed to take photos of us.  But this one tourist got so close to me the one day and crouched down and said something that sounded like “coochie, coochie coo – hello little penguin”.  That really freaked me out.  These tourists are all identical with orange and black bodies but they are herded by some other creatures who are not tourists but who are red and black – I think they are the owners.  It is quite strange and I am not sure why they come here at all.   Although they all look the same (orange and black) there are some differences.  Some are round and some are tall and thin.  Some have hair on their faces like a seal so no two are exactly the same.


Mom told me that they have been coming here for as long as she can remember as well – and that’s a long time. 

They have some peculiar habits, these tourists, they come and visit us on black floating things – I suppose they can’t swim.  They are not very stable as they have to use sticks to walk.  That must be a nuisance.  Then when they get back into the black floating thing to go away they spend a lot of time scrubbing their feet.  It’s really weird.  I also saw one of them getting off the black thing and then pulling a strange face and using his fingers to close his nose.  Something about the stink.  Maybe it was one of the other tourists because I certainly couldn’t smell anything.

Mom told me that before long they will go back in the floating black things and head out of sight, and out of mind and she is always right!

Oh hey, I better go.  It’s one of those Adelie penguins again calling me names – like Joker!  Mom says sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.  Well my feelings are hurt but I am just going to move as fast as I can and get back to my own kind where everyone has a smile.


4 Responses

  1. As you’ve got the penguin’s comments, I wonder what the animals in Africa say about the tourists in their jeeps or pop-top vans. Was that your photo? It is good. Sounded like you had a great trip.

    1. Now THAT would be a good blog….. thanks for the inspiration. Yes those were our photos and we had an amazing time. Better than I ever imagined it could be. I am now an Antarctica fan and am on my third book about the early explorers – Shackleton, Scott etc.

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The Travel Lady

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.

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