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Tuesday, Dec. 27

After breakfast my mom went with Sara and me to the metro, which we took to her favorite shoe store, where she got me some new shoes. I think I wore my previous pair for at least five years and, except for a period of less than a year when I temporarily switched to some running shoes, they were the only shoes I wore. I got married in them and walked all over the world in them. Now they lack the comfy cushioning they once had, and the heels are noticeably worn down.

The shoe store was kind of dusty and old fashioned, and the two older guys working there were competent and knowledgeable. I liked the shoes I came out with, though Sara thought they were a little ugly.

Afterwards we met my dad for a nice lunch at a lebanese restaurant, then Sara and I went to the zoo.

The high point of the zoo trip was when the keeper threw a ball out to the Cheetah cubs (well, they were more like adolescents I suppose). They kicked it around and ran back and forth, their long tails waving above them.

We also saw one of the panda adults eating bamboo (what they spend 70% of their time doing, according to my mom), scratching, then sprawling out on some branches for a nap.

The panda couple had a baby recently, which rarely emerges. You can watch it on the "panda cam" if you'd like, but patience is required to catch it doing anything other than sleeping. Nevertheless, this has made the pandas an even bigger attraction than usual, so there was a large crowd oo'ing and ah'ing at the panda's every move.

We also saw giraffes, elephants, hippos, a capybara, beavers, and a wolf striking a classic pose on a rock and howling--a howl with no growling, yipping, or articulation of any kind, just a long eerie tone.

The zoo was fun, especially since neither of us had been to one in years, though some of the animals seem depressingly understimulated in their small enclosures.

At closing we met my parents then took the metro home. In the evening we played BuyWord, an interesting word game.