Saturday, April 12, 2008

AWE: Alpaca Western Extravaganza!

Last night, John told me that he would take us to a surprise outing, and that the doors opened at 9 am. I interrogated him as best as I could, but this morning I still totally clueless when we drove up to the Portland Expo and saw the signs: Alpaca check-in, this way. Alpacas!!!!! I am of the firm belief that the alpaca is the hands-down cutest animal on the planet, and a giant exposition hall full of them only cemented that belief.

The thing that is the most amazing about alpacas isn't their funny hoof-paws. It isn't their 6 inch long second set of eyelashes. It isn't their super-soft, deliciously colored fleece (oddly enough, alpacas seem to come almost entirely in dessert colors--creamy whites, browns, cocoas and lavender-gray). It's the fact that 9 alpacas out of 10 stop what they're doing to look you over when you walk by, and their huge brown eyes are friendly and curious, like a dog's. And then they want to sniff you! I really wanted to pet every single one that put its head out of its pen to check me out, but I also didn't want to mess up their hair. This event is one of the most important shows in the country for alpaca breeders, and ribbon at it would add extra zeroes to a winner's selling price. But eventually I did succumb and put my face up close to a couple of extra friendly sniffers. They actually put their nose right up against my face to give me good sniffing! It was like an alpaca kiss! (Their lips are pretty whiskery.)

So I have been kissed by an alpaca! I am so happy!

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