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When flamingos drink
Flamingo, San Diego Zoo. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

For a little extra -- O.K., it's $105 on top of the regular adult admission price of $50 -- you can get a backstage tour of the San Diego Zoo. One of the highlights is feeding the flamingos, which, it turns out, are not shy, retiring creatures.

Once they realize you've got what they want in the red party cup, they come for you with a vengeance. They aren't especially tidy in their eating and drinking, but they're fast. In the wild, that probably keeps them alive. In here, it just makes for a brisk transaction (and awkward, but memorable, photo op). I shot this in 2013.

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You can always count on travel to teach you something -- but what? Travel is the substitute teacher who didn't get the lesson plan, the adjunct lecturer who goes off on Bukowski, the grad assistant who trashes your poetry, then hands out red velvet cupcakes. If only you'd had a clue what was coming, right?

I'm building this gallery from new and old adventures in the West and the world beyond. The photos are all mine. As for the attempted wisdom, it's all dead serious, except for that which isn't.

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