Today I went to the zoo and visited the orangutan exhibit. I watched them eat celery and just generally be fascinating. I locked eyes with the male named Towan and I knelt down and put my hand on the glass to keep my balance as I got a closer look. Next thing I know, this beautiful creature climbs up his enclosure, puts his hand up to my hand on the glass, puts his face right up to mine and looks me in the eye for a couple of minutes. It was the most incredible thing I have ever experienced in my life. The way he looked at me with such sincerity, you could see and feel that someone was in there and was trying to make a genuine connection with me. The connection was indescribable. After he climbed back down to finish eating, the woman next to me says: "You know, he'll remember you when you come back". After talking to her for a bit, she explained that she is an actress and an artist from Vancouver and has been coming to see Towan and his family for the last 4 years. That she paints with them; she holds up the colors to the glass and they point to which colors they like and she'll paint with them. Her connection with them was made apparent as one of the other orangutans made their way over to the glass where she was sitting and emulated everything she did and even smashed his fist on the rock when she said she had to go and started to get up. It was incredible. Afterwards, we followed her to an area where she had set the paintings her and the orangutans had done aside to dry and they were beautiful! After talking even more, she tells me that the reason she has developed such close relationships with these orangutans, Towan in particular, is that she was actually the actress that played Maurice in the new Planet of the Apes and she used Towan as her sole inspiration for the character. Her name is Karin Konoval, what a wonderful woman. She told me that after she saw my interaction with Towan, she wanted to talk to me so I understand how special that interaction with him was, that he doesn't do that to just anyone and to come back and enjoy and interact with these animals as she has. I am just floored and deeply touched by this experience. Incredible.