Monday, November 12, 2012

Our Trip to the Zoo

After getting Jillian’s TB test checked, today (Monday the 12th ) was our day to visit the Guangzhou Zoo.  It was a completely different experience than last time.  

Elsie paid a few yuan to buy leaves for the kids to feed the giraffes.  All three were a little timid when those long tongues twisted out of the giraffes’ mouths to snag the snacks.  According to Melody, their tongues were “sticky.”  We definitely got up-close-and-personal with the creatures.  

Elsie also paid for us to get into a showcase of trained animal acts.  It was really thoughtful of her to try to do something that the kids would enjoy.  In reality, I’m not sure anyone truly, truly enjoyed the show . . . not the audience, not the trainers, not the animals.  It was a really sad example of old school animal acts.  Old school animal acts done poorly.  Again, it was pretty cool that Elsie tried to give us something she thought would entertain us, but at times I wasn’t sure who I should feel most sorry for . . . us, the animals or the entire city of Guangzhou for having this act as part of one of their leading tourist attractions.  

In terms of animal watching, the highlight of our visit was what was probably the biggest disappointment of our last time at the Guangzhou Zoo:  the panda exhibit.  Six years ago, the pandas were inside their glass enclosure and so distant we could hardly see them.  This time, the first of the two pandas was so active and so accessible that we didn’t even bother walking to the other side of the pen to see his partner.  I got some great video of him sitting in the little pool, shaking himself dry and scratching his back on a “tree.”    


I also enjoyed seeing the red panda.  Usually, when we get to a red panda exhibit, I just have this feeling of, “Oh, you couldn’t get real pandas so you show us these fake foxes hidden up in the trees?”  This time, three of the red pandas walked right beneath us, less than 15 feet away.  

I’ll close this posting with a very special picture of Jillian . . . I don’t know if you can see them in the tree in the background but there are four or five monkeys up in the branches.  And this is Jillian’s impression of a monkey.  Spot on.

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