Thursday, November 18, 2010

If I were a Chinese animal, I'd want to be a panda

We had just one thing on our itinerary: the Beijing Zoo. After a leisurely breakfast, we headed there via subway. It was oddly quiet on the subway that morning, which we assumed was because it was Sunday. After receiving the pink punishment on his neck and nose, J fortunately remembered to put on sun screen because it was another clear, hot day.

The line for the zoo was very long, but there was another line for special combination tickets that included the zoo, panda exhibit, and a boat tour*. There was no one in that line and we had wanted to see the pandas anyway, so we got one of those tickets and made our way inside.

The zoo was very large, but a little sad. Many of the enclosures looked like they had not been tended to in some time, and some of the animals looked malnourished and sickly. People had thrown (and were continuing to throw) garbage in the enclosures, including in the water where the hippos were swimming. Other were feeding the animals through the bars.
Sad ostrich butt.
The one animal that lived a life of luxury was the Giant Panda, which was when I realized I'd want to be a Giant Panda in Beijing if I were an animal. They had their own huge enclosures in a special, sectioned off area. There was a huge pile of bamboo just sitting there for their enjoyment. I guess they are their national emblem** and bring in a ton of tourist money for China, but I have to say, they're pretty uneventful animals. Mainly they just sat there. Once, one of them ate.

Despite the pandas, I think my favorite thing was a grove (I'm not sure if that's the right term) of flowers. They reminded me of the peonies in Tokyo.

*We never did find the boat tour.
**After the dragon, of course.

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