Jiajia, JD and I spent today at the Yunnan Safari Park. Forecasts of heavy rain kept the crowds away and, as it turned out, we only needed our umbrellas as we were returning to the car park to leave. The park itself is huge - 10km to the most distant enclosures. Some of the animals are caged, but most are in large open-air enclosures and seem well looked after. You can pay extra for a bus to take you to the different areas, but we opted to burn off some calories and it was fun to explore the walkways and suddenly bump into unexpected creatures, some just arms length away (think giant tortoises, peacocks, zebras, llamas, ostriches etc). We saved a lot of cash by bringing a picnic but blew it all on various kids' rides and entertainment for JD at the end of our visit! Still, it was a nice end to the day, as the heavens opened.
JD and I went to a circus in Kunming at the weekend, which has recently opened in Kunming Zoo. It's 90% humans (acrobats, jugglers, clowns, trapeze, magic, dancing etc) with just some dog tricks and fancy horse riding representing the animal kingdom - so no complaints of animal cruelty here (unlike the zoo, perhaps). Although expensive, it was actually very good value with a full 90 minutes of entertainment. One of the acts seemed to have dry ice formed into the shape of JD's name [see above] which was bizarre.
Jiajia, JD and I visited Kunming Zoo yesterday. I was pleased to see they have built new, larger enclosures for the elephants, lions, tigers and giraffes. The smaller animals fare less well (inc a miserable hippo who can barely turn around). Still, a huge improvement on say 10 years ago, helped by the removal of half the animals to a wildlife safari park outside the city a few years ago. JD enjoyed the animals but was most excited about the various rides. So we indulged in a few of those before heading off to a restaurant for a well-earned meal.
Recent temperatures have made this the hottest Kunming summer in 70 years. We've rarely been much below 30ºC in the last fortnight (and still only have an hour of running water a day!). Despite this, Jiajia and I resolved to take JD to the zoo yesterday. Last time we went it was packed, being a National Holiday, and JD was stuck in a pram and fairly oblivious to it all. This time he was far more interested and spotted various animals whose name he knows from his books (although many of the lazy beasts were hiding indoors, in the shade). The butterfly area [see above] was particularly fun and JD enjoyed the monkeys' antics too [see below]. His favourite moment, however, was being passed by a small, chugging tractor. He loves tractors. My highlight, apart from a McDonalds ice-cream, was seeing JD get bitten by a rather angry ostrich who objected to his little finger poking through the cage! Hysterical! Does that make me a bad father?
We took JD to Kunming Zoo yesterday. I last went a decade ago and swore never to return, such were the awful conditions. But things have improved somewhat. Many of the larger animals have been relocated to a safari park outside of Kunming, for example. The tiger and lion still pace to and fro forlornly, but at least they no longer have stones thrown at them by locals (a sign forbids "stirring" the animals!). The water birds looked happy enough and the monkeys, JD's clear favourite, were having a great time. Unfortunately, the zoo was heaving with visitors, today being the last day of the national Spring Festival holiday, and with JD getting as many stares as some of the exotic creatures, we headed home after a couple of hours.
As a foreigner living in China, life seldom gets boring. Challenging sometimes, yes, but rarely boring. News stories like this one, for example, can keep me chuckling for hours. A man from Yunnan decided to end his life by leaping into a tiger cage at the zoo. Unfortunately (or should that be fortunately?) he got the wrong cage and ended up in with an ostrich. He then killed it with a knife (nobody quite knows why) and waited for the police to show up. Love it!
At the end of November last year I blogged about a deer and a ram who had fallen in love in a Kunming Zoo.
Well apparently they are getting married today (it being Valentine's Day). Over five hundred people are paying $10 each to go and watch, and the animals will be dressed up in wedding clothes for the occasion! Cue the corny puns, I fear...
"Doe you pramise to stay together, no ifs no butts....?" "I wool" ....etc
Still awfully stiff from sunburn and with nose-bleeds (Ava) and ringing eardrums (me) from the scuba diving yesterday, we decided to take it a little easier today and visited Cebu's very own "Crocolandia".
This place apparently started as a sanctuary for abused crocs, then added some snakes, an iguana, a few parrots and... well, before they knew it they became a small zoo with a very odd selection of animals. We seemed to be the only visitors there and it made for a pleasant hour's wander.
My parents and I spent this morning in Kunming Zoo, with Jiajia and her Mum [see photo]. The zoo has recently (thankfully) had many of its larger animals removed (they were not at all "comfortable" last time I visited, some 12 years ago), shipped off to a new safari park to the North of the city.
The main attraction now, at this time of year anyway, is the amazing cherry blossom. We also liked a garden containing 15-20 peacocks, who were very happily showing off their plumage. Dad also enjoyed the WW2 American fighter plane!
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