Today is another day of waiting for FangFang’s medical exam results, so we got up reasonably early and packed up to head to the Chimelong Safari Park. Last time I was in Guangzhou, we’d visited the zoo, but most of the kids in our group were younger that time, and I’d heard the safari park was great for slightly older kids. Our guide recommended it and offered to set up a driver for us, so we wouldn’t have to take a taxi or the subway, so we went for it!
We started off our visit with the “Safari On Wheels” – basically a zoo tram through a number of different animal habitats. That part was very cool – we were so close to so many animals!
People could also drive their cars individually on this same path, which many did, and it was clear that they did not take these signs seriously –
We saw person after person hanging out through their sunroof windows throwing food to the animals!
After our tram ride, we ate a bit of lunch and then walked through the rest of the park. One of the first exhibits we saw was that of the white tigers. They were actually finishing up a show in which they suspend pieces of meat above the water so that the tigers will jump to get them and then fall into the water. We weren’t thrilled with that idea…but it was nice to see the tigers!
The highlight of my day came around the giraffe exhibit. For 15 yuan (about $2) you could buy a leafy branch to feed to the giraffes. I bought one for each of my kiddos and got FangFang out of the stroller so she could participate. The giraffes grab on and tug pretty hard, and Madeleine CaiQun lost her whole branch to the giraffe right away, and while FangFang wouldn’t hold it herself, she LOVED seeing the giraffe eat the leaves when I held out our branch. I bought a few more, and both girls were so happy about it.
And then, I don’t really know what prompted it, but FangFang decided it was time to snuggle up to me!
And then she puckered her lips for some kisses!
It can be so easy for me to focus on her preference for Sharon – her constant calls for “jiuma! jiuma!” – that I can miss the growth that really is occurring in FangFang’s and my relationship. We have a long way to go – which is to be expected! We’ve known each other for only a week! – but we’re making progress each day.
The moment ended, though, and we moved on to see some more animals!
Daniel bought some bananas to feed to the elephants, and though the girls didn’t quite have the arm strength to make the throws themselves, they enjoyed that experience, as well!
After feeding the elephants, we finally made it over to see the pandas! This was one of the highlights of the safari park for me. These are the triplet pandas born a couple years ago!
Making that exhibit even more enjoyable was the attendant near the exhibit, who spoke very good English and talked with us all about pandas – it was great to learn more about them!
The last animal we saw was the pygmy hippo – I don’t think I’d ever seen one before!
Then it was back to the hotel! We stopped and got ourselves some 4 yuan ice cream cones at McDonald’s before going in – FangFang was quite impressed 🙂
And then we ended up back at Macau Street Restaurant for dinner!
There was time for a little bit of play afterwards, and then our no-napping-again-today baby needed to get to bed. I think I actually let her stay up too late, because she was very tired and cried for quite a while at bedtime. It’s hard to distinguish between grief and a tired 3-year-old’s anger at having to stop playing and go to sleep, and I think both were probably at work tonight. She finally did fall asleep, though, and after some more playtime, Madeleine CaiQun did, as well.
FangFang and I have an 8:30 AM Consulate Appointment tomorrow morning, for which we need to be in the hotel lobby at 7:30 – eek! – not this night owl’s favorite plan! But it’s for a good reason 🙂 Then I think we’ll have some more sightseeing with our guide in the afternoon and evening. We’ll be home on Friday, which still feels so far away, but we really only have 2 more days in Guangzhou, which is crazy. It seems like this trip has been so long, and yet there are also ways in which it feels like we just got here. I can’t wait to see the rest of my babies – and yet my heart also harbors sadness for FangFang at this next loss she will experience, leaving her language and her culture, probably not to return for several more years at least. And yet, she is now a precious and beloved member of a family that adores her, and she’s about to become an American citizen and be connected with some of the best doctors in the world for treating OI. I think the benefits outweigh the costs, but the costs are still significant – but while we mourn for those, we celebrate that she is coming home, that we are all going home soon!