Today we spent the morning at Safari Park, on the outskirts of Guangzhou. It was fantastic. Initially we planned this excursion as a fun treat for Chipmunk. As it turned out, I think Stu and I had as much fun as him! We were able to take a tram ride through a big section of the park where many varieties of animals are allowed to roam free. We were within feet of giraffes, zebras, lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!). Ostrich walked right up to us on the tram. We were able to see hippos fighting in water that was about 10 feet away. Crazy!
Sprout was a bit unsure at first but she soon got into the spirit of the park and was shouting Meow! at every animal we saw. Evidently the only animal she has ever been exposed to before is cats. She was quite entertaining.
After that we were able to walk along a pedestrian trail where we were up close and personal with the animals. This is one of the biggest breeding centers for tigers in the world so we were able to see many different varieties of tigers: Bengal, Siberian, South China tigers, white tigers. They had more than fifty tigers on display. For 10 yuan (about $1.50), Chipmunk was able to purchase a bag full of raw meat and feed the white tigers...an experience that I don't think he will ever forget.
There was a big exhibit of various monkeys. Chipmunk wasn't as fascinated with this, as our local zoo has a good gorilla exhibit that we visit quite often. There was one baby orangutan that they had dressed in baby clothes and a diaper. He seemed fascinated by Chipmunk and mimicked every move he made. He didn't take his eyes of of him the entire time Chipmunk stood there.
Another highlight of the day was the giraffe area. So many giraffe wandering around. Chipmunk purchased a giant limb full of leaves for 15 yuan (about $2.50) and was able to feed a couple of giraffes. He stood by the wall and shook the branch and they walked right over to us. Sprout and I were able to rub the giraffe's nose while Chipmunk was feeding them which she thought was hilarious!
Of course, the highlight of the trip was a visit to the panda bear sanctuary. They had more than twenty pandas on view in a variety of different habitats. They only have a plastic divider about four feet high so we were able to get within feet of many of the baby pandas. They were so cute! We didn't spend much time with them though because Sprout was scared of them (as was Pudding last year).
Even though it was almost 90 degrees today we ended up spending almost 5 hours wandering around the park. It was seriously an experience we will never forget.
The only downside was the fact that I left my memory card for my camera in the laptop at our hotel room. I didn't think this would be a big problem as Chipmunk always has his camera with him. Not today! I almost cried when I realized I wouldn't be able to take any pictures of our special day. However our trusty guide Aron I(have I mentioned how much we love her!!) came to our rescue and was able to take many pictures for us on her phone. I'll post the pictures as soon as she sends them. We were able to get many good ones. And I did remember to bring our video camera so we should have lots of good footage to watch.
Chipmunk went swimming again in the pool this afternoon while Sprout was "trying" to take a nap. It's been so nice to have an activity for him to do each afternoon so we can keep our hotel room nice and quiet for our sleeping beauty.
Tonight for dinner we went to an awesome restaurant with authentic Chinese food. Many of the restaurants around this area cater to foreigners and make their food to suit a more international palate. We have been craving good authentic Chinese food since we arrived so we asked Aron to give us a few suggestions. We went to a restaurant a block or so from our hotel. We knew we were in the right place when we walked in and the place with packed with Chinese families. We were the only Caucasian faces in the entire place. The menu didn't have any English so we pointed to a few dishes and crossed our fingers. We ended up with barbecue pork, shrimp and vegetables, sweet and sour pork, and chicken feet. Every single dish was delicious. I will admit while I liked the flavor of the chicken feet, I couldn't get over the texture or shape of them in my mouth. You could feel every single little joint of the foot in your mouth. Yuck. Sprout loved every dish and even started to use chopsticks. While she needed a little bit of help picking the food up she managed to get most of it into her mouth. And Chipmunk is an expert at chopsticks now. I have to say that he is even better than Stu and me!
I need to add that I think we are over the worst (for now) with Sprout. She is completely blossoming each day and is full of joy. She wakes up with a smile on her face and it stays there all day. She is attached to me like velcro and adores her big brother. Daddy...not so much. We even received our first kisses from her tonight. So sweet!
Such a fun day full of making memories. Tomorrow we head back to Shamian Island to get Sprout's TB test results and to do a little shopping. I've held back on shopping so far but tomorrow all bets are off!