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Elephant play time!

sunny 25 °C

Here's some more photos of Elephants! :)

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Eep!

Posted by Lady Mantle 22:16 Archived in China Tagged elephants beijing_zoo Comments (0)

Train Stations, the Zoo, old China town and a stupid cold!

sunny 27 °C

Today has been long but eventful! Prepare yourself, this is going to be a long one!

I got the subway (again - I'm a pro now!) to meet up with Mish and we headed to Beijing North Train Station to get my ticket to go to the school on Saturday in XinXiang.

This would be fine accept we got out of the subway and couldn't find the main train station, so we're stood there looking at a map when a friendly Chinese face pops over the map and says, with a slightly American twang "You guys need some help?" - THANK GOODNESS!

So she directs us to the train station and advises us that we need to actually get there which is daunting as there is an assortment of highways twisting and looping about themselves right between us and the train station. I almost wanted us to be in a movie and as the camera pans out to show the mass of road we needed to cross there would be a kind of "duh, duh, duuuuuuuuh!" musical moment as our task was laid before us!

However, we eventually found an underground root which cut out the overpass completely - very useful!

The next 2 hours were border line psychotic...!

We waited in not one, not two, but four queues, upstairs, downstairs, outside, inside, everywhere, only to end up at the same window we started at, frazzled and confused and no further in our quest to get me a train ticket.
I noticed a Chinese girl in front of us, probably no older than 15, maybe 16 who had hand written English on her backpack - I tapped her on the shoulder, refusing to be beaten by a sodding train station and showed her a simple message I had translated on my phone simply saying, in Chinese, "Do you speak English?".
By some glory of Darwin, she replied, "Yes, a little" - we showed her Mish's ticket and explained, as simply as possible and with a lot of non-verbal communication (AKA, a lot of hand motions and raised eyebrows) that we needed another ticket, like hers only for me, but it needed to be the same day, same time, same train!
A few quick words of Chinese later, my passport and the equivalent of £18, I had my ticket for the 5 hour train journey to the school and mine and Mish's home for the next year.

It's now 1pm.

We go to the subway to head back into town, then decide to go the zoo as it's the next stop on the subway anyway.
The Beijing Zoo subway stop was between where we were and the National Library. However, the Beijing Zoo subway stop was out of service, so we ended up on the other side of it at the National Library - we then walked. And walked. And walked some more. Found a park with an elaborate entrance, but no zoo.
We showed a passer-by the map and pointed to the zoo, they directed us around the corner; we walked some more.
Eventually, after several offers of Rikshaw rides and some of the most pungent street foods ever created, we found the zoo!
Yay!
So for what was essentially £13 we got a ticket for the main zoo, the Panda enclosure and the aquarium.
Beijing Zoo is bloody enormous.
They had lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) and a giraffe and birds and eagles and reptiles, you name it, they had it.
They also had this little guy:
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I hand-fed him bamboo and when I noticed there wasn't any water for him, at all, I took out my bottle of water and covered the bamboo leaves with water, next thing I know there is a huge trunk snuffling it's way towards me, and in one curl of its muscular nose, the wet bamboo was swept straight out of my hand!
Then he starts sniffing around the bottle, so I pour some water into my hand, and there he goes again, sucking up the water through his nose with a force that can give a Dyson a run for it's money on suction power.
Well needless to say, that entire water bottle went to that little guy and then everyone around me started joining in - there were people with their hands thrust through the gate pouring water, tea, anything they had on them onto the floor and the leaves and apparently elephants like Starbucks.... but they don't very much enjoy eating the cups!

My good deed done for the day helping the animals, we ventured into the Aquarium.
Oh. My. Jeeves.
Best Aquarium ever. The zoo was ok, about from some of the animals were clearly distressed and were beating their heads against their enclosures which was really upsetting. But the aquarium. Wowzers.
We were greeted by the obvious choice for a Chinese Zoo:
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Koi fish!
We then walked across a little bridge over the Koi pond to find this beast!
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Holy Hell-Fish, Batman!

We continue on through the aquarium and find these exquisite Jellyfish, dancing through the water (safely behind a thick wall of glass!)
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Then we moved on to these:
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Back in the zoo, and this angry little fella LAUNCHED himself at me:
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Almost embarrassed myself in public - luckily, I'd used the toilet in the aquarium!
I say toilet....:
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Yep - that's the toilet, a hole in the floor with foot grips so you don't fall in your own wee!

Then we went to see the Pandas!
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When we couldn't walk around the zoo anymore, we got a taxi back to Mish's hostel so she could change her shoes that had begun eating into her feet :( then headed to the older part of town that has the best food and shops!
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After gorging on some amazing dumplings and undisclosed meat on a stick:
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we met these guys: IMG_2253.jpg then ended the evening ordering bottles of booze through Mr. Wong, a wholesaler who spoke brilliant English and discussed our futures here in China whilst his colleague whipped me up a hot tea with honey and lemon for my increasingly annoying cold and apparent cough now as well.
Walked Mish to her hostel then on my way back to the subway to head home I noticed a Chinese Medicine store and popped in to see if there was anything I recognised to help with fix my broken body.
The woman behind the counter had a book with symptoms written in Chinese and English - I pointed out cough and sore throat and she put some elixirs and potions on the counter:
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Best stuff I've ever bought, within an hour the cough syrup had sorted me right out!

I think that will do, don't you!?

  • Sleeps*

Posted by Lady Mantle 08:18 Archived in China Tagged trains chinese_food subways language_barrier questionable_meat beijing_zoo Comments (5)

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