China, Travel

New Year’s in Guanzhou

King Julian!

New Year’s was funny. Funny because for some reason we were given a four-day holiday when most Chinese don’t consider it much of a holiday. But we were given four days. Which meant it was the third longest holiday for us after Spring Festival and National Week. Longer than Mid-Autumn or Qing Ming or Dragonboat Festivals. Anyway. This logic did not work on my students. They still told me that it wasn’t “their” holiday and reported that they did nothing of interest for those four days.

Well, I wasn’t going to waste the third longest holiday even if they were! Another foreign teacher and I decided to trek to Guangzhou specifically to see the Chimelong Safari Park. This particular FT is animal crazy and had wanted to see this park for awhile. (She’d also carefully researched it to make sure no horrors would await us there. It got the A-OK.)

Though getting there was a bit problematic we did arrive in GZ and made our way to our hotel in Tianhe District. A bit pricey, but since we were only staying one night it didn’t seem so bad. We delighted in our room and then went looking for dinner. We parked ourselves at a Japanese noodle house, where we slurped long noodles and washed it down with cold beer. Excellent times. Excellent.

In the morning we enjoyed the breakfast buffet and I was surprised to find someone from Cupertino sitting at the next table. Sheesh. Small world.

The safari park was excellent. Really surpassed any expectations I might have had. It was truly lions and tigers and bears—oh my! Heaps of hippos. Mobs of monkeys. Gads of giraffes. And the tigers! I still remember seeing the white tiger in San Francisco Zoo when I was little. This park breeds white tigers; they claim to have 200 of them. We saw adult tigers, adolescent tigers, and even nursing cubs! It was quite phenomenal. And then you take a train through the other half of the park where the animals are not enclosed and may approach the train. The only problem was camera battery life. I made it through the tigers, but my battery died immediately after.

Did I mention they have pandas? Yes, about a dozen of them. Squealing. Lots of squealing.

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