Sunday, September 18, 2011

It's a Dinosaur!

It's been many years since I've visited the local zoo in Melbourne and I haven't gone to the Werribee open range zoo either, so whether this ranks high or low in the zoo rankings I cannot say, but last week I ventured out to the Shanghai Wildlife Zoo.

The Monday being a public holiday (thankfully occurrences of public holidays here is not desolate in the second half like back home, with a 5 day weekend approaching!) I travelled by train and bus (thankfully with a local) out to a 153 hectare zoo wandering around for about 5 hours. In such a large area, we were able to walk around freely, even with the multitude of people milling around. The usual suspects in terms of animals were present, most in large enclosures and even some were permissible to feed. Thank goodness for the SLR, as I was able to get some good snaps of a giraffe with a tongue Gene Simmons would be envious of. Finally, lugging around the camera paid some dividends!

Impressive reach

You can't visit a Chinese zoo without seeing panda, and I was thankful to get a glimpse of 3. Thinking that there was to be a line 10-15 deep reminiscent of the subway, I was pleasantly surprised to be able to navigate my way around and get a few snaps. Yes, they were about as active as one of those people you see on "Amazing Medical Stories" who are 200kgs, but they're just so damn cute you feel like going up and patting them.

This was as active as the lovable panda got!

With around 2 hours to go before closing, we noticed on the map that there was an area only accessible by vehicle. Seeing some large passenger buses we thought that they were ferrying locals to the zoo from other places, however upon closer inspection, there were 2 bus lines to visit another area of the zoo: Regular passenger buses, and another which carried around 40 people, which one of the staff mentioned: "Is much better than the other ones". Not knowing what to expect, we paid, lined up and waited. Important: This bus was a cage with wheels with outward facing seats and no windows. A much better choice! However, for those thinking of going, the left side of the bus has a much better view! Without much knowledge of what we'd be seeing, the bus took off.

Not unlike a scene from Jurassic Park, a manned gate opened where the vehicle drives into a holding area. Once inside, the gate behind closes, and the one in front opens, complete with signs about electrified fences and warnings for broken down vehicles. (I could hear Jeff Goldblum's delivering a on-liner) Inside, zebras, buffalo, and gazelles roamed freely, while other areas (through separate gates) housed bears, tigers, lions and cheetahs. Unfortunately with the bars being so close together, getting a clean photo was difficult, however seeing a tiger up close and personal was a great experience. The vehicle is allocated one 'free' chicken, which is dropped from a chute and gobbled up in a flash. 60 yuan would allow for another chicken, and a tiger was teased before the chicken was granted an extended 10-15 minutes before the next bus circuit.

Happy to see this rare animal

When are they going to drop one of those pesky humuns through the chute?

Finally, we ventured to a seal show which was enjoyable albeit short, however it was included in the cost of the ticket, so I can't complain. What was noticeable however was the extreme amount of excrement offloaded during the performance which perhaps could be put down to nerves from the performers. In any case it was a good show despite the fact that the water looked like it hadn't been changed in a few years.

Let's hope the tap water is better quality

Impressive vertical leap

To finish off the night, some dumplings and tsingtao (Chinese beer) replenished the energy reserves. I've got to say some of the places in Melbourne have some pretty good dumplings when compared to the ones here... I'm impressed.

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At Monday, September 19, 2011 5:06:00 pm, Blogger Zz... said...

lol i did the whole sucker to see a panda thing in adelaide zoo was pretty sad to see them from behind a big piece of glass but at least it was not 15 people deep!

At Wednesday, November 16, 2011 4:55:00 pm, Blogger yossarian said...

i think after the koala, i'd like to alternatively come back as a panda - munching on bamboo and having people fawn over you all day is not too bad a deal.


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