Trip Start Dec 13, 2009
Trip End Jan 22, 2010

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Flag of China  , Beijing,
Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Today was quite a good day. I was again the first in the class.  It can be so unpredictable, as I take a taxi at the same time each day, but each day I can arrive at completely different times.  Today I arrived at about 7:45, 15 mins before class was due to start.  The class ran smoothly, nothing unusual occurred, and my vocabulary increased as it does every lesson.
After class, dad, nanna and Hayley picked me up from school.  Hot chocolate in hand, we went to the Beijing zoo.
I have never been to the zoo, but as we have been told that it is quite good, we finally made some time to see it. 
It was freezing to walk through the zoo, it can be quite unpleasant to walk around when the temperature is sub-zero and the wind is biting your ears, but we still had a good day.  We went into the Olympic panda house which provided both a warm haven to stay in and good entertainment from one especially entertaining panda.  Although pandas are usually lone creatures, there were about five in one large cage, and they didn't seem bothered by each other's company.
We next saw the big cats.  This provided mixed emotions, because they were all kept in cages of about 3x5metres long each.  At Melbourne Zoo, they have huge enclosures that are structured like their natural environment.  At this zoo, it was very easy to see them, which is different from Melbourne.  We walked in on feeding time, which only fuelled more my fear of the big cats.  Hearing the jaguars and lions crush the bones in their teeth, making a sickening noise, freaked me out a lot.  I had never been so close to these animals before- if I stretched and was braver, I probably could have touched them. 
We noticed on the map that they had an Australian animals section, so we decided to see our 'brothers', and how they were coping with this weather.  The enclosure was closed, probably because the animals had frozen, and would thaw out for summer.  That's just my guess, though.
We went to see the Australian-style cafe next door to the enclosure, which included many 'traditional' 'Aussie' treats such as New York-style steak, fried rice in black bean sauce and Hong-Kong-styled cocktails.  The building even looked more Austrian ski village type than an Aussie one.
We moved onto the aquarium that is on site.  It only cost 15rmb each to get into the zoo, but it cost 110rmb to get into the aquarium.  You can imagine from the difference in the price that the aquarium was pretty spectacular.  It really did put Melbourne Aquarium to shame.  Every large section was themed, and there was even a huge mural painted on the front of the aquarium so that it looked like sea animals were swimming around the lost city of Atlantis. 
The rainforest section has the largest fish that I have ever seen, and they were all bright coloured.  The section really did look like a rainforest, with the plants and rocks placed accordingly.  The next section had what looked like a large school of fish hanging from the roof.  It had a pirate theme, and was again fantastically decorated.  We wandered through the main section that had floor to ceiling glass windows that were as big as two storeys.  As you took the escalator up to that second floor, you were surrounded by sting rays, sharks and fish swimming above and next to you.  It was great to look at.
We made it in time for the sea lion and dolphin show.  In an indoor arena that can seat 3000 people, we watched the sea lions first display some of their tricks.  The arena was not nearly as full as it could have been, and we could only imagine the energy that there would be in that room if it was its full capacity.  They played music throughout, mostly techno, but they did play Amazing Grace once, which was a surprising change of pace.
The best part of the show was the dolphins. There were about five that jumped nearly to the ceiling in sync.  We all loved it.
After we had finished with the aquarium, we took taxis back to the hotel, where we relaxed until dinner.  We could not be bothered going out again, so we had dinner in the hotel buffet.  The theme for the buffet was 'pizza mania', but it only had three small pizzas.  The pizzas were nice, but as there wasn't much, we moved to desserts quickly. 
I went back to Rebecca's house after dinner, where I ate fruit and chatted with everyone.
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katemel on

I think I might have broken into the Aussie section of the zoo and stayed with them undil summer!!!! Way too cold for me.

kovacsfamily on

Amy, Glad to hear you are having a fun time as well as benefiting alot from Chinese class at uni, speaking loads of chinese and learning caligraphy. I'm sure this will place you at a great advantage along with all the hours you are putting in for you study for the VCE (? is that what they call it in Vic, ours is called HSC) Continue enjoying the classes...take care and stay as warm as possible Happy New Year to you all. Jodi

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