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Beijing Zoo

Pandering to the crowds...

overcast 26 °C

Today I headed up to Beijing Zoo. It was a bit drizzly but I wanted to see some pandas and I had a few hours to kill. The zoo itself was alright. At the first monkey cage, there were some Snub Monkeys - really weird looking things. Their faces looked a bit like Skeletor from He-Man. Anywho, I was stood there in a sea of Chinese tourists, peering in at this one particular Snubster. Then, weirdly, the Snub Monkey seems to spot me and stare back at me. He raised himself up on his legs and stuck his head out even further at me. It probably seems weird that I would think he was looking especially at me I know. But he definitely had an interest in me or someone around me! He seemed mighty angry, and got up off his seat, made a scary face and basically launched himself at the glass window in front of my face. Yikes! Jaysus - my heart! The lads around me were laughing their arses off. :D The Snubster must have noticed me as a whitey I reckon. Racist. ;)


Anywho I recovered and mosied on to see the pandas, who were awesome and very cute. They looked very human-like. Actually I was convinced they were just some guys dressed up in really good Panda outfits. I doubt the Chinese would do that now.... ;)


After that I saw the most depressed Chinchilla in the world. God he looked miserable - I swear he was actually crying. I felt so sorry for him. He was just clinging to the one tree in his little room and his eyes looked teary. I wanted to give him a hug and set him free. :(


This left me quite depressed so I decided to go and see the brown bears. There were 2 of them. One was marching up and down in the pen below us and the other was passed out on a rock.
Just then, the marching panda sits down beneath this group of Chinese tourists, starts clapping his hands and opening his mouth. This Chinese lady above him then starts pouring Coca Cola down into his gob. Oh Lord. The bear loved it though and kept clapping his hands and begging for more. Of course the lady happily obliged. It was amusing the crowd no end, but I thought it was a bit depressing. I don't know how these tourists don't know that you're not supposed to feed the animals. I reckoned that bear was going to be barfing his head off later on. Especially when after his bottle of Coke was finished, another Chinese dude fed him a big bottle of yoghurty drink. SIGH.


So I plodded off, beginning to think that maybe I shouldn't have come to the zoo. But wait! It was 2pm!! Time for my FREE BOAT RIDE!. (It wasn't free - it was 25 feckin yen). I hoped this ''Sightseeing Boat Ride'' would brighten up my day. :D I love boats! So I queued up with a thousand Chinese people and waited patiently. Some woman in front of me just threw her rubbish on the ground in front of me. WHY PEOPLE?? WHY??
So into the boat and off we go. I thought we were going to go for a jaunty ride around the zoo. On comes the little lady with the microphone speaking Chinese loudly. Obv I can't understand a word so decided to look out the window at the awesome views. But wait! THere are no views, the only thing we can see is a bank of grass on either side. Ah jaysus. I had to stifle my laughter - a sightseeing boat with no sights. hahahaha. nice.

Anyway after an hour and a half on this boat, I begin to think that we're probably not still in the zoo. The motorway alongside us kind of gave it away as well. Good thing I went to see the Pandas first! So yer wan (microphone gal) starts collecting money for something off everyone on the boat. I didn't know what it was for, so just kept peering out the window searching for sights. Then I realised it was 3.30 pm and Michelle would have landed in Beijing and was probably on her way to our hostel. Hmmmmm I thought - better get back.
But the boat docked and we were all herded off and channeled into a queue for something else in front of this fancy bridge. I recognised that bridge. Ah feck, we were at the south entrance of the Summer Palace (one of the sights I wasn't to see til Michelle arrived) and 12k or so outside of town. Boobs.

I asked some Chinese lads the way to the nearest subway, but their reply was ''Sorry I am a tourist.''. hahahaha - excellent mate. :D
I busted out my Beijing on a Budget app, (which has turned out to be my saving grace in Beijing as the GPS bit works when you're offline) and wandered my way back to the subway and back to the hostel. Only took me an hour and a half! :D I expected Michelle to be in our room. I heard music in the room too so was convinced she was there and started knocking on our door. Then noticed that the music was actually coming from my own earphones which were dangling around my neck. Classic Kenny.
Anywho Michelle arrived a bit later and we had a great catch up and a beer. She'd nearly missed her flight so needed a beer and a bit of a rant! It was so great to see her and I was supremely excited about the weeks events ahead.

Posted by squeakylee 22:18 Archived in China Tagged pandas boat zoo beijing Comments (0)

The Cruise

I'm on a boat... I'm on a mothaf*(kin boat

sunny 33 °C

So during the night we bobbed along and arrived at White King City. After a magnificent buffet breakfast we hopped on a bus - 4 westerners in a sea of Chinese tourists and off we went to White King City. Our bus once again had a small tour leader that shouted Chinese into a bad microphone alllll the way to WKC and everywhere we went basically. (I might have mentioned this before. ;) ) It was hilarious. And deafening. When we got off the bus, there was not only 1 of these little leaders but loads of them - everywhere - shouting away with their little flags and groups of Chinese tourists - all with their matching hats on. It was pretty funny actually. Hard to get a bit of peace and quiet to enjoy the sights and scenery though.

The White King City itself was alright. I think the 4 of us would have preferred a lie in though. :D We moved on anywho and had a look around. We had a nice view of a gorge, climbed some steps, saw some angry looking Chinese Chief/Warrior statues, then went back to the big boat.


Our main cruiser rocked off through the beautiful gorges before a big lunch......

....and disembarkment back to a smaller boat to do the 3 Lesser Gorges. This boat trip was SUBLIME. The scenery was spectacular.
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The boat itself wasn't that great, and they charged you if you wanted to sit down on a seat on the deck. As a matter of principle (or stubborness), no one sat on the deck! Everyone ended up standing around on the deck for hours but it was beautiful.


Great big chunks of rock towered above us on either side as we sailed down the beautiful pea-greeny river. After a few hours, we changed boats to a smaller wooden boat with a retractable roof and a singing Captain, whose voice echoed through the gorges. It was Mighty Fine!


The lads had retired to their rooms and Mich had gotten sunburnt so had gone to smother herself in moisturiser. Later there seemed to be some racket coming from the ''ballroom''. Evan knocked on our room door to inform us he would be singing The Backstreet Boys in Karaoke in 10 minutes. I showered and went to witness the warbling madness, that was but a stones throw away from our room. Michelle was snoozing and I didn't want to wake her up. I toddled along to the scene of many crimes and found Neil just about to go 'onstage' to sing Santana. He was very good, and Evan followed soon after to rapturous applause from the western Laydeeze, and the Chinese lads who were drinking and singing to beat the band.

The lads then did a duet and every second song was another warbled Chinese ballad from the drunken Chinese lads. I got up and sang what I thought was going to be ''Stand by Me''. Turned out to be a magnificent Chinese pop version of Stand by me, with a video of this girl getting her make up and hair done throughout. :D I had to do a lot of adlibbing and a bit of 'clap your hands everybody' style shit to fill in the gaps with no words. The two lads came over and stood by me for a bit of the song which was hilarious. We were drinking some mad fishy smelling alcohol that Evan had purchased, which we mixed with Sprite to give it quite the delicate flavour! ;) Finally Michelle rose from the dead and the 4 of us moved to the top deck where we all drank more shite and sang and joked. The lads even did a bit of beatboxing. Well I never.

Day 3 consisted of getting up at 6 am and going to see some dam project that no one had any interest in.
We did get an English guide for this one - i.e Mandy & our driver Mr. Chan. So at least we got a few facts for this bus trip. Think this was cos there were two G Adventure tour groups on our bus so maybe they had paid for an English guide and we just got ''lucky''??
The dam was impressive as far as man made schemes go but after seeing such natural beauty at the gorges, it seemed a bit meh. We bid adieu to Mandy & Mr Chan and the 4 of us bundled into cabs to get to Yichang train station. We were aiming to get the 1.30 train to ZhangJiaJie - aka AVATAR LAND - a magical place full of supremely tall sandstone and quartz stacks. Supposedly Pandora in the movie Avatar was based on this place, although James Cameron denies it was and maintains it was somewhere else in Hubei. But who cares! Let's name it Avatar Land anyways :D Tough nuggies Mr. Cameron. There's even been talk of naming one of the stacks Halleluyah Mountain.

Anywho at the train station, the queues were milllles long and there was no way we would get the train on time. So Michelle decided to play the dumb foreigner and went up to the wrong desk to ask for 4 tickets and it worked. HUZZAH. We headed off to ZhangJiaJie full of excitement!

Posted by squeakylee 01:15 Archived in China Tagged boat city cruise king white karaoke microphone Comments (0)

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