Today is my 4th Sunday in Beijing and I went to the Beijing Zoo. I went with my country mate and some of her friends from her university which is literally beside my university.
It was really tempting to stay in bed, especially when I looked out the window and saw the cloud of smog everywhere. It looks a lot like fog, so it’s really tempting to think that it is just water vapour and taking a nice deep breath will clear your lungs, but I know better. Anyhow, I dragged myself out of bed and went to the zoo.
I’ve heard that the Beijing Zoo is the 2nd largest zoo in the world. I’m not sure how accurate that is, but it sure felt like it. We walked and walked…and walked, then we turned back and walked to a section of the zoo that we had missed.
It was good exercise, and at this age, I suppose I appreciate animals a little bit more. The giraffes and elephants especially were the most amazing to me but now, I am absolutely convinced that keeping animals (especially the bigger animals) in small spaces is cruel.
I think a zoo is a good thing, but the animals shouldn’t look like they’re in a zoo (thumbs-up for animal conservations). The snub-nosed monkeys seemed to be the happiest of all the animals I saw, and the baby monkey was just so cute. Oh the baby Kangaroos were also super cute and speaking of cute, the dogs in Beijing are on a whole different level of cute, but that’s for another time.
So we saw some bears, tigers, elephants, birds, kangaroos, pandas and some other animals from all over the world. To everyone else, our little group of International students was also a part of the attraction. It was a constant stream of stares, some pointing and picture-taking. 2 men took pictures and were laughing and then there was this one Chinese girl who just happened to be standing near us while she was taking a picture. We weren’t the only additional attraction, as another tourist who was taking pictures of his two daughters got stared at and had people taking pictures with them too.
This kind of curiosity was hard for me to understand, but then, on my way home I looked at the sky and stared with disbelief at the moon. The moon was big and red, and it was just evening time (I meant to take a picture but I forgot). I had never seen the moon look like that before. It literally looked like a big red balloon hanging in the sky. I suppose if the moon were a person it would think me rude for staring like that.
As I said in a previous post, I think this kind of attention is mostly curiosity. More often than not if I am stared at and I wave or say hello, the response is usually a happy one. Maybe if I get stared at, the next foreigner won’t have much of a problem and then in that case I don’t mind.