Written on May 10th, 2015
We've been at the Shangyuan Hotel for a day now. Howard, who was so kind meeting us at the airport yesterday afternoon with his car, had a terrible job bringing us here: because of the heavy traffic the ride took a good two hours, and at the end of it, although we identified recognisable nearby landmarks, we couldn't find a way to reach the hotel entrance without having to make U-turns and stops to study the GPS map on Howard's cellphone. Meanwhile, pedestrians, cyclists, rickshaws, garbage vans, buses and other traffic careered chaotically around us. We knew we'd arrived in Beijing, all right.
|Our hotel, seen from its entrance the Gaoiliangqian Xiejie (road)|
|Our local street, Gaoliangqiao Xiejie (seen on a fine day)|
|North entrance to the zoo (photo taken May 16th)|
It made sense to visit the indoor attractions on a day like this and we spent a long time in the modern aquarium, as did a great many other people, none of whom were occidental. More and more arrived as we were there, mostly with young children. I enjoyed watching them as much as the sea creatures, although it got very noisy. Background music played and kitschy shops sold plastic glow-in-the dark toys. We saw dolphins, sharks of all sizes, stingrays, turtles and whales as well as the exotic fish. A pair of beluga whales did vertical gyrations around one another, wonderful to watch. In one of the tanks a diver was swimming too, moving the sand around an inner tank for the smaller sharks. We also walked along the wet paths to other animal enclosures, some much less acceptable than others. Presumably they're modernising the zoo by gradual degrees. They had brought the elephants indoors because of the weather, but it bothered me to see those large animals confined in such small cages. The partly roofed “monkey mountain” wasn't so bad. The outdoor animals were sheltering from the downpour; we saw a tiger (hu) asleep under an overhanging rock and the back legs of a lion (shi). No sign of the Australian animals. They didn't want to be out in any rain. Parts of the zoo are lakes and a river runs through it too, with long-boat rides available. In one section is a covered, painted walkway like the one we saw at the Summer Palace on Day One of our previous trip to Beijing. At “Swan Lake” we found a nice, quiet restaurant that served us “slippery mushrooms with chicken”-- a nice stir-fry that came with a bowl of seaweed soup.
|Zookeeper in the shark tank, Beijing Aquarium|
|A pretty corner of Beijing Zoo, in the rain|
|On the Jiao Tong Da Xue campus, photo taken May 15th|