Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mini visitor to a mini ZOO

Note: As of 27 August 2010, another parent notified me that when they tried to visit the zoo, it was closed as Rui Er Zoo had received a letter from the government requesting for them to make a few changes before they can re-open. So please do call ahead (I'd tried calling but it was always either engaged or nobody answered...) if you are planning to go to avoid a sore disappointment!

(Written on 14 August)

On the last day of July, upon a friend’s recommendation, we headed for 瑞尔动物园, an hour’s drive away from Beijing. Rosabelle OD-ed on mineral water in the car, liking/preferring to drink from a more interesting-looking water bottle than her own, even wanting to pour into the cap and gingerly hold it to drink from (nightmare…).

As there wasn’t any restaurants in the vicinity, I came prepared with bread, cereal and fruits as lunch for our girl (and extra packets of milk for the adults). We reached there close to 12pm, and spent about 1.5 hours there, even though the place is really small. I guess the owners have their own agenda about keeping a variety of pets, but I can’t really figure out how they can survive as they don’t charge any admission charges. We can spent a whole day there for free if we didn’t have to pay to feed the animals or ride on them.

We first posed with fake animals and flowers (the murals on the world are deceiving – no whales, no giraffes, no penguins…).
And then our girl spotted something – see her partially raised eyebrow…
Ooh, two cats… and off she goes looking for the non-official exhibits (aka stray cats) in the zoo…
There were various animals in different enclosures/wired areas, so I had to be sure she did not accidentally poke herself onto some rusty wire as she watched the from afar. Horses, chickens, ostriches and even llamas (told you it’s weirdly varied…).
She liked the rabbits though, as we sneakily plucked grass to feed them from outside (rather than feed them rotten-looking carrots at RMB5 a cup inside the enclosure…). When she saw another kid wanting to feed the rabbits, she actually pushed her away, so naughty!
We walked further into the corn fields as well – guess if all the animals they rear feed on corn, they save a lot on food, haha!
I particularly liked the peacocks, as the males were preening and strutting their staff so much that I thought it was mating season (to attract the females). The wind was blowing so strongly that day (thank goodness it rained slightly on our way there and stopped when it reached, making it a nice, cloudy cool day) and I could see the males strongly resisting the wind with their outspread feathers. However, when we got too near the enclosures, one of the males came up close, looking rather menacing – I love what Mother Nature did with the mish-mesh of beautiful colours on this bird, don’t you?
We also occupied ourselves by having Wayne feed the sea lions (our girl can now recognize and say 'sealion, 海狮', and proceed to ‘owww, owww!’, shouting loudly like the sealions (they really sound like men shouting). They bit at each other as they fought for the miserly 5 fishes we paid RMB10 for, and I can imagine them fighting each other to death in the wild. Rosabelle didn’t like the conflict, and kept saying ‘不要,不要' when she witnessed them fighting.
The place also has many miniature horses, though they still dwarf her…
Wayne at first wasn’t keen on letting Rosabelle try the horse ride as she was too young (and he felt the horse-drawn carriage was too无聊, but I thought since we’re here, we might as well let her have the experience. So we asked if she wanted to sit on the carriage or the horse, and our brave (or clueless?) girl said she wanted the horse. As we’d seen an older boy (about 6 years old) cry when they put him on the horse, we asked that we try to place her on it and pay up only when she does not cry (RMB20 for about 3 minutes walking to and fro the main gate).

And hey presto! We had a rider on our hands!
Our brave girl did not even flinch, though I must admit she does look quite apprehensive. It helps that Daddy’s next to her though, with me milling sideways, in front, and behind snapping pictures.
At one point, she looked like she was slipping off as Wayne was pulling her too closely/tightly towards him, but not once did she cry/scream. I was basically beaming myself silly as I think of how proud our adventurous girl made me.
And so we ended our mini tour of the miniature zoo (ya, that’s all – I took photos of ALL the animals, and that really is ALL – oh wait, there was ONE goat in the barn that I did not take…). Our girl was hungry, clamouring ‘cereal, cereal’ as I was making her fish cereal for lunch in the car, then gorging on some cake I bought.
As she wasn’t sleepy, Wayne and I decided to do away with a bread/milk lunch and instead go to Ikea for lunch (as we figured it was way past lunch time and there would be lesser people at the foodcourt). It was still packed, but we could get seats, and I treated our girl to an ice-cream again, heh!

We shared a table with a mother and her two daughters (one 9, another 3), and she remarked that Rosabelle can speak/articulate even better than her three-year-old. The older girl ended up with some chocolate from her bread on her white pants, and I joked to her that people might think she pooed in her pants. Naughty Rosabelle, after coming down from her high chair (and pinching some of our spaghetti and mashed potato), went up to the girl, peered at her pants, and said ‘姐姐bang sai裤裤', and gave a fake hearty laugh, making the older girl so embarrassed! Till this day, she can remember this girl as she was making funny faces at her by putting her fingers at her mouth to make happy (pulling upwards) and sad (pulling downwards) faces – when I did something similar, she went ‘姐姐bang sai裤裤', hoot!

By the time we reached home and nursed her to sleep, it was close to 5pm and she woke up only at 7pm before we headed out to Raffles City for dinner at 小南国.
We made sure she ran around a fair bit after dinner to work off the well-rested sleep and late dinner, but after awhile, she looked worried/tense and wanted Nainai to carry. She refused to continue running/walking and wasn’t in her usual high spirits so I read the signs that she needed to poop (and wanted to reserve her energy to hold it all in…) and sure enough, she came home and delivered dung that would have made the horses blush!

No comments: