Wednesday, May 3, 2017


Our day was free on Saturday so we went to the Chimelong Safari Park. We spent our morning having a late breakfast since it was a weekend and breakfast was served later than usual. They also had a banana smoothie at breakfast that Vivien loved. At this point I had pretty much tried everything to get her to actually drink water and she never really wanted it. She didn't want juice either so I was happy she was drinking the smoothie. Plus I bet it was full of calories and we were always happy to give her plenty of those.

After breakfast we just hung out in the room. Stella was playing with Vivi in the curtains of the hotel and she got the second big fit of giggles out of her since we had met. It was so sweet to watch them play together. Stella really thinks Vivi is the cutest thing she has ever seen.

I opted for us to head to the animal park after Vivi had had a nap. I much preferred relaxed mornings and then activities later in the day so if I had a choice that is what I always picked. We had a driver, but we were basically on our own this day. We'd been on our own before of course, but I did feel a bit lost at the park at times. Not in a bad way, but I did. I'm glad we went in the afternoon, because thousands of school-aged children were all on their way out of the park as we were coming in. I'm not a huge zoo person, but this is a pretty spectacular zoo-like place, and I do wish we had had more time to see it all. However, we did get in some highlights. 

The first thing we did was go on the Safari Train. It was pretty amazing and I still can't be sure how they keep all those animals apart and safe from each other and the people visiting. All of the animals were super close and active. It was pretty great. Vivi seemed sort of into it, but she was more concerned with snacks. We had a lady sitting behind us that had started chatting with us in line. (She is the one mentioned in our day two post.) Her English was amazing and she was trying to get her daughter to speak English to Stella the whole train ride. When she first saw Vivi she said "she looks Chinese" and I told her that was because she was Chinese, and that we had adopted her. When she learned that we had adopted her without ever meeting her she was shocked. She couldn't believe we had done something like that and she told me that she was a lucky girl. I told her that we were lucky, because we are.

Kiddos coming up and saying hello to us in English was a theme of the day from the moment we walked in. Instead of people asking Stella for pictures we would have kids all over come right up to us and say hello and introduce themselves very politely and then they would put out their hands. I cannot emphasize enough how much I LOVED this. I would then introduce ourselves. Some of them looked at us strange when I introduced Vivien as my daughter, but I don't think they knew enough English to ask why one of my daughters was Chinese. Anyway I adored their friendliness and their bravery in coming up to a stranger to talk to them in a language they didn't know very well. How cool is that? For me, that was my favorite part of being at Chimelong Safari Park. I attributed the English-speaking kids to how expensive this place was to visit ($40 per person). So it really was only kids from wealthy families at the park, the kinds of families that make it a priority for their kids to learn and practice English.

It was HOT and humid this day. In fact it was the hottest day of our trip. Thankfully they had lots of trees because I had stopped bringing my sunglasses anywhere, and I kind of needed them. (I noticed though that most Chinese people do not wear sunglasses. In fact the only sunglasses I had seen up until that point had been on another American.) I'm more than confident that we were actually there on a day that probably was cool for Guangzhou, but the humidity still sucked the energy out of us fast. Stella was really wanting a slushee type treat, and it looked like they had some. I bought one for her and she didn't like the flavor, plus it wasn't icy at all. So then I bought her the other flavor and it was almost warm. These were not China cheap so I was annoyed when she didn't like the second one either. Then I tried it and woah! Yuck! Skip those the next time you go. They were so gross. That day I was wondering how these people live here without drinking that much water. I got used to warm water in Europe, but it was hard to even find any water at all in this park. They must just get all the water they need from the air.

I had never seen a koala before, so I was excited to see some. They had a great exhibit, but we were trying to get to the famous panda area and so we didn't stay long with the koalas. We did all find it hilarious though that there were signs everywhere asking for quiet since koalas need quiet, but right next to them they had the loudest birds alive on display.
Vivi in this picture kills me! Posing it up just like I wanted!

So we finally made it to the pandas. Did you know every panda in the world belongs to China? And did you know the Chimelong Safari parks houses the only panda triplets that were born in captivity? It is pretty cool if you think about it. This place has the most pandas of any zoo and we kept going from area to area discovering more pandas.

After that we came out and they had little kiddie rides. Stella and I rode one of them and it was awesome. No pictures of this though. It was a little spin ride and it was fun to check off that we had gone on a ride in China.

I was pretty sure the park was closing soon at this point because there were not very many people around. We were pretty lost. We had finally procured a map from a trash can, but it was really no help. Suddenly we found ourselves with the monkeys. And they were awesome. They have the monkeys just hanging on ropes above walkways so you can walk right under them. It is pretty great. Plus there were these mini-monkeys that you could buy some food and feed them. Some would jump for the food and others would wait for the food to float to them. I'm glad we did that. Stella loved feeding the monkeys.

At this point we were pretty tired. We didn't have a stroller for Vivi and it was still pretty hot. I did want to go and feed the giraffes, and we had just enough time to do that, but when we realized how far we would have to walk and then how far we would have to walk back towards the exit we decided we didn't have it in us. Actually Brent was ready to go for more animal fun, but Stella was really ready to leave. I wish we had done it now, but humidity plays a mean trick on you and it is hard to push forward. So basically we were lame and we headed toward the exit and the gift shop.

I ran to the bathroom really quick and Vivi cried when I left her. It was the first time that she had done that and I was happy to see that she was getting attached to me. Daddy calmed her down though and all was well. Our driver had just sat and waited for us while we were in the park so he found us at the exit and took us back to our hotel.

That night I had to go and change more money and then we just had pasta again. This time with a sauce that wasn't horrifying. When it was bed time Stella kept coming in the room and making Vivi giggle like crazy. She loved it when Stella would leave and then come back and yell in her face. Finally the fun had to end, because Stella was exhausted. I was never surprised, but always proud at how good a traveler she was being. Her whole world was new and she handled it so well. But at night she had usually reached her limit and I would say to her: "We survived another day, baby. Almost home."

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