Our first Saturday there wasn’t even an entire free day, so my friend decided to be super organised and we went to the zoo and aquarium for 9am, when it opened. It was pricey for what we expected but that’s because of the aquarium which was about £12 by itself, the combined ticket we bought was about £13 (zoo, aquarium and panda sanctuary) which was cheaper than the UK but we felt slightly ripped off.
We headed straight for the pandas (when in China…) and I was a little disappointed, yes, I saw pandas closer than before (although a friend of mine got behind the scenes…) but they looked really sad. One kept pacing around because he/she was unhappy which made us sad too so we went around fairly quickly.
This is probably the happiest picture of them I can find, there was even one outside! With the snow and everything! The red pandas were very cute though.
So after that we went around the zoo quickly too, having spent nearly half an hour there and only have two hours left.
This is the golden monkey, and literally the second before it jumped at us! It hit the window and then ran away! Scared the daylights out of all of us, but none of us got it on camera! I don’t get why it did that though? It seemed to be a regular thing too as the glass had lots of marks on it…
We then went to the ‘cat house’ – tigers and lions but it’s not like zoos in the UK at all, they don’t really have anywhere to walk and it’s not their natural habitat at all, even in the outdoor ones.
Hoping for something slightly less depressing we headed to the aquarium as we had paid for that, and were going to get the most out of it. It is supposed to be the largest indoor aquarium in the world…which is strange because it doesn’t really feel like it. There was a beluga show on though which was really cool, my friend spent about half an hour watching them whilst I went around to the other parts. There was a lack of whales though, which disappointed one of my friends but they had dolphins and the usual fish, albeit some slightly uglier ones than I’m used to.
After having spent at least an hour in the aquarium we went around as much of the zoo as possible in the half an hour we had left, which included some crazy pictures (of us climbing/sitting on random statues…the security guards just looked at us and moved on! What’s the point of the sign if you’re not even going to tell us off?) and realising just how much of the zoo was missing because it was winter. I might go back in the summer sometime to see if it’s better and more lively.
After the zoo we had a homevisit, the University organised for small groups of us to visit a Chinese host family and I was very fortunate to get an incredibly nice family.
I mean, look at dinner! We made dumplings too (which was also hilarious, with the little girl pointing out how much of a fail we all are…) but they were still being cooked at this point. We played lots of games, talked alot about the cultural differences and what we had done on our stay so far. They even gave us a small gift to take home, and took us around Beijing before dropping us back at the University, meaning we saw the Olympic stadiums at night – the lights make them look pretty cool, despite the fact it was windy and cold, we were crazy and went to take pictures anyway.
This feels like a long post…but I did so much in that one day, and this is just a quick summary of it but I’m genuinely so happy I got to go on Study China as it was the best three weeks ever!