Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lions, and Tigers, and Bears, Oh my!

Yesterday was a shopping day on Shamian Island. It brought back so many sweet memories of Nina and Phoebe's adoptions as we shopped in familiar stores and ate at Luci's Restaurant once again. The island has changed a bit since the closing of the famous White Swan Hotel. The children's playground is now gone and there are fewer shops than years past but many of the lovely items we found before our still here. Daniel did not enjoy our shopping escapade and every shop felt like I had brought in a bull to a china shop! He blew on horns, begged us to purchase every cheap plastic toy he saw and of course wanted candies. Sometimes I felt like he had several more arms than the two he has! Poor kid.

Hopefully we made up for it today. Our consulate appointment is not until Wednesday and we don't fly out until Friday night so we have lots of free time. Today we visited Chimelong Safari Park. Without a doubt this was the best zoo experience I have ever had. Other than the million degree temperatures and humidity, we enjoyed everything about this zoo. First, the little train takes you around part of the park. You are up close and personal with no cages for the animals. They must keep all the animals well fed and or drugged because they all paid absolutely no attention to any of us.

Once we were done with the safari ride the remainder of the zoo has lots of wonderful exhibits that allow us to view the animals easily. We saw a cute elephant show. Nothing spectacular but Daniel wanted to see it so we went. The panda center had several pandas including a baby under one year. It was the coolest spot in the park, literally. Not only is the AC on full blast in the center but those lucky pandas must need a cool environment as there were sheets of ice that some were sleeping on like a mattress. I envied them.

We got to do several things that I doubt we would ever be able to do in the states. All three of us fed a baby tiger a bottle. It was too cute! I think I could have gone home happy after that. We also got to feed the giraffes and the monkeys. It was amazing to feel the strength of the giraffe as it pulled the leaves of the bough we held. The monkeys were adorable. They would actually jump in their water and stand right below you to get fed. Some of them would catch it in their mouths before it hit the ground or water. You could definitely see a pecking order. The big ones would holler at the smaller ones and scare them off. We made a special effort to throw some food for the small guys too.

I cannot imagine ever having a better experience at a zoo. Well maybe if the temps had been 30 degrees cooler.

Please pray for us and Daniel. We are having some trying behaviors. Nothing horrible or unexpected but nevertheless not easy. I have to keep reminding myself that this child does not know what family is and has lived his first seven plus years without the love and guidance of his family. We have lots of work to do but know that God's grace is sufficient, for us and Daniel.

Yes, about 20 feet away and nothing - no fence, no pit, no water - between us!  The lions, tigers, cheetahs, and bears were a bit further - more like 50-100 feet away (and without any barriers)...


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