I haven’t written a lot about my trip to China, but one of the things that was really serendipitous is that our hotel was just two blocks away from the Beijing Zoo. I’d wanted to see panda bears for a long time, and I knew they had some, so Paul and I took a walk down the street on our last day and went to the zoo. I have to say, I was somewhat disappointed. I don’t know of a more delicate way to say it, so I’ll just blurt it out: they just looked a little dirty. I don’t know if the bad air quality in Beijing makes them sort of gray, or if I had the wrong idea from cutesy bears or photos or cartoons. Anyway, they just looked kind of sad (and in one notable case, drunk).
As I was walking around the enclosure I found a great sign. It said in English, “Please do not cross rails lest suddenness happen.” Heaven forbid that suddenness happen—that’s the worst!
I didn’t stay long at the zoo—probably just 45 minutes—since we were trying to get packed and to the airport that afternoon. But I go to zoos to look at people, mainly. It’s a good place to see families interacting. And sometimes you get to see some suddenness.