Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Taipei Zoo

The smaller the alley, the bigger Ethan looks. We are on they way to the metro for a trip to the Taipei Zoo.

Even Taiwan bears are surprised to see Evie's white face and blue eyes.

This is the real thing, not the ones in the earlier picture foraging on Oreo cookies. The black bear on the right was using that big barrel as a punching bag and the left one was content scratching his rump on a rock.

There was a network of caves built into the rocks that only monkeys Evie's size could fit into. She was crawling in and out of them and scaring the wits out of the Taiwanese kids with her whiteness.

Ethan thought he saw his brother hanging from a vine and eating bananas, but we told him that evolution is absolutely not possible, and that we were created by a dew drop and tinker fairies. He seemed to really understand this because it's so much more logical than believing that a monkey with ten fingers and toes walking on two legs could have anything to do with him.

When you see something this beautiful, and you are three years old, you just want to grab it's wings and pull them in different directions.

This is the exhibit when you stick your head in and you become the exhibit.

The zoo was located outside of the city, and the surroundings were rainforest lush.

Evie is pumping water for dad's handwashing. We told her she could have that experience any day in Valparaiso, but she claims there aren't 75 Taiwanese people in all of Nebraska to watch a little whitey pump a pump.

If you pump them full of enough grape juice, you can go all day without a nap.

Contrary to popular thought in US zoos, where the only good cage for an elephant is one that he can't turn around in, the space for the animals at the Taipei zoo was quite big. I am not sure if you could call these guys happy, but at least there wasn't a two foot deep trench dug out when they paced the fence trying to escape.

This is the actually container that they transferred the elephants to the zoo in. Seems like a nice homey place to spend six weeks on your way from the Congo.

It's a fruit we think, and if the Taiwanese get ahold of it, they will fry it and eat it.

This isn't the same kind of jungle fever you get in the US. Lush, lush, lush, and seemingly pretty natural.

It was a big zoo, so we had to resort to using the map.

Taiwan's humid climate means a lot of beautiful flowers.

The panda exhibit is a big deal because the pandas were "awarded" to the Taipei Zoo instead of one in China. There was a huge line to see them though, so we convinced Evie this was a petrified panda from the Ming Dynasty. "It's like a pickled duck feet Evie," we said. "It's much better when it's really old and hard."

They keep the camels a nose distance from the guests. If it weren't for that, we would have thought we were in Lincoln, minus the cool little train of course.

These are pure gold, hand molded by Tibetan monks relocated by the Chinese government to Taipei during the Chang Kai Shek era. There is absolutely no truth in that, but it sounds better than saying, "Here some concrete antelopes painted in crap gold paint."

Nice scenic area...enough to convince these animals that they weren't in a zoo we think.

The most beautiful human we saw all day.

This was what the kids enjoyed most about the zoo: A nice area to play and jump around. Evie was walking up and down the hippos and jumping from one to the other.

A moment of repose before she chomps down on some Chinese chicken nuggets.

Ethan's was such a happy boy all day, especially when he was able to run around and play a little.
The aforementioned nuggets en route to the digestive track. We have been explaining to Evie about eating and pooping. We tell her it's a process, not to be attempted at the same time.

Not part of the exhibit, rather some sea bird, lost from the dump, looking for a handout of French fries.

Okay, so it's not as bad as it looks. This is just a cone, no ice cream. What do you think we do, just load him up with grape juice and ice cream and hope he doesn't need a nap?

See! We let him catch a few winks.

Menacing creatures...

And cut little pandas...

And teenage girls with bubbles...

Okay, so maybe the kids had more fun with the bubbles than running around with the sinking hippos. This was a 1 hour session, where two girls blew bubbles for Ethan and Evie while the crowd gathered. They loved it, and I think we could have charged admission. There were way more people watching this than the penguins.

We tried to tell the girl in the back that her camera was not big enough, and that professional photographers and cameras were required for this "shoot". But as loud as Joel yelled, it could not mask the fact that she spoke absolutely no English. Sometimes just increasing the volume helps overcome language difficulties. Not this time sadly.

This went on...

And on...

And on...

But it was really fantastic. The kids loved it, and so did all of the people.

The girls who started the festivities.

Joel and his legion of fans. Later, we used diversionary tactics to avoid spending the rest of the day with them. Part of this included taking Evie to the men's restroom, and staring blankly over their heads.

It's not only us with the sweet drinks. This kid is getting ready to torque down a Pocari Sweat.

The scale is hard to describe. It's B I G.

These two were having a little romance, separated by some rocks. It's like sleeping on two army cots in the same room with a little bit of cold floor between you.

The zoo had it all going on. $2 entry for the adults, the kids were free, and the metro dropped you off at the entrance.

Okay...so it gets tiring being at the zoo.

Yes, they had an Ikea. (I wish you could have been there Laurie and Kevin)

But the cool store is PiiN. It's too expensive, but so much cool furniture.

Getting on the metro for another outting.

Evie was playing with Ethan.

When you have exhausted all other forms of massage...well, this was the moment we realized they will always think of new ways to give a massage. They are using knifes, and pounding the peoples skin as if they were chopping onions.

It takes a lot of neck stretching to say ji rou chou mian.

Better to just go for a striped corn dog.

The meat was sweet. We are not sure how they do that, but Evie doesn't seem to care.

More games and more cheap plastic toys to win.

This would never fly in the US. The cars were actually powered by electricity which was running through the track. You stepped over the track to load the children. Humn...

Ethan has a bird's eye view.

Taipei City Hall was lit up with projections of art work by leading Taiwanese artists. The art covered a variety of styles.

This isn't art. This is a shrine-mobile (front end is the truck, rear end is the shrine) with religious types doing some singing and shilling for funds.

We headed from the light festival to a night market. This was the temple just outside the market, plastered with Chinese lamps.

The night market was packed. There was no chance to stop or walk a different pace in the aisles...mass herd.

Carrie bought a Che Guevera belt from this vendor.

But all Evie needed was a sticker covered stool to ram her cow through.

Video - bubbles at the zoo

Video- Evie on the train

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