I really do wish this photo was better. My trip to China coincided with the purchase of my first digital SLR and I had everything set to Auto and pretty much hoped the photos would turn out well.
We arrived in Chongqing, one of the largest cities in all of China after a blissful 3 day cruise up the Yangtze River in an old style riverboat. Since it was my birthday, my hubby treated us to a mini-suite, so we got to watch the most amazing scenery in the world while reclining on the bed with the ranch sliders wide open. It was just mile after mile of absolutely breathtaking mountains and cliff faces and fascinating glimpses into Chinese minority cultures no one knew were there until the 3 Gorges Dam was built.
At the end of that excursion, my hubby fell ill. Not a kidney stone or the flu or a bad cold, but scary, ‘something is really wrong’ ill. He protested that he did not need to go to hospital in Chongqing. He wanted to go to the zoo to see the pandas. Which we did, and he did, and then sat quietly until we were ready to go.
I wandered around my camera as usual, snapping at everything. The day was dull and grey, I only had one, very short lens, so no close ups of anything were possible and the pandas were so very far away. But they were cute. They did come out and sit and nibble away at their tender bamboo shoots. And they had a reasonable enclosure, lots of space and trees and mostly grass.
The rest of the zoo was a shocker though, like the 50s and 60s in the west, with animals in concrete cages with metal bars and nothing to do but pace or lay around looking despondent. It left me feeling very sad. I realise that zoos with naturalised habitants and space for animals to run and be as ‘normal’ as possible are the product of wealthy societies that have sorted the needs of their human population and so can indulge raising the standard of living for their captive animals. With over a billion people, China has a way to go in a number of areas, though after spending a month there, I have little doubt they will get there. But I was not unhappy to leave that zoo behind us.
On to Kunming – a jewel of city, just a few miles from the Laotian border – where we learned firsthand just how the Chinese medical system works… but that’s a story for another day… you can find it buried in the Travel section of this blog – or click here and be whisked directly there!