We saw many of the usual animals for a zoo; lions, tigers, elephants, hippos and many unusual animals like llamas, peacocks, vultures, various birds, yaks, goats, a lynx and a jaguar but I think the most fun was the sign that read ‘puppy’ and the animal pictured was a ‘bunny’. Unlike in English if you are referring to a baby animal in Chinese you simply say small and the animal type so there is no word for puppy or bunny or kitten either. And I took lots of pictures of animals and of the people that asked us to pose for pictures with them. On the whole the zoo here isn't a whole lot different from zoos in the states. The animal pens might be a little larger and some they may be better suited to the animals in them, but all in all it was a nice zoo and a very fun family day out, and we just had lots of Chinese people to keep us company.
A comment that Chuck made me stop and think; in the US hearing people talking in another language is a common thing and we usually don’t look up in surprise and I dare say that would be the case in larger cities in China or areas with a larger foreign teacher population (like the school 45 minutes south with 100 foreign teachers) but here where our school has under 20 foreign teachers and most of those don’t go out often and there don't seem to be many foreigners in general in this area it is kind of rare to hear something other than Chinese, so we got lots of stares on buses and in the zoo from people trying to figure out what we were saying. So many people don’t speak English that this has been part of my desire to learn to communicate in Mandarin. Today while we were resting a couple came up to us and started to ask questions in Chinese, some words were familiar and I was able to tell them that we are from America, that Nate is our son and that we three are a family. I could also tell them ‘hello’ that Chuck and I are teachers at Henan University of Technology and ‘goodbye’ as we got ready to get back on our way. We found that if we stood in one place for long we got large crowds around us (like when we meet the other group of foreigners a crowd started to form) and people would start to take our picture, we started to look at things that then hit the road. The picture thing Chuck and I find fun but Nate doesn't share our feelings on this.
After spending the day in the zoo and getting snacks there (found the closest that we are likely to get to a hot dog and it was served on a stick), we decided to go to 360 Mall and have lunch. We went to Papa John’s where Chuck and I order spaghetti and Nate got a pizza and as is the custom here, we sampled off one another’s plates. We also got dessert which is a switch as we are normally to full to eat dessert but today we really walked up and appetite at the zoo. They had New York Cheesecake that Nate and I couldn't resist, Chuck got Tiramisu Cake. Even though the meal was great, we are looking forward to getting back to eating more Chinese cuisine. The funny thing at Papa John’s was that we saw one of the two groups of other foreigners that we met at the zoo.