Thursday, February 8, 2018

Thursday, February 8th: Guangzhou Safari Park

Only one more day until Lottie’s visa is ready! We waited until our last free day to do the best outing in Guangzhou, because today was supposed to be the warmest weather we’ve had. It was sunny and 67 today! I finally got to dress the girls in their matching t-shirts that say “I love my family forever”.
We tried not to waste time getting ready this morning, because from what we had been told, The Safari Park was huge and there was no way we could see it all in one day. We got off after 9:00 and headed to the Metro which let out right next to our hotel. To ride it only costs $1.80 for our whole family one way to the park versus over $30 one way for a taxi. It was supposed to take less time (under 45 minutes versus one hour drive) too! We were up for the adventure because we had done subways in other cities and countries before. How hard could it be to navigate? Our guide gave Kris directions too.
First we had to buy tokens. The machine was all in Chinese so Kris guessed and stared punching buttons. After some frustrating minutes we realized there was an English option. Then it got easy to choose the fare to the stop we were told to go to. I needed to use the restroom before we boarded. Kris said he’d wait, no problem. But the station didn’t have one. I said I’d hold it.
We went 13 stops and had fun getting squished and counting with Anna Faith in Chinese to get to our stop. We got out, exited the station ( not easy with a stroller, by the way- lots of stairs!) , and realized this station wasn’t the Safari Park location. Kris called our guide and was told he only had it partially right- we switched lines at this station! By then I was really needing a restroom, but this station didn’t have one either (Chinese are better at holding it than me!). We went outdoors and looked around. Nothing but construction zones. Kris asked a guard (they are everywhere) and he pointed across the highway. We crossed the highway and after more instructions I finally found a squatty potty in the construction area. So back down to the station we go to buy more tokens for the remainder of our trip. But Kris was out of small bills for the machine. We searched and found someone to change money for us. Back on the next line and in a few minutes we were there! We walk out and see signs welcoming us! Yay!! A worker directed us to the entrance. It said 5 minutes walking. It wasn’t. It was at least 20. We were already tired when we arrived. We bought tickets and entered. By now it was almost 11:00! We started out looking at the animals by walking around. Lottie couldn’t see much because she was in her stroller. We finally got to places she could see without having to pull her in and out. It takes two people to do it because of the safety bar in the stroller and she’s going on 40 lbs.
She started to take notice of the animals and got excited! She kept looking for them in their zones and would point and smile. I tried to get her to make animal noises with me but she just laughed at me.
We were told correctly about this place: you just can’t see it all. Where a normal zoo would have 2 tigers, they had more like 50! A normal zoo has 2 koalas, they had 20! The monkey areas all started looking the same after a while. We lost count of giraffes- there could have been 50 or more! The baby animals there were in their own areas in age groups- so many and so cute! One section was a drive through. We had a lot of fun taking photos on animals in their natural habitats. The girls had a blast!
We decided to go back at 4:00. The girls were wearing out. We realized a free bus could shuttle us to the metro station ( where were the signs or employees directing us when we arrived?!). It took a while to get picked up but saved us lots of stairs with the stroller and 20 more minutes of walking. At the station we thought we had it made. We knew exactly what to do. But I mentioned to Kris that Lottie was going to run out of diapers before we got home, so we needed to stop at the convenience store near the hotel that our guide suggested. That store was where I saw another metro stop, by a museum entrance. So we decided to stop one stop emerald at the stop with that museum title. It had to be it, right? Wrong. We got out and had no idea where we were. Street names looked familiar but no landmarks. After walking another 20 minutes around a huge block we got on the metro again and went one more stop and cane out at our hotel. We walked to the store, and no diapers. Uggh.
We were so tired by then we decided to be Americans tonight. We picked up carry out Burger King and went to our room to eat!
Lottie was so tired from no nap she brought me a diaper and her skin lotion after eating. This meant she wanted to get ready for bed. I fixed the girls a bubble bath (Lottie signaled she really wanted one last night but it wasn’t a bath night). She got really excited and couldn’t wait to get in! She and Anna Faith played in the water with two wash clothes as toys for an hour.
When I got her out and ready for bed she fell asleep when she hit the pillow. She was too tired to even try crawling to her spot like we have been teaching her. Poor Boo!
Anna Faith brought up several times today that she will miss China. She’s sad to leave, but happy to go home too. She really has enjoyed this trip in more ways than coming to get her sister. She feels connected here. She mentions her city, Nanping, and wants to go back one day. I wish we had time this trip but the journey was too far. She still was able to identify with so much of the culture, and now Chinese instead of English ❤️. We are so proud of her!
We pack our bags tomorrow. I won’t have WiFi at our hotel (it costed $40 extra so we opted out) so may not get to update the blog until we are home. Home. Those words sound so beautiful right now! All five of my arrows finally together. I can’t wait to begin our new life with Lottie as a family of 7!

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