What an adventure…hired a bike and rode out to the Beijing zoo this morning, freezing day, wearing three layers and a scarf.
All the best laid plans… worked out my route, up ‘my’ road cut across the top of the forbidden city, round the moat then on to Guanzhou park where, according to the NY Times in 2000 they have a fabulous pet; market on weekends, rode around for a hour or so until I finally got completely lost and ended up at the 3rd ring road to the north of Beijing, luckily I always enjoy the journey… after carrying my bike across a wide stretch of railway tracks, then clambering over a bridge, I rediscovered my way and found the Zoo.
90 Yuan to get in, bitterly cold, the pandas were asleep, the otters thought it was spring, the reptile pavilion was horrid (very depressing, I’m sure all of those poor creatures agree) and then it started to rain… that was fine for a while until it got heavier and all the animals decided to go ‘home’… i.e. I was the only animal silly enough to be wandering around in the rain!
It was at about this stage that I remembered I had my ‘Sydney Olympic Volunteer Raincoat’ in my bag, which I put over my sodden clothes and started to steam.
Finally found the front gate and hopped back on my bike to ride home – through the puddles and mud in the dark without bike lights or reflectors or a helmet, 1 large exotic Australian women dressed in red, swathed in a clear plastic bag, flapping in the wind as she trundled home…