I know, I know—not everybody likes zoos and yes, some are awful and don’t care about animal welfare. I visited the Beijing Zoo and the small Belize Zoo I’m not even sure still exists, and I’m not super fond of them, but the Chilean National Zoo isn’t bad.
Mostly, I wanted Mark to realize that 1) pandas don’t master kung fu 2) penguins can’t tap dance 3) turtles aren’t particularly wise.
Yes, as a mother, I love crushing my child’s dreams.
Worse, I make him suffer in the process. Like, to enter the Zoológico Nacional de Chile, he had to hike up the stairs—the zoo is located at the foot of San Cristóbal Hill but it’s built into its side and it’s still quite a climb to the gate. On the plus side, the zoo offers a great panoramic view of Santiago.
Predictably, Mark wanted to see snakes, lions and tigers. Strangely, he also wanted to see rabbits. Even weirder, he still finds pigeons fascinating. Come to think of it, it’s true that there aren’t many pigeons in Ottawa. Local critters are usually rabbits and squirrels, so I guess he isn’t yet tired of them like any French person is.
And so we bought tickets and stepped inside the zoo.
The elephants? Meh. Armadillos and grisons? Meh. He cheered up in the aviary, especially because he could easily spot the colourful birds and because he managed to touch one of them.
“I don’t see the snake…”
That’s when I realized Mark didn’t really know where to look and what to expect because he had never seen these animals before in real life. “It’s a boa, Mark. Like, literally right in front of you. It’s… ahem, kind of big.”
“Ooooh… I see it! I SEE IT!”
Predictably, the lions, the tigers and other smart big cats were sleeping or hiding but we saw quite a few animals. I also found Chileans (and the many Brazilian tourists) very easy-going and nice with the animals at the zoo. For instance, no one attempted to touch them or feed them. With all the respect I have for Chinese culture, animals at the Beijing Zoo don’t have it easy…