Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day 13: Ocean Park

Ocean Park is a marine center and amusement park, a Sea World of sorts, on the south side of Hong Kong Island in Aberdeen. Our main interest in going was to see giant pandas. I have only seen them in real life once, on a junior high field trip to Washington D.C., and Che never has. I have been obsessed with pandas and all things pandas since I was a little kid, and seeing the pandas up close and personal at Ocean Park were well worth every penny of the (relatively) steep admission price and what turned out to be the most miserably hot and humid day on record.

The pandas were our first stop at Ocean Park, and I could have spent the entire day there. The park was nearly empty on this Wednesday, and the pandas were all playing and romping about their habitats. Soooooooo cute. One was napping (and sometimes stirring around) right up at the front glass, so we got some great pictures of them in their enclosures and had zero crowds to deal with in the process. I had planned to get a second glimpse of them at the end of the day before leaving the park, but we stayed too late and the exhibit was closed.

We spent the rest of the day sweating our asses off at the park. You can actually see the sweat on my skin in some of the pictures. Gross. Che & Jay rode most of the rides there, we saw a cool jellyfish exhibit, an aviary, a very nice large atoll reef exhibit, a marine mammal (seals and dolphins) show, and some other marine-related attractions and stayed until the park closed. After desperately-needed and greatly-refreshing showers, we met Cheron (who had to go back to work today) for dinner at a Japanese restaurant in Causeway Bay, then walked around a small mall to burn off our gigantic desserts. Interestingly, most stores here are open very late, like midnight. As it turns out (and much to my surprise), Hong Kong people (I haven't figured out yet how to refer to people from Hong Kong - Hong Kongers? Hong Kongites? Hong Kongians?) work very long hours, typically 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. Every night that we have been on the subway late, like returning from dinner, the trains have been packed with people leaving work, even at 10:00 p.m. or later. And here I thought I had it bad.

Che & Jay on the Bungee Trampoline:

This is Ying Ying, a three-year old female panda, being playful:

An An, a 20+ year old male panda, came right to the window to greet his visitors.

Sea lions performing at the marine mammal show:

Che's "Chocolate Mountain":

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