Wild Animals, Tennis, and the Last Day on the Job

>> Sunday, October 25, 2009

There is a really neat zoo/wild animal park near Beijing. Everyone talks about the part where you get in a cage on the back of a truck and then ride around with raw meat while bears and lions and tigers eat from the cage. That WAS really cool but there were other neat parts, too.

First of all, the red panda. Grandma Hinckley told Sam about the red panda a few years ago and we finally got a good look at one. It's really small in comparison to regular pandas and it's very very cute. This picture is just for you, Grandma!

We went with our friends from church. Here Sam and some of the boys (Michael, left, Jerry, middle) goof around.

One of the cool/sad parts of park was the animal shows. I have to admit it was really neat to see the bears riding bikes and doing somersaults and walking on stilts and parallel bars. But it also made me feel sad for them, too.

The goat climbed up the ladder and stood on the tiny platform. Then the monkey on it's horns did a hand stand.

This is our friend Sean who went with us. We wouldn't usually include someone else's picture on our blog, but if you take a look at the kangaroos in the back, you'll see something a little different. This photo makes us laugh so hard! We're glad Sam was with some friends and not at this part of the park.

Does anyone know what kind of bird this is?

This was one of the coolest parts. They had lion and tiger cubs that you could hold and take pictures of. I have wanted to cuddle a wildcat for a long time. It was wonderful!
Kat went with us to the park.

This is Sam feeding an animal from inside the cage.

That's a bear!

This is a tiger!

This is us sitting in the cage outside the part where the wild animals roam.

Another animal show.

After a day of fun, the boys came to our house for a sleepover.

On another note...

Anyone who knows me well will know tennis is one of my favorite things in the world. Beijing has a tournament every year that attracts the top players. Last year I found out about it a little too late to go to tons of matches. This year, I made sure that I was there for a lot of the action. Here are some of my favorite pictures.

Rafael Nadal returning a volley from Marat Safin.

This was Safin's last match of his career. He's retired now. Of course Rafa won the match but they both stuck around for Safin's retirement ceremony.

Rafa serving.

This is Novak Djokovic serving.

Sam was so good. He watched tennis for most of the time. After a few matches, though, he had to have a little diversion. He drew and played games with Sis. Ricks (who came with us).

The cameras.

Maria Sharapova serving.

Sharapova and Nadal on the practice courts.

Elder and Sister Ricks came with us to watch the match. He is a big tennis fan and was as delighted as I was to be there.

I love how this player is the "I" in Beijing.
This tennis tournament is one of the reasons I love living in Beijing.

I worked at TIBCO for a year and a half. I edited software manuals (snore) and got to work with the best people. I taught a weekly English hour and this was my last class. The other foreigner is Austin who has taken over my job.
So this isn't the most flattering picture of any of us, but this is my last day at work with my team.
From left to right: Ning, Tonglei, me, Qing (Wenjing is missing from this picture.)

I love these girls! They were the best team I have ever worked with.

I'm teaching at Sam's school now. Besides all the nose picking and the whole dirty bathroom business, it's great. The kids are wonderful--most days.


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