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Sunday, February 6, 2011

They Don't Call It A Zoo For Nothing

As Close as I got to the Taipei Zoo

I am in the process of repacking for my trip back to Phuket from Taipei. It has been a good trip here and I have been glad to have made the stop-over. Unfortunately the last day has not worked out as planned. I had headed out early to go to the Taipei Zoo, to see the Panda's that are housed there as a diplomatic gift from China. Over my morning coffee I had read that the city has been crazy for the past 2 days with gridlock traffic on the freeways, and public attraction sites, including the zoo have been swarmed to capacity.

On my ride on the Metro, a fore teller of events to follow, I found a new definition for snuggling, as I found myself in a very very packed metro rail line car.
And they were all going to the zoo! But I figured, I had but one objective; to see the panda's, so I endured. Upon exiting the metro station, I was immediately in the large crowds of milling people and I made my way to the ticket centre. Dutifully waiting my turn, when a man in a bright green vest came up to me and began to yell at me and violently point my out of the line-up. He followed me to make sure I was clear of the line and I found myself standing in the middle of the crowd again. So I headed to a window marked group tours and visitor information. It was vacant until a woman came into the booth and saw me and immediately turned away and began to sort papers. Being patient, I waited, eventually she came to the window and asked what I wanted, as in "what you want!" I tried to explain that I wanted a ticket and she pointed me to ticket booth line #1, so away I went, keeping an eye out for Mr. Happy who had shooed me out of line earlier. I made my way to the ticket window and pointed out the ticket and the extra charge for the panda exhibition. The woman yelled at me "NO!" and said " ticket window #2", so back to the back of the line for window #2. After a while I made my way back to ticket window #2 and the woman chatted with the woman in window #1 and told me again "NO" and just stared at me. She began to wave me off through the window "you go, you go". By now bewildered and the visitor information counter not being of much help and no posted English instructions on how to get a ticket, I passed the many English signs telling me all about the zoo and welcoming me. I decided my day would not include the zoo, and so I took a much less packed metro back into the city.

The pandas will have to wait for another day.

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