Friday, March 2, 2012

Sterling Mei: (17) Eye of the Liger

What a bizarre day. I have seen a giraffe run (oh, it licked me too), a hippo stand on its hind legs, and discovered that there is indeed such an animal as a Liger. Don't believe me? Fact check me… you will learn that it is the offspring of a male lion and a female tiger. They are huge. We saw one today at the Guangzhou Zoo. I was convinced that our guide was making fun of us, telling us that it was not a tiger that we were looking at, but it was in fact a liger. The only time I had ever heard of a liger was from the film Napoleon Dynamite. By the way, for those of you who have seen the movie, let me tell you that I have mad baby carrying skills.

We just wanted to see a Panda… we had no idea what wonders we were to encounter. I had never even considered that giraffes could run. I have watched many a National Geographic program, but they always just seem to stand around and eat leaves. Today I observed 4 giraffes standing and watching as a fifth ran back and forth across their enclosure. It was amusing that the four giraffes seemed as confused as the humans. I have no explanation as to why.

We paid 10 Yuan and received a bundle of eucalyptus leaves to feed the giraffes. I held out the first leaf and my entire hand was engulfed in the blubbery lips at the end of that surprisingly fast gargantuan head. Sterling was also holding a leaf and was delighted as the same giraffe shot out an incredibly long tongue to take it as well.

Pretty cool stuff, my 14-month-old daughter from China fed a giraffe from Africa.

Next we went to the hippo habitat where again we all stood in amazement as a hippo reared up on hind legs and rested front legs on the top of a concrete wall. I have determined that animals at American Zoos are simply boring. In China, giraffes run and hippos dance.

I also learned today that I could eat with chopsticks using one hand at a Teppanyaki grill while holding a sleeping baby in the other. My chopstick operating skills, while not yet perfect, have without a doubt increased over the past week.

Today was also a trial run day for Sterling to experience mass-transit and fast pace crowd navigation. She rode harnessed to my chest in her Bjorn carrier as we utilized elevators, escalators, subways, taxi-cabs, restaurants, and a 3 hour trek through the zoo. I learned that movement and Cheerios are key to maintaining baby happiness.

Sterling was incredible. She rolled with the day and adapted to our whims. She seemed to thrive on everything we saw, and her attentiveness amazed me. She would look where we looked, and grin and laugh when we laughed. She is experiencing some discomfort due to a couple of teeth that are about to break the surface of her gums, but she still keeps a generally cheerful disposition!

Also of note: I forgot how much saliva is produced when teeth are being cut.

And I also received many looks of amusement, shock, and disdain from well-meaning Chinese grandmas… apparently it is not culturally acceptable for a man to carry an infant (I think it further perplexes them that it is a bald man with earrings). Oh well, score one for me.

But, the funniest thing we encountered today… our daughter has the ability to sleep with one eye open. No joke. And this eye stays focused on Kellie. All is well while Kellie is in the room. Tranquility is interrupted when that sentinel losses sight of the mama. Only when Sterling hits her deepest level of sleep, attaining her highest level of comfort and feeling of security does that eye find rest.
So, take your pick. Giraffes that lick & run, hippos that dance, ligers that exist, chopsticks, drool, and taxi cabs… I'm not sure which is the story of the day, but all in all… you just can't make this stuff up.

Free days are whack.

Tomorrow is back to getting things done.
(And <<cue music>> Sterling just woke from her nap. The Sentinel Eye must have detected an anomaly. We are back on duty...hang on <<passage of time here>> ok, back now).
As I was saying… tomorrow is our medical appointment to verify the completion of all required vaccinations. We will receive official documents that we will take with us to the American Embassy on Monday (if I am understanding the process correctly).

But who knows… tomorrow I just might learn that unicorns exist.

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