Sunday, December 19, 2010

Safari and other wild moments

12/5 - A Sunday without parallel.

Do I have to get up?

This morning we gathered with three other families to visit the Safari Park several miles away.  It is so much better than the zoo.

The pictures below are from a drive through portion of the park.

Leaving the tram we were treated to the sight of mothers holding their children over trash barrels so they could relieve themselves.

Next we move through a gift shop to inside the park where other animals could be viewed.  Our guide said if you go along this main route you can see these animals and we can meet back here in 3.5 hours.  While in that general vicinity we decided to have something to drink first.  Just ordering coke, sprite and tea was an experience in itself.  These treats cost about 80 cents each, much better than most places.

Moving out from there we saw a baby nursery 

and chimpanzees in boxed window sets on the right side of the path, until we came to where the giraffes were.  There we had the opportunity to feed them - and that was a treat.

After a few minutes there we moved on down through the park until we came to the elephants.  At first there was a small baby elephant off by itself that we could go and the children could touch.  The handler came over to the side where we were and got some bread out of a sack and gave some to Ellen who then gave pieces to the children.  They had quite a time with the little elephant. 

Next to this were some parrots on a higher level sitting on a long limb having something to eat.  Star and Tian went to look at them and after a while Yu-Hsuan came to join them.

Moving on we came to what was described as - elephant show.  Climbing a rather steep path brought us to the top edge of a large stadium like structure where nearly 1000 people sat watching elephants perform.  There was a railing along the back with walk space behind it.  Behind the railing people were standing 6 deep in places trying to crane their necks to see the show.  With some maneuvering I got the children close enough to see when I picked up Yu-Hsuan to see.  What I saw of the show was very good.

And then....

I don't think anything other than death scares a parent more - losing your child.

We had that happen today.  The fear was palpable.  At the elephant show I lost Heng Xin in the pressing crowd and could not find her.  My girl, the one I have loved deeply for 13 plus months.  The one we had sacrificed for, shed so many tears for - gone in moments.  It was a great sinking feeling and the adrenalin burst forth.  I was nearest her when I lost track of her, could not really ask anyone for assistance.  Ellen and our son were at the opposite end seeking to view the show, while Tian was with me.  Heng Xin had pushed ahead into the upper stands and at 47 inches disappeared quickly in the moving mass.  Tian called for her but over the din of the crowd, the performance - it was lost as well in the noise.

I kept looking in the general area I had last seen her. Finally unable to find her, with the ground falling away beneath me, I went to tell Ellen I had lost our daughter.  Though the walk was perhaps at most 100 feet, it was a very difficult journey.  Ellen went down into the stands on one end to see if she could see her, while I went back to
the place I had last seen her and tried to get better view of where I had last seen her.  Ellen later said, how to find one face in a crowd of look alike faces?

Looking around I could find no sort of official to ask for help - it was a dreadful feeling.  Did I pray?  No - because the floor was dropping away so fast, the fear pushed everything out of my mind except to do all I could do to find her.

Waiting for the show to end and hoping not to get crushed in the mass exodus and wondering where my wife was, I stepped back from the crowd only to see Heng Xin wandering along the back corridor, looking bewildered.  I went to her and picked her up and held her dearly - found - and took her to the other two children and left them together
to try to find Ellen, telling them to stay there together.

Back to the same spot I had just left, the show ended and the crowd started streaming out.  Out of the crowd here came our son - leaving his sisters - nearly getting lost in the crowd as well.

We enjoyed the park, feeding the animals - but at day's end I am most thankful that we brought all 3 children back with us.  I pray that we can do that for many years to come - bringing all 3 home, day after day, year after year.

It was a sobering day.

Moving on we saw more elephants:



The Safari Park has 12 pandas!

Baby pandas at play

Red Panda

Albino Kangaroos

At near end of day, the lake again.

Tian came to my room to tell me Ellen was sick.  Going down to check on her, she had been throwing up since shortly after we got back.  

Since the children needed to eat anyway, she said it was fine to go ahead and take the children for supper.  Off we went and had a good supper, meeting two or three other families we had not previously met.  This included a family from Pennsylvania, who had 3 bio children, adopting their first child.  Tian made fast friends with the two boys who were 12 and 10.  We were at supper for about 1.5 hours.

Returning to the hotel, I found Ellen in a bad way.  Had we been home in the States, I would have packed her in the car and taken her to the ER.  After consulting with other adoptive families in the hotel, a nurse and an EMT, I called our guide and told her what was going on.  She arranged for the Chinese emergency response team to come to Ellen's room.  In about 20 minutes, a true guesstimate because trying to keep three children busy and not freak out, the medical team arrived.  This consisted of a doctor, nurse, guy to carry their gear and a guy with a wheeled chair in case they needed to take her to the hospital.  The doctor examined her, said something to the hotel manager who acted as our interpreter.  The nurse then gave her a shot in the hip and the whole team left saying that the bell boy would come back within the hour with prescription medicine and I could pay for both service and Rx at the same time.  About the appointed time the bellboy and hotel manager arrived with a anti-nausea pill and an antibiotic.  The bill was presented - $198 RMB or about $30.

What a Sunday.


  1. Wow, you had quite a day! The pictures are beautiful. I can just imagine the terror you felt, and it must have been awful being sick in a foreign land.


  2. That was a seriously rough day!! Loosing one of our kids was the biggest fear I had while in country - I can so relate to the terror!

    And then to need some medical assistance - man - that thought scared me too....

    Glad all turned out anyway -

    hugs - aus and co.

  3. Whoosh!!! Good gravy. Thanks for sending the updates. Hope Ellen gets back on her feet.