Thursday, January 04, 2007

Lions and tigers and bears

I have a confession to make: as cute as Tai Shan is, I prefer the tigers to the pandas at the National Zoo. I worried that admitting something less than absolute devotion to Butterstick would mean that I could no longer be a Washingtonian, but then I remembered that I live in Virginia anyhow.

I've made it my goal to get out of the house every day. If I sit at home, I just worry too much about when the baby's going to come. So we made it outdoors for walks on both Saturday and Sunday, but I fell down on meeting the goal on Monday and Tuesday. Yesterday I overcompensated by spending three hours walking around the zoo. I must say that a weekday in early January (especially one that is 60 degrees and mostly sunny) is a much better day to be at the zoo than Memorial Day, which was the last time I went. That day it was completely crowded and miserably hot. Yesterday it was fairly empty, so I had lots of chats with the docents, and it was so nice that I could have even walked around with no coat. I kept the coat on, because it is longer than my maternity sweaters, which I am apparently outgrowing, as they keep riding up and exposing my belly.

The tigers were my favorite part of the trip. Yes, Tai Shan is adorable, but he just sits in the tree or lies around eating bamboo. Cute, but not quite the same as the tiger cubs. The cubs were too new to be on exhibit back in May, so this was the first time I got to see them. They are no longer the cute, squishy, kissable little kitty cats that I saw pictures of over the summer. Now they mostly look like smaller versions of their parents. Still, they are fun to watch play, especially when they are pouncing on their mom.

tiger cub

tiger cub

mom and baby tiger

Oh, and there are also gorillas and sloth bears and lions. And a lot of other critters that I didn't get photos of, because three hours on my feet got to be a bit much. I needed to concentrate on keeping myself moving, not taking pictures.


sloth bear



lynnerd said...

"Butterstick?" Am I missing something?

Elizabeth said...

Baby pandas are very tiny when they are born, weighing about as much as a stick of butter. This got Tai Shan the nickname "Butterstick," which I kind of liked, but wasn't one of the choices when the zoo was letting people vote on the name. You would think they could at least have given us the Chinese word for butter as an option.