the "evolution" of our group.
The first stop was behind the actual park, and into sort of a rescue center. We weren't allowed to take pictures because of legal reasons, so sorry for the lack of pics! but it was very neat! The majority of animals were reptiles: snakes, lizards, turtles, ect. We also got to see some frogs and fish! Many of the most venomous snakes here in Taiwan were all found on this one shelf. Our guide's favorite animal here was a turtle species who is very aggressive. It was hiding behind the water feature, and our guide really really wanted us to see it, so he bravely tried everything to move it out into the open. We were all fearing for the safety of his hand, as he reached in. But he got it to come out. I don't know if "mean" is a good physical description word, but this small turtle was for sure a mean looking old turtle. The guide also put 3 fish in the tank, and immediately the turtle went into hyper drive, and lurched this way and that to snap at the fish... successfully I might add. Next we went outside to view the gigantic tortoises, some lemurs, and a HUGE snapping turtle (I think it was close to the world record in size). Finally, we were lead to a gate, and we were told to be very quiet. We turned the corner, and I didn't even notice at first, but literally 4 ft to my left, behind the fence, was a grown tiger laying on the platform. The tiger's face was level to mine, so I could easily compare the immense size; so beautiful up close! The paws that were up against the fence were so huge! I loved this moment, even if it was just a couple minutes.
After the "behind the scenes tour" we took a tram up to the front of the park. It was lunch time, and the only place to eat for miles was the mcd's. Wasn't my prime choice, but we were all starving already, so we grabbed some food and plopped ourselves down in the center of a vacant stage. Jack pretty much said that we had the whole day to do whatever, and that he will see us in the morning, haha! So we all decided to see the rest of the park before heading back, then working on our project, or doing something else.
PANDA. ITS A PANDA PEOPLE!
I was so excited that we saw an actual panda that I had to ride one too! Duhh!
We also stopped off at the formosan monkeys (which we saw wild, one night outside of Taipei. They were just playing on the trees outside our hostel's window!), the sika's (a type of deer endemic to Taiwan), and other small critters. Richard wanted to head to the insectarium, so I joined! After we split from the group, we quickly came upon this huge building all dedicated to the different insects found here in Taiwan. The flowers that surrounded the building was already attracting a lot of different butterflies. It was actually really interesting! We walked through many different displays, and one big open air space where the butterflies and other insects were freely flying about around us. It was fun playing "eye-spy" with some of the camouflage insects that were hidden in these containers. Some I couldn't even spot, and I was already pressing my face to the glass in order to try and see. Nature is sneaky!
I was surprised at how tolerant the butterflies were here; they weren't fazed by my camera lens that was barreling down near their face. It's fine by me, because then I got some cool close-up shots!
We were all starting to get really hot (it was another one of the most humid and hottest day we've experienced here in Taipei), tired, and desperately needed a shower, so we decided to take the tram back to the park's entrance, and then got on the mrt back to Gonguan station (near the university). Once it got a little cooler, some of us went to another night market near our dorms to go shopping! Many of us came away with a shirt or two, shoes, or some accessories. In the back of my mind, i'm still worrying if I will be able to fit everything back in my suitcase... hmmm...