Welcome to Panda! pretty much sums this trip up. They’re by far the most cared for animals in the zoo, put front in center in their own special five-extra-kuai-to-enter enclosure. But they’re cute, so I guess I can’t complain too much.
Aside from the pandas, though, the zoo is “depressing as all get out,” to borrow chrissy’s rhetoric. The whole place isn’t particularly well maintained, the animals were generally walking around on concrete, and the state of the cages is just pretty sad.

Black bear, surrounded by trash, getting fed random crap by people on the balcony. Really, really aren't supposed to do that, but nobody there cared about rules /=

Spoiler alert, there are some rather sad pictures of animals incoming. The bears were probably the worst, because they were both kinda dirty and walking around in concrete and trash. Not the nicest setup. The rhino, one of my favorite animals by far, was sporting a splintered horn and confined to a big muddy pit. Maybe not the worst pen possible but I feel like an animal that has focused millions of years of evolution purely into getting a big spike on its face is badass enough to deserve better. Maybe it’s just me. Bah.

The big cats were incredible, but had the most cramped conditions of all. It’s possible we just saw them during a special display hour or something, but each one was in a cage about the size of the double i’m sitting in now. Kinda a bad situation.

It wasn’t all bad, though. The monkeys seemed happy, and had a big roomy cage to swing around in. The pandas were certainly content. The emus get fed more popcorn than they know what to do with. There’s always a bright side, but sometimes it’s hard to see around all the crap that’s broken in this country. Speaking of — today, in line for the zoo, a homeless person asked me for some kuai. I initially ignored her, because I am an asshole, but then I watched her for a little bit. I noticed she was pretty deformed, and her hands could serve no other purpose than to hold an empty bowl, and even that just barely. So I grabbed two kuai because that’s what was readily accessible — mind you, that is thirty fucking us cents — and went to give them to her. She smiled at me and gave me the most sincere “谢谢” I have ever heard in my life. Absolutely, utterly heartbreaking. Literally almost drove me to tears.
It reminded me that by no fault of my own I’m in an extraordinarily advantageous position on this planet. I’m a relatively wealthy white male from the current world superpower. I have a stable family, loving friends, and a good education. At present I have perfect freedom to do basically anything I’d like. I can pretty much always spare thirty cents and not look back. But some people, most people, don’t even have half of these things. No matter how many poor decisions I make or good ones they make, I’ll always be better off. It’s a little ridiculous really, and I know I can’t help all of them, and I know thirty cents isn’t going to resolve anything. The best I can do is make sure I don’t waste what I’ve been given. Weird thoughts to have outside a zoo.

Baby monkey action shot! Guaranteed to lighten the mood of any post

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