Free day. We asked our guide to take us to the Guangzhou Zoo. It is right in the middle of downtown. Tall high rise apartment buildings surround it where they can look out their balconies as they hang their laundry to dry and view the animals.
Because we love zoos, Disney, etc. we loved the zoo. Others could've been critical of the fact that the snack shops contained zero identifiable snacks (could I just find a bag of potatoe chips? no. but i could find freeze dried chicken parts!). We saw unique animals we had never seen before like the pandas and a baby golden monkey and rare birds. But the favorite was the LIGER. This is a breed of half tiger, half lion. As Daniel said, it was the scariest thing he's ever seen. GINORMOUS.
The most fun part to me was the Goldfish Garden. It holds the Guiness World Record for most goldfish in one place, or something like that. At first it looked like a water park with a bunch of kiddie pools but then I noticed there were GOLDFISH in the baby pools. And for a small fee you could buy a ticket to get a bucket, roll up your pants legs, and get it and catct fish! Although the kids wanted to, I feared a foreign parasite invasion through the feet so we said no. In fact, many times on the trip we would try to forsee things that might turn out to be an episode of I Shouldn't Be Alive, and we tried to avoid those situations. Deadly parasite from the Goldfish Garden was one avoided.
Back to the hotel then onto McDonalds for the fifth time for lunch. Our next adventure was to go to the Carrefore (sp?) which is like a french Walmart. Our guide couldn't take us so she gave us instructions for taking a cab (the first one we had to take without our guide). She told us how much to pay hoping they wouldn't drive us around for an hour before dropping us off right down the street. We had already decided (again, because of the I Shouldn't Be Alive visions) that we were going to stay together (all 8 of us) and not split up. Adri and I knew being girls in a cab and not speaking the language would be too risky. But when we got downstairs our nice professional hotel manager wouldn't allow us to all cram into one cab. After giving each other looks like just pray and be on guard me and Adri split up from Daniel. I felt safe with Adri as I have full confidence that the girl would karate chop the driver if he veered off the path that we watched with a hawk eye!!! We made it to the Carrefore safely and proceeded to have a dandy time shopping!
While in the store all I could think of was the books that told us to avoid over-stimulating our newly adopted children! No chance of that! Everywhere we went there were thousands, millions, bazillions of people everywhere! But they did great. Lily, like a normal child, would occasionally point to things and ask for them (or just grab something and throw it in the buggy) and we got her some fun stuff. She did beg for the bag of dried chicken legs which Adri and Daniel said a resounding no to!
After the store we walked right next door to Papa Johns! Yes, Papa Johns! And yes it tasted almost just like American Papa Johns! We had longed for this moment and we were salivating at the thought of getting our pizza! Just then Rob shouts in an oddly calm voice (as if he wasn't surprised), "I just saw a rat run across the floor!" At first I think, yeah right! Then I quickly remember WE ARE AT CHINA and then I throw my head around just in time to SEE THE CRITTER RUN AROUND A LADY'S PURSE AND FEET AND DART UNDER THE BOOTH!
I'm amazed and scared but not surprised either. All of us are just staring at each other and chatting nervously and laughing hysterically. In America, we would have been up and out of the restaurant so fast. In China, not so much. I looked at Daniel and Adri and said something like surely we are not just gonna sit here and wait for our food! Daniel just shrugged his shoulders as if to say he wasn't leaving until he got his pepperoni pizza. Adri reminded me that considering all the places we had lived and eaten in, this was in no way the worst condition and that God had kept us from seeing these kind of things before so that we could actually make it through the trip. (She said this in a missions team leader kinda way as if she was excited she had seen the mouse---Adri is awesome!). I agreed and we all just SAT there knowing the critter was under our table or the one next to us.
I pulled my feet up immediately. Adri and Daniel laughed at me like I was a little scared girl. I was. Lily had NO IDEA what was going on. And neither did any other person in the restaurant (unless this is a common occurrence). Phoebe said we should tell the management they have a mouse in here. I told her they probably wouldn't care (by the looks of the restroom). Rob in his classic boy mode was undeterred and barely thought about it. Johnny moved out of his pouting mode and into red alert/most exciting thing that's ever happened to him in his life mode! Johnny switched places with Lily so he could get a front row seat to the action. I found myself actually hoping the mouse would reappear just to make Johnny's day!
Our food came and we ate/talked about the mouse. My feet started falling asleep because they were wedged horizontally in between people but I didn't care. I watched the floor obsessively. Adri made fun of me and Daniel for wearing "bells" (didn't even know what that was) instead of her choice jeans "skinnys" and she joked that the mouse couldn't get up her leg if it tried!
And just like that, the mouse came out! Johnny as if he was a watchman on a tower shouted, "THE MOUSE! EVERYBODY GET OUT OF YOUR SEATS!" Yes, he shouted this! And waved his hands in exclamation! Our table erupted in hysterical laughter. We were delirious! Johnny was elated! As a quick backstory, Johnny LOVES mice, rats, hamsters, etc. In fact, as a term of endearment we call him a stinky mexican rat (Adri gave him that name) or a stinky Chinese rate. Another fact, we had used the term Chinese rat quite often on this trip for Johnny and now we had actually SEEN one! The joy yet disgust was hand in hand as we CONTINUED TO EAT THE PIZZA. Adri called the mouse Rattatouille! Then ChinaTouille! We were crazy!
I was in panic mode. Johnny "dropped" a piece of cheese breadstick. We needed to get out before pandamonium (sp). And then it happened.... Adri and Phoebe at the exact same time and in almost the exact same octave gasped and SHRIEKED and yanked their legs up (where my sissy legs had been the whole time) and Daniel followed! We erupted into hysterical laughter, delusion, and fear! They said the mouse had quickly emerged from under our booth and made a BEELINE for Daniel's fancy jeans (as if it was a mouse hole)!!!!! Adri says the mouse was centimeters from leaped up Daniel's leg when he yanked them up!!!!!!!
All of us were out of our seats, hysterical with loud wild laughter! Everyone in the restaurant looked at us with curiosity but quickly dismissed it as if to say, "Oh, it's just the Americans." Plus, they didn't speak English! Daniel quickly paid and we were gone!
It was the greatest day of Johnny's life...and one of the funniest for the rest of us! We quickly made a plan to get back to the hotel in ONE cab since it was dark. The plan was, Daniel flags the taxi and starts distracting him with details about where we were going while me, Adri, Lily, Hope, Johnny and Rob crawl into the back. And it worked. We were off. Johnny quickly and brilliantly started singing, "Who let the rats out" to the tune of who let the dogs out! What a night! Adri started singing "Lift up yo legs, lift up yo legs, the mouse is comin" to the tune of Third Day's Lift Up Your Face Salvation is Coming.