As we travel the world with our daughter Lisa, Dannie is really excited to show her how to take in the culture. She talks about exposing Lisa to local foods, dressing her in local fashions, and celebrating local holidays wherever we go. Of course, I want that for her too, but part of me is just as excited about the non-human elements of travel. Here in Florida, she gets plenty of wildlife and scenery, but beaches and cranes, are only a small part the world and there is a lot more out there to see.
Last week Dannie and I were going through some of our old China photos while I held Lisa. We pointed out the pandas we saw in Chengdu, and she giggled and kicked her feet against my chest. I really wish she had been there to see them. We’ll probably make it back to China someday, but in the meantime we’ve got other plans, which include wild horses in Iceland and, gorgeous landscapes in Tuscany (see our travel announcements here and here).
Of course, there’s some chance that, as a toddler, she won’t appreciate the nature as much as I will (or the culture as much as Dannie, for that matter). When we walk her around she usually tends to be more interested in her own toes than the landscapes, and depending on the animal she either points and laughs (goldfish, panda photos, songbirds) or cries in terror (dogs, cats, realistic looking rocking horses). I think it’s time we got her a little more exposure to animals.
The Panda habitat in China is a bit of a hike, but we don’t have to travel far to get her used to our furry or feathered friends. We live just 40 minutes from a great a wildlife sanctuary, and as soon as the weather cools off just a little, we’re going to take her to see some really cool wildlife, up close and personal (but not too close). We’ll be sure to post some photos.
Behind the Lens: Tourist attractions in China, like this panda sanctuary, are crowded… really crowded. Sometimes you have to wait a long time just to get to the edge of an enclosure for a picture, and once you’re there you feel a little bit rude making those behind you wait while you look for the best shot. However, tours and groups likes to go with the flow in preplanned directions, and if you see big tour groups, look at your park map and walk the loop in the opposite direction. You’ll cross paths with them occasionally, but you won’t be stuck with them the whole time.