Monday, July 14, 2008


We finally worshipped at the shrine of the Panda. Last week our first stop in Washington DC was not the usual haunt of desi visitors, the Smithsonian Air&Space museum, but the National Zoo.

M was more agog about seeing a pygmy marmoset, but sadly disappointed when unable to find one in the house of small mammals. The closest she could find was the Geoffrey marmoset, and she spent the rest of the zoo trip in high dudgeon, grumbling (in Tinker Bell tones) 'It was a ripoff!". (Apparently, the Honolulu zoo has one, so I ought to offer that as prime justification for a visit to Waikiki for our next vacation.)

We dragged her along to the Panda habitat, where she started her mantra of 'It's a ripoff!' as we peered in vain at the outdoor setting, trying to discern the distinctive black and white. No luck. The whole family started joining in chorus on M's chant, until we reached the doors marked 'Indoor Habitat'. Instant silence, followed by a frenzied unholstering of cameras for a bout of shooting. We charged in, cameras at the ready, to find that only about another gazillion visitors were ahead of us. With all the prime spots for photography taken, we had little choice but to wait a little till the throng moved on, leaving gaps for us to occupy.
A zoo docent's voice boomed over the crowd clicking away in a frenzy "Today is Tai Shan's 3rd birthday, so he's getting extra bamboo as a treat. His mother Mei Xiang is asleep in another room on a rock somewhere, so you may not be able to see her."
Tai Shan munched and munched. And munched. And munched.
And (drumroll!) MUNCHED...
In fact, that's the only thing all the three pandas we saw did. Whatever happened to the cute panda stuff of rolling over others in rolypoly glory that we saw on Youtube?
That's why Hollywood can only make animated panda movies- forget about getting a real one to do any emoting for the cameras.
I'll update this post with a mini movie of Pandas! Eating! as soon as I cadge the video off my husband (shot using his newest toy, a Lumix camera).


Anonymous said...

I am a big fan of the Air and Space Museum too! Not only the Smithsonian but also the Udvar-Hzmlazy Center :)

Sujatha said...

What's with the extra 'zml' in the name of the Udvar-Hazy Center, Lekhni? Burping keyboard? ;)