Animals on wheels

I said there was more to tell about World Park, so here goes. This part is not so silly as the rest, and actually kind of sad. One of the things I remember from the movie is the shows featuring dances from around the world. The performers (mostly Chinese) dressed up in a variety of typical costumes and did routines meant to resemble folk dances from different countries. As it turned out, the schedule for those performances didn’t work out well for us, so we ended up with the Thailand Crocodile and Elephant Show.
The show was in a somewhat rundown arena. There was an enclosure with five crocodiles dozing surrounded by a shallow moat and a glass fence.
A young guy came out and splashed water on the crocs to wake them up.
Then he grabbed one of them by the tail and pulled it into the water.
He held his hand in its mouth, and then pulled it out just as the jaws snapped shut.
With the second croc he “kissed” it on the end of the nose.

The third one had the chance to take his whole head.
But passed on it.

After the show, spectators could , for a fee, have their pictures taken sitting on a crocodile.

Then they had us all move over to the other side of the arena for the elephants.
They had three elderly looking Asian elephants, who did a variety of the standard elephant things.
Like carrying audience volunteers and posing on two legs.

In between tricks, they were rewarded with bananas from the audience.
It really is amazing how well such big animals can balance and move.
The trainers treated them well at all times, and they seemed to already know the routines without much direction. This is not the time or place for debating the humaneness of this show. I’m just presenting what happened, and you can draw your own conclusions. And no, they were never actually on wheels – I just wanted to quote Sam Phillips.

This is another of those Beijing places that is not on the must-see list for most visitors. The place is not in very good repair, so I think its time of interest is passing even for the Chinese. It is the relic of a time when very few Chinese could expect to travel abroad, and did not have the internet and a variety of TV channels to show them these things in a better way. It seemed that a large portion of the visitors there were not locals, but (to rely on a stereotype) relatively unsophisticated people from other provinces. One family asked to have their picture taken with me, which almost never happens in Beijing. I’m not sure how many years World Park has left before it’s closed entirely, but I suspect it’s not that many.

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