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Of All Things Wet and Shiny

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Yesterday, I went to the Beijing Aquarium, the largest inland aquarium in the world. It’s located within the Beijing Zoo (which also means you have to buy a zoo admissions ticket in addition to the aquarium ticket) in a large, conch shell-shaped building. You start by walking through a tropical exhibit, which contains several different varieties of some very large fish that I was unable to identify. You then enter the main lobby, from which you can access the Coral Reef exhibit, the sturgeons, and the “Touching Pool” a long, shallow pool filled with fish that you can touch. Of course, touching the fish is easier said than done, as they are quick little swimmers. There was also a large sea turtle at the end of the pool. You weren’t actually supposed to touch him, but most people did (it seems like most rules here are made to be broken). Though, the turtle seemed to have a routine down. He’d swim along the edge of the pool, people would touch his shell and grab his flipper thing, and he’d just keep swimming his circuit.

The aquarium also offers daily shows, which were reputed to be quite interesting. So, I went to one. You have to get there early to get a decent seat (I showed up about 45 minutes before hand), as the shows are quite popular. The first act involved a seal doing various tricks, including dancing, marching, clapping his flippers, etc. He also managed to jump out of the water and bop one of the plastic balls hanging from the ceiling. After the seal, a team of dolphins came out. They did the usual sort of dolphin thing, dancing around the pool, jumping in the air, etc. But they also had a dolphin rider, who managed to ride a pair of dolphins across the length of the pool. She then followed up by riding a single dolphin back across the pool, and then finished the act by having the dolphins throw her into the air. It was quite impressive. I didn’t think you could actually ride dolphins, but apparently that’s a thing.

I finished up my tour by buying what is probably the largest stuffed penguin the world (at a mere $15). I’m not entirely sure how I’ll get it home, but I’m going to chalk it up as the one of the greatest buys ever (and one that will probably make Molly very jealous).