We finally got to the National Zoo, and it was cold. Oh Lordy, it was cold. Thigh-chilling, nose-freezing, toe-numbing cold. This panda had better be DAMN cute.
We present our tickets, wait in the first of three lines and start to get excited. For six twentysomething professional women, we are regressing back to childhood really quickly. Something about playing hooky from work to go to the zoo will do that to you. We start comparing our favorite Disney movies. We start singing songs from them. I freak Libby out with my impersonation of Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty.
We finally get inside. We are literally skipping by this point. "We're gonna see the panda!" we sing. "Butterstick, Butterstick, Butterstick!"
So imagine our disappointment when the zookeeper tells us Butterstick just went down for a nap. Literally entered his enclosure as soon as we skipped in. We look over to the monitor and sure enough, there's his snoozing, fuzzy butt curled up in the corner. And so we pout.
Sarah and EJ are very sad that Butterstick won't come out to play.
Kim is also sad. Sarah is still sad. I'm not sure what's going on with Libby here, but I'm pretty sure she's also sad deep down.
We try to console ourselves with learning all about Butterstick and his family. Somebody brings up the even more sad fact that in two years, we will have to send this little guy back to China. "How exactly do you ship a panda?" Laila wonders out loud. "Yeah," Libby chimes in. "Is it boat? Plane? Can you FedEx a panda?"
"As long as it's not USPS," Kim adds.
As it turns out, it IS FedEx.
We met Zookeeper Mo, who told us the Zoo Secret-- that despite the hype, it's really quite easy to get tickets to see the pandas, especially when it's cold. Just show up at 11:00 and claim the no-show tickets. We thank him profusely, and I'd like to think our politeness inspired what happened next. A zookeeper decided that since we were such a nice, polite crowd, she would pick up the snoozing Butterstick and parade him across the enclosure for us!
EJ takes bad pictures, but in her defense, she was a little excited. Oh yeah, and she blames her camera, too.
I'm pretty willing to bet that if we had been pushy yuppy bitches they never would have taken him out, but apparently taking pictures with frowny faces did the trick. So the moral of the story is, pout and you'll get your way.
After The Stick's curtain call and subsequent curling up in a rock pit for yet another nap-- being that cute is CRIPPLINGLY exhausting-- Mama Mei Xiang was nice enough to stroll into the enclosure to check on her barking cub and knaw on some bamboo. Of course, she completely ignored us.
Mei Xiang cannot be bothered to entertain you. There is bamboo to be eaten. Take her photo if you must.
And so, pandas seen and lunch hour successfully frittered away, we skipped out of PandaWorld and went merrily on our way, panda-monium achieved!
The mood is markedly different. Butterstick is nature's upper for Kim, Sarah, Laila and EJ!