Did you know that Zoo is one of the hard words for Chinese people to say? Any word that starts with Z is tricky but Zoo is a hard one. It’s one that I repeated over and over again to my students as well as my Chinese friends.

Today I wanted to go to the Zoo!

Oaklawn Farm is Nova Scotia’s largest zoo with the largest display of “Big Cats” and “Primates” in Eastern Canada. It’s about an hour drive from our home and we decided that a nice Sunday drive to Ayelsford in the Annapolis Valley to check it out would be fun. This small zoo, more like a large farm was so terrific. Very clean…the animals, the cages everything. This is a huge difference after visiting many Asian zoos over the last few years.

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Loved this camel! It was so clean and friendly compared to the camel I rode in China.

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Oh…and the Capybara 🙂 Funny animal. Saw lots of these in Brazil.

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Ya’ll come back now!



Back to my “Happy Place”

Wulihe Park is the biggest river-bank park in the city. This is the park that was close to my apartment last time, this is my MOST favorite place in the city, this is my “happy place”

There have been many, many renovations done here since we left and since we landed in Shenyang, I have been antsy to get here and check it out. Today, David & I went for a drive, picked up a bean paste bun and a bottle of water at the market and had our first mini picnic in the park. TODAY, the skies were blue with fluffy white clouds ( not always the case here) the birds were chirping, a gentle breeze was blowing…I only wished I had brought a blanket to put on the grass by the river for a siesta after our lunch. It was so nice to get back to my “happy place” I can’t wait until we are back in Eastern Venice!

Zoologico de São Paulo

The Zoo of São Paulo was established in June 1957. Many of the  animals at that time came from Manaus in Northern Brazil close to the Amazon.T he opening of the Zoo, scheduled for January 1958, had to be postponed due to heavy rains that year ( typical São Paulo weather), but on March 16 officially inaugurated the São Paulo Zoo. The Zoological Park of São Paulo provides entertainment, conducts research and works for the conservation of the species kept in captivity, besides awakening environmental awareness. There is a Zoo Safari as well as a Zoo.

The Zoo and Safari covers an area of ​​approximately 900,000 m², besides hosting the native species and has a population of about 3,000 animals, represented by numerous species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. Among these animals are very rare species and endangered species. It was a great zoo and we had fun checking out the wildlife!

What a cutie!
What a cutie!

TChau Baby!

Volta Redonda ZOO…..

A very HOT Saturday and we decided to go to the Zoo! Maybe not a great idea, I forgot that the hot sun is not only exhausting for people but for animals as well…

Zoologico Municipal de Volta Redonda is about 40 minutes from Resende. It is the closest Zoo in our area and we thought we would check it out. We discovered that the Zoo is undergoing renovations and upgrades… a half a million dollars to be spent in the next 3 months or so…some of the venues weren’t open but we had fun exploring a bit…talking to the monkeys and the birds, seeing turtles, iguanas and alligators and the HIGHLIGHT of the adventure…

…On our way out of the park to FINALLY see a real toucan in the wild! They are fascinating and are definitely my new favorite bird!!! For sure the highlight of my day 🙂

Do you see him? Sitting on the beam beside the light. So cool!!

Today we are just relaxing in our air conditioned condo. We planned to go to Rio to the beach early this morning but when I woke at 5am, I was very dizzy once again and have been that way most of today…Hmm? Best not to travel the winding mountain road feeling like that.  Oh, well…I guess it’s nice not to do anything besides I need to feel better because we have an exciting trip planned for next weekend…stay tuned!!

10 Days To Show James The Place We Call HOME in Brazil: DAY 3

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHTS: Explore Itatiaia National Park and See The Waterfalls and MONKEYS!!

David’s schedule got switched for today so instead of 4-12 he is working 2-10. Great on one end because he gets off early and home to sleep because Friday we leave for Rio, but because he starts for 2, it means we need to go to the park earlier than planned and have less time there. Oh well! Gotta do what we gotta do to get everything jammed in 10 days!

Itatiaia National Park was established in 1937 and is the oldest national park in Brazil. It is located on the border between Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais states and is not very far from Resende. This is the park that has beautiful waterfalls and we wanted to make sure James saw them. We had lots of fun climbing over rocks and around falls taking lots of pictures and just enjoying our time together.


When we go to Itatiaia Park there is always the possibility to see real wild monkeys. It is so exciting when we do because they are not in cages but in their natural environment. Today we saw monkeys!!!!





They didn’t come down and play like they did last time, but then we didn’t have peanut butter squares this time either!

By the time we were finished exploring the park, James was hungry and we decided he needed one of the famous burgers from Pontto Caffe. They are delicious with beef,bacon, melted cheese, fried egg topped with lettuce and tomato on a slightly toasted bun. Yum!

James and I shared an Acai treat and David had to go to work. This evening James is going out with a friend from Lunenburg, NS who is here visiting a Brazilian friend whom he met when he was training at Michelin in Canada. Since both James and Jamie are here they thought it would be fun to hang out an evening. That’s perfect because it will give me chance to tidy the apartment, do some laundry and pack. Tomorrow we leave for Rio for the weekend to do all the famous Rio things!

Have a great afternoon!!

Parque das Águas

Parque das Águas, created in 2000 is more of a walking park then it is a water park, well the way we think of water parks. The “water park” is located in an area where studies have found excellent water quality existing under the ground on which the park/recreation area was built…thus the name Parque das Aguas.

Parque das Aguas is just around the corner from where I live and lately has become the favorite morning walking spot for the “Resende girls” We usually meet at the park at 9:30 and walk for a couple hours. The park is a series of paths, and I am not actually sure how far it is to do one loop, but in 2 hours we can do quite a few.

Parque das Aguas

The park is different from where I was used to walking in China ( I like Wulihe better) but it is a great alternative and with the sidewalks and roads being in such disrepair here in Resende, I suppose it is a safe place too!

The park has outdoor exercise equipment much like China, as well as more traditional equipment that would be in a gym. Most days they are being used.

Outdoor exercise equipment similar to China

more traditional gym equipment

There are three wells in the park, where people stop and get fresh clean water, and outside the park is a place where many residents in the area come to fill jugs of water.

water fountain with delicious drinking water
fresh water at the Parque das Aguas

There is a pond, and playgrounds, supposedly free wifi, washrooms and a canteen.




The thing that I really enjoy is the wildlife. There are lots of interesting birds there and this week we have been amused by a couple. The female bird has laid 4-5 eggs(its hard to tell for sure) on the grass close to one of the concrete borders. The male stands guard close by, not too far off. On Monday, there was a grounds keeper raking and the female was squawking and the male, being the protector, kept squawking and making swoops at the grounds keeper to chase him off. The grounds keeper was smiling ( obviously he is familiar with this) We were intrigued and watched the whole situation. When we tried to move in to get a better picture, the male eyed us and started to make a run at us! Very interesting! The last few days the male hasn’t been so aggressive but he makes sure he keeps his eye on us!

Female sitting on her nest
Protective male
The male doesn’t wander too far…very protective!
Better duck because the male was swooping in!

There is also a cute little owl that occupies a particular tree. It is so cute and tiny it almost looks stuffed. It is pretty good about letting us get close to snap his picture but there is a boundry line…Pam found that out when she stepped on the bench to get closer!

Owl keeping watch from his tree
Isn’t he cute?

And of course lots of other little birds and flowers…

Unusual bird

When we walk the circuit the mountains are the backdrop…I really do live in a beautiful place!

Love the backdrop!