Advantages Spectacular critters, well cared for
Disadvantages They looked a bit bored - someone get them a TV
There are some things I don't recommend doing in what we might euphemistically refer to as 'less developed countries'. These include drinking anything with ice-cubes in it, eating sushi, showing interest in something you don't REALLY want to buy and going to zoos. I once had the chance to see the Giant Pandas in Beijing but the thought of seeing how animals were kept in a country that scarcely gives a damn about its own people, put me off and I went shopping instead. So normally if I saw a zoo on a list of a destination's highlights, you wouldn't get me in for love or money. But in the case of Darjeeling's zoo, there were two magic words that forced me to abandon my prejudices and put this on my must see list. Those two words were 'Red Pandas'.
We set off from Chowrasta, the central square in the middle of the city, and took the road to the left side of the statue of the poet that marks the end point of the square. We passed the tourist office and the Windamere Hotel and followed a vague pointy sign towards the zoo. When the road signs ran out, I checked my useless map and decided we ought to come off this main pedestrian-only road and head down towards another prosaically named 'Hooker Road'. But all attempts to do that led us to a jaunt through what appeared to be lots of people's front gardens and eventually after lots of 'Told you sos' from my husband, we turned back and slogged up the hill again, back to our original road and carried on plodding down the hill. Much to our relief, we eventually saw more signs to the zoo and the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) and eventually we arrived in the right place.
|Is it worth visiting?|
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