Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Pandas at Chengdu

Our Friend Suzan got to hold a red panda

Bev was very excited to touch this live food machine

Two cubs hiding out

This mom is 22 years old, old for a Panda,
the child is an adoption from a set of twins.

Overview Map of the Research Center

One of the sites that Bev has wanted to see ever since we knew we were going to China was the Panda's of Chengdu. We were able to go to the largest research station in the world. It is entirely dedicated to the wellfare of the endangered giant panda. There is more information at this website. Chengdu Panda

The morning of our second day in Chengdu we left our hotel with our local guide, Leah. I renamed her. She introduced herself as June and told us her Chinese name. Then she told us that she did not like her English name at all. She gave it to herself since her birthday is in June. She thought it sounded like an old name. Her Chinese name has a part that sounds like Lee. I told her my name also had a Lee and I thought that Leah would be a very pretty girls name. Well she became Leah. She had new business cards printed with Leah on them which she gave us on the last day we had with her and we called her Leah for the three days we were with her. That is the second Chinese person I have named. What fun.

Ok so we traveled to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding center. We planned our arrival so that we would see Pandas eating and active which they are in the morning. We spent almost 3 hours there. It is like a large zoo with basically only one animal. The pandas spend much time in very natural habitats that are similar to the wild. They have a total of 87 pandas, that is a lot considering that only 1500 approx. are still alive in the world. Most all of the ones in the wild are in the province of Chendgu, the Sichuan Province.

Well the big highlight of the morning was when we came to one spot where they were allowing a very few, like maybe three or four, people actually go up to a Giant Panda and stand next to it, touching it with a gloved hand. Of course Bev had to do it and she was allowed to. I turned my camera over to one of the personnel and they took pictures. Her total time with the Panda was just under 2 minutes. They did get some cute pics. Bev said the hair was very course feeling, kind of like horse hair. Ok so your wondering why Bev got to do this and others did not? Well there was the donation to the Research Center!

Some of our friends were able to hold a Red Panda for a minute and get some pictures. The red Panda looks much more like a racoon than a Panda. Anyway we know have Panda pictures and stuff including a very informative video.

I will be adding a short video I shot, as soon as I can get it uploaded.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Spring Trip

Click to see a larger version

This past week we were able to take a vacation. We took the first 7 days of our 9 day vacation to travel in China. Our trip was with several other couples from the school. The map shows you the relative location of the areas that we toured. We flew from Shenhzen to Chengdu in the Sichuan province and spent 3 days there. We took a train to Chongqing, you may know it as Chung King, where we boarded a cruise on the Yangtze River over four days to Wuhan, then we flew home. We had drivers, tour guides and local contacts throughout the trip which made it very enjoyable. Our accomodations and meals were wonderful. We learned much about China.

I am going to show over the next few days some of the sites that we were able to see. Let me just say this was an amazing trip. We saw a very different China from our Shekou and Shenhzen home town.