Saturday, April 19, 2014

Pandas, pandas, pandas!

Our prime reason for visiting Chengdu was to visit the panda preserve there. Chengdu is the panda capital of the world. It has a large research station and breeding ground located very close to the city and apparently is the focal point of managing the 1,600 remaining pandas in the world.  It was opened in 1987 and then opened to the public in 1995.  China does a magnificent job with it's zoos and animal preserves.  Lots of anaimals so there is always something to see. We arrived in the morning which is the best time to see the bears and we were not disappointed!

I was able to hold a young panda and the experience was amazing! The employees are very careful with the care of the animals and anyone holding a panda was required to put on a gown, plastic gloves and shoe covers. This little guy was perfectly happy in your arms as long as he had a stick of bamboo covered in honey. Talk about fuzzy! This "little" guy was born lst August. In terms of panda babies he has come a long way in these 8 months

The baby pandas that are old enough to be put in the public enclosures spend much of their time in the trees. Naps are taken there and all kinds of playing much to the entertainment of those of us watching them.  They have so much personality!  The panda I held is probably one of these.

There were all ages of people visiting and this one was one of the cutest.

These are "lesser pandas" and they were the size of very chubby foxes and quite striking.  And yes, they were loose and walked the same trails as the humans. We all moved out of the way quickly when they passed. Notice the claws.

Life is quite stressful for the adults as these pictures attest.

Most of their diet consists of eating bamboo. Since they only digest 20% of what they eat, they spend much of their time eating. The employees spend much of their time washing and preparing the bamboo sticks. We had a great time there!

Friday, April 18, 2014

A visit to Chengdu

Changdu has been on our "to visit" list for quite a while and this past weekend a group of us made the journey to southwestern China and visited this beautiful city.  We had a great time seeing things we had never seen before and enjoying each other’s company. Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan Province
and has over 14,000,000 people and lots to do!

Here are some of the highlights of our visit.

This is the garden at a highway rest stop.  Much more impressive than rest stops at home.


These pictures were taken behind the rest stop where there were beautiful terraces of tea plants.  The tea harvestors pick the tea leaves and collect the harvested tea in baskets they wear on their backs.

This giant Buddha is located on the river running through town. The size was immense.

Most of the afternoon was spent traveling through the town and spending time in little shopping areas and walking through a part full of people and lots of activities.

This flower shop almost took your breath away with its colors and variety of plants.

Was he real?  Yup!

Since the panda preserve is located in this city (the next blog) you could shop for panda items to your heart's content.

Several of these pieces of art were photo worthy. So fun!

Not sure which was bigger - the dog or the shoes...

I had no idea that  huskies liked the poodle look.

This town was koi heaven. Paul found many he wanted to buy.

This lovely bouquet was made out of hand blown sugar candy. They really were quite pretty.

There were lots of activities for kids in the park from balloons to artficial walking and jumping.

Writing on the cement with water is often done and it really is beautiful. Here is an example of a "beginner" and a very accomplished artist.

Both of the above ;pictures are very intersesting and quite unsusual to westerners. These signs and posted papers are efforts by parents to "advertise" their children to others who might be interested in marriage. We have no idea how effective it is. But the kids are too busy working and if this is the only way to become a grandma, well they will advertise as necessary.

Everyone is out for a good time and dancing to the loud music was both a favorite activity and spectator sport.

Where's Mom??? (ummm....where is the back of my pants.....)

Typical traffic jam on the way home - this gives gridlock a new meaning.