Me-go: Around-the-World

Giant Pandas and a Good Cup of Tea


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Chengdu isn?t somewhere where there are a lot of sites to see, but it?s a large city on my way South to the Yunnan Province. From Xiahe I took the same 6-hour bus ride back to Lanzhou followed by a train ride that lasted over 20 hours. On the bus I sat next to a traditional Xiahe woman who smelled like yak butter and threw up into little baggies. A little boy and his grandpa, wearing his traditional blue government-issue jacket, slept in my section on the train. The little boy was completely terrified of me.

The Sichuan Province is mostly known for it?s spicy cooking and giant pandas. Although I?m pretty sure I?ve seen pandas in a zoo in the U.S. I thought it would be interesting to see a large number at once. China?s breeding center in Chengdu is considered a ?national treasure.? It?s a bit better than foreign zoos but not nearly as advanced as a similar facility would be in the Western world. In the video we were shown the workers didn?t even use gloves when picking up and treating newborns. In the section housing young pandas a worker teased one panda so they would beg on their hind legs for food–I don?t see how this is helping with reintroducing pandas into the wild. In any case, the pandas were awfully cute.

Chengdu also has a large number of tea houses. A temple I went housed hundreds of people talking and drinking tea. When I wandered around the complex I saw people singing in a small orchestra, lots of older people playing board games and checkers and women dancing in unison to an accordion. It seemed as if people really were enjoying the last sunny afternoon of the national holiday.

Tomorrow I plan to take a bus South to Leshan and Emei Shan before heading South into the Yunnan Province.

2 responses to “Giant Pandas and a Good Cup of Tea”

  1. Kimberley Avatar

    Okay so I finally went through and read all of your updates (instead of skimming over them in your LJ) Wow. Your adventures are so amazing. I don’t even know what else to say, I’m awestruck!

    I hope the food is treating you better now!

  2. Kimberley Avatar

    I just got through looking at all of your recent pictures. How about some of you, like Megan at the Great Wall of China? 😛