Our adventure started in Chengdu which was perfect for me because I got to see pandas for the first time! We went to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding which was about a 30 minute taxi ride from our hotel. Click here to learn more at their website, and go to the visitor’s info section to figure out how to get to the park.
It was more crowded than I expected for a weekday morning, but it was nice walking the scenic pathways before fighting the crowds for panda viewing time.
I’m learning that I have to be a bit more aggressive in tourist areas in China if I want to get through crowds or see things. It’s not in my nature, but you gotta do what you gotta do. And, I wanted to see pandas! I’m trying to work on a skill I would like to call polite aggression. Can that be a thing?
Pandas survive mostly on bamboo which provides few nutrients to their body. So, they need to eat a lot of it! They also have to avoid using too much energy. Eat a lot and chill all day? Pandas are livin’ the good life.
Seeing the pandas was awesome! Pandas are just so adorable, baby or adult. Most of the pandas were eating, sleeping, relaxing or doing some combination of these things. And, they mostly seemed to prefer to do these things away from the eyes of visitors. But, one panda , called Yuan Yuan, came and hammed it up for the cameras. You better believe my camera was ready and that I snapped a completely unnecessary amount of basically the same picture.
Pandas eat almost 30lbs of bamboo a day but can only digest around half of that. It seems their systems are more similar to carnivores than omnivores.
In Chengdu, we also checked out Jinli and People’s Park. Jinli Street is a street surrounded by a mix of old style buildings, modeled after a traditional style town from the Qing Dynasty, selling food, drinks, trinkets and other random things. On Jinli Street, I tried a couple of snacks, explored some shops and was also able to catch a shorter performance of the Sichuan Opera at a teahouse.
Sichuan Opera is especially known for its face-changing routine, stunts, brightly colored costumes and quick, dramatic movement. I was told the performance was quite lack luster compared to the major, larger perfomances. But, since we didn’t have time to attend one of those, I was happy just to get a glimpse of what the Sichuan Opera is all about.
People’s Park was a nice area to take a break. We sat by the water and could see crowds of fish that were obviously used to being fed by visitors. After our adventure in Chengdu we left Sichuan Province and headed to Shaanxi Province for a quick visit.
Starting and ending with a panda seems the best way to go. So, I’ll just leave you with this…