Our trip from Xi’an to Chengdu would have been on a Chinese Domestic airline. From everything we’ve heard, it may have been an adventure in and of itself. Getting people to line up and sit in the right seat is supposedly a challenge. I guess we’ll never know.
A few days in Chengdu are well warranted- there are many wonderful things to see and do in this ancient area. While we planned to see many of those sites, we’re going to focus on the PANDAS! I know, gripe all you want, but we’re tourists, thousands of miles from home – Show me the Pandas!
While there are a couple places you can visit, the gold standard is the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. It is a non-profit facility with the goal of breeding, researching and conserving giant pandas, as well as other rare animals – including red pandas.
There are thought to be about 1,850 giant pandas in the wild, plus another 200 in captivity. In collaboration with partner facilities and zoos worldwide, they are working to increase the population.
So, since we couldn’t be there to see them in person, we went with option number two and we just got our own. Meet Pen Pen – our very own giant panda.
Wei Wei says: When life brings you bamboo, chow down!
So after our Panda fun, we would have spent some time checking out some of the area sites. Which ones, you ask? I don’t know, because our plans grew sketchy with the tremendous rains and flooding in southern China. In fact, we likely would have had to change a good portion of the itinerary. Take a look at the photos below to see just how much flooding we’re talking about:
This is the Leshan Giant Buddha. It was carved into the hillside in Leshan between 713 and 803 AD (during the Tang Dynasty) and is 71m tall. Notice the water level in the right picture, the water is actually covering part of his feet.
The entire area suffered from similar flooding. From news articles, it seems that there was much damage and clean-up from all that water. We wish the people well in their efforts.
However, since we are not in the area, we didn’t have to work around those issues. Instead, we just had to come up with a few new recipes for our dinners. And come up with recipes we did!
Our culinary treats included Egg rolls with a dipping sauce made with Chinese five spice powder and Hoisin sauce, General Tso’s Chicken meatballs with Lo Mein, Roasted BBQ pork, and Mongolian beef and noodles. All of the meals were gong ringers and delicious.
While our movie selection is limited, we did sneak in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”. Also, while not a real depiction of Chinese people, I indulged in “Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum” on a rainy day.
So we’re off again, our final stop would have been in Shanghai. It’s another one of those must see places when visiting China. We’ll see you there.