The ninth day of our trip was the day Ro and Ree had been counting down to for months. Oh the excitement, Panda Day was finally here and we were heading to the Chengdu Panda Base!
They drew pandas on their iPad drawing pads and emailed them to me, lest I forget that we were seeing the pandas:
Aunt Jane and Uncle Bobby stopped by our hotel room the morning of The Big Day and brought panda vests that made the girls squeal with pure joy. I don’t know if they’ll ever take these little cuties off:
The panda base in Chengdu was immense and so beautifully done. I was kind of picturing something like a zoo, but it was nothing like that – large (I mean really really big - 262 acres), open, and full of trees, bamboo, and toys. This is just a tiny part of one of the panda areas – it was so large that we probably only saw 1/4 of the whole reserve:
Awwww. I might need to frame this one:
Our travel group of panda lovers:
Couldn’t you just watch these guys all day? So cute, and really funny little personalities. They started the panda base with six giant pandas rescued from the wild and now have 83 pandas and counting (7 babies were born this November and I’m not sure if they’re included in that number yet):
The girls nearly keeled over when they saw that one of the pandas had been named Panpan, just like their beloved black and white hamster:
The baby pandas were adorable. No other word to describe them:
This playful character was sleeping in a tree when one of the trainers tried to coax him down. The fuzzy giant toyed with that dude for at least 20 minutes, pretending to start down, then stretching upside down, then flipping over:
Ro got to hang out with a twin panda named Shuang Xi. As soon as she sat down, the panda looked at her, leaned over, and licked the side of her head. Ha! We now have a genuine crusty panda spit mark on that hood and can never ever wash it:
Then Ree got to sit next to Shuang Xi. No head-licking took place this time, much to Ree’s chagrin, but there was a lot of panda love in that room:
This little cutie was a red panda. Didn’t even know there was such a thing, but he was Ree’s favorite:
The panda reserve was worth the wait. The pandas were so dang cute, really active, and just plain fun to watch. They sat there in their bamboo-filled areas munching away, making us and their handlers laugh, surrounded by smiling crowds.
We ♥ pandas!
After the Chengdu panda extravaganza, we stopped at a local park (Bamboo Park) to relax for a little while.
Some of our group had tea in the park teahouse, some (including Jane and I) got vigorous table-side massages for 50 RMB (yay!!). Oh man, those massages felt wonderful – our shoulders and necks were so bunched up after being in hunched over in crazy cold weather for a few days and carrying around purses, backpacks, and cameras.
The park was a lot bigger than it looked from the street. There were paths everywhere and interesting sights around every turn – here a Chinese musical group, there a grove of men practicing the Chinese yoyo, over there fierce table tennis matches.
After Bamboo Park, we headed to the airport again and flew to Guilin for a one-night stay in a hotel there.