Sunday, March 25, 2007
A sleep-in morning the bus didn't leave until 9 am. We drove about forty minutes to reach the Panda Sanctuary. There we spent about three hours strolling around the complex watching baby, teenager and adult pandas frolicking in their natural settings. Two of our group paid the $100.00 fee for the privilege of actually holding a baby panda. Four of us paid $8.00, me included, to hold a red panda long enough for photos. They are much smaller in size and look more like a raccoon than the traditional panda bears.
[This world heritage site was extensively damaged in the massive earthquake in China on June 6th, 2008.]
A great experience and definitely lots of photo opportunities for everyone; the weather cooperated again and although rain was predicted; it was only overcast and we could go in short sleeved shirts. Some of us learned more than we needed to know from the film that was shown as part of the tour about procreation and the birth process. But, they seem to know what they are doing as they’ve doubled the panda population over the last several years. There are now nearly two thousand pandas worldwide.
Lunch was at another Chinese restaurant where we were the only tourists; still on the lazy susan but a different selection each time that we have a meal. So nice to just sit down and eat what they put in front of us. About half of us are using chopsticks regularly; we won’t say who is not using them very often.
On the way back to the hotel we saw a WAL-MART SUPER STORE. Everyone snapped a photo! I worked on journals and photos and Jim joined about half the group for a tour of the local flower markets this afternoon. Tonight we are having a western style dinner…no lazy susan…and we each selected our meal from a choice of four menus before leaving the bus after lunch. I chose pork chops and most importantly: ice cream for dessert!
We are up at 5 am tomorrow for an early flight to