January 30, 2007

Pandas and the Hell Ride...
I went to see the Giant Pandas near Chengdu at the Giant Panda Research Centre, which was really cool. You have to get there early, because they eat in the morning and sleep most of the day to save energy (they can only digest about 4% of the bamboo they consume!) We were able to get fairly close, and see panda cubs, sub-adults, and adult pandas. Definitely recommended.
I just got off the train from Chengdu to Kunming. It was 20 hours of pure, unadulterated, non-fun. I could only get a hard seat, and the seat was hard. Imagine sitting on a piece of wood for 20 hours, and trying to sleep. I had to stand up at least once every 2 hours to be able to feel anything. Sleep didn't come very easily either. Normally I can sleep sitting up decently well, but every 20 to 30 minutes all night long someone would come by with a cart selling something, or the police would shout something into a megaphone, or the baby would cry, or everyone would wake up and start shouting. It wasn't helped by the fact that everyone was spitting, half the people had bad sounding coughs, and that most of the men smoked right underneath the "No Smoking" sign. I'm hoping not to get sick. I know what to expect on a Chinese train, but it was worse than that 12 hour Xi'an to Beijing hard seat.

4 comments:

Jim said...

Ouch! Even my butt feels sore. The pandas look great though. Cool looking mist.

Stephen said...

Ya, it was perfect weather. There was some mist, but not too much so that you could still see the pandas.
I did get sick. I was going to see the stone forest today, but it's a bit rainy so I think I'll just sit in a cafe and sleep all day. Hopefully I'll get better soon!

Anonymous said...

what awesome photos, is there a barrier between the pandas and the onlookers?

Stephen said...

Yah, but it's not too wide, and there are no bars. Their area ends, then there's a big drop off and a wall that they can't climb. It's quite clever actually, because the pandas can do down into the ravine, but they can only climb back up to their area again.