Chengdu … Because Pandas!

Following the important visits to YueYang and Changsha, we will spend the rest of our China vacation being pure tourists. So, of course, we had to go see the Giant Pandas.

IMG_4983Chengdu actually turned out to be a very pleasant city, with lots to see beyond visiting just the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Although we didn’t see the pandas until the second day, we’ll give you those pictures first!

We had originally hoped our “panda plan” would include a visit to a more remote authentic panda reserve, but an earthquake a few months ago altered our trip.

The Chengdu Panda Base is a sprawling city zoo, focused on Giant Pandas and Lesser Pandas (the “red pandas,” which are are actually closer to raccoons, but cuter).

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In the hot summer months, pandas — like tourists — prefer to remain indoors in their air-conditioned rooms. We did get to see them, but they weren’t as active or close to us as we might have hoped. Fun, nonetheless!

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IMG_5165We also had a great lunch at the Panda Base, although this restaurant was a little more “Americanized” than the other authentic places we had eaten. Food was less spicy, and they even served french fries!

Immediately from the beginning of our stay, our guide “Jack” become famous for his food orders, which easily could have fed the entire Martin clan — all 14 of us, twice! — had the whole group come along.

After lunch we walked around Swan Lake watching hungry fish fight for food. These guys could have used some of our leftovers.