Wednesday 21 October 2015

China Part 2.....

We had barely caught up with our sleep when Day Two in China dawned and after fortifying ourselves with a hearty breakfast we met up with the rest of our group for our excursion that morning to the Chengdu Panda Breeding Centre.  You can read more about the centre and their work here.

One of the most endangered animals on earth, there are over 80 Pandas being bred and reared here, in surroundings recreated to resemble their natural habitat.   We saw babies in incubators, you can see in the photograph below the back end of a baby with it's head covered, this is because they tend to thrash about and don't settle if they heads are not covered.
When a Panda gives birth to twins at the centre the staff there only give one at a time to the mother to feed, keeping one in the incubator until she has fed the other one.  This ensures survival of both babies as left to her own devices she would just cast one aside.   Apparently the mothers are none the wiser when the babies as swapped.

Slightly older babies are kept in cots in the nursery
and older still in a larger nursery.

Pandas can't walk until they are a few months old which is why the nurse in the film is moving them about.   Adolescents live together, eating and socialising.

Fully grown Pandas live solitary lives.

The breeding centre also has Red Pandas, which I think look more like racoons.

It's a fascinating place, they have lots of information such as videos showing the breeding programme and the history of the centre.  The Pandas are adorable, especially the babies, and one could spend hours just watching their antics.  Unfortunately we had to leave to go for lunch (another traditional Chinese banquet) before setting off to visit a Silk Factory.
Unfortunately we weren't allowed to take photographs in the silk factory but the tour was extremely interesting, starting with how the silk was farmed, woven and made into the most beautiful bed covers, quilts, clothes and scarves.

We made our way back to the hotel for a short rest and a quick freshen up and change for dinner at another traditional Chinese Restaurant.   This time dinner consisted of lots of different Dim Sum and MWM even tried a local delicacy - rabbit's head!    He had to hold it in one hand and pick the meat off the skull with the other, including the brain inside!  I know YUK!    He said it was quite tasty.  I couldn't believe he tried it, this man that heaves at the thought of mashed potato!!!!

Another busy day over we looked forward to a good night's sleep back at out hotel, with it's great views

and the trip the following day to an old town and the huge Buddha carved into a mountain.  I hope you'll join me for Part 3.

Monday 5 October 2015

China Part 1.....

Well we've been back a week from our China trip and recovered from the jet lag, so let's get going on what we saw and did.

We arrived at our first City, Chengdu, at 11 am local time after a ten and a half hour overnight flight.   No time to sleep just unpack enough for a 3 night stay, freshen up before meeting our group for a visit to Jinli Old Street and dinner.

Jinli Old Street is one of the oldest shopping streets in Sichuan Province, and it can be traced back to the Three Kingdoms Period, over 1,800 years ago. The street showcases the customs of Xishu and the culture of Shuhan (one of the Three Kingdoms from 221 to 263). Most of the architecture here is of the style of the residences in western Sichuan Province.

 Lots of dubious looking street food, some recognisable (rabbits heads) some not.
Fish ponds and little bridges.

Two styles of ntertainment on Jinli Old Street.

Chinese lanterns.

A huge bell.

then onto dinner a traditional Sichuan style banquet, approximately ten dishes with rice, tea and beer or soft drinks, which was delicious.

Fed, watered and tired we headed back to the hotel for a much needed sleep to prepare for the visit to the Panda Breeding Centre early the next morning.  I hope you'll join me for China Part 2.