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Final Chengdu-Panda Love: It's Driving Me Mad and the Opera

One of the nice things of travelling like I am, without any specific plan, is that I can re-visit places I want to go to a 2nd time-which is why I set off originally to travel without any plan. So yesterday, I left the hostel early, around 7:30, to re-visit the Panda Research Center here in Chengdu.

While the first time I took a bus from the hostel, I used public transportation yesterday. I took the metro for the stop near the hostel to "Panda Avenue", where there is a small building, where I could buy a ticket to the park and catch a shuttle for the roughly 2 miles to the park-and that is what I did.

I arrived around 8:15 or so, and it was drizzling, which was a good thing so the park wasn't very crowded. Unlike Saturday, I was able to view a lot of the pandas without a giant crowd around-I could walk right up to the fence. As the morning went on, the park got more and more crowded. What I enjoyed, and the reason I returned, was viewing the movies on pandas, and going to the nearby museum.

I learned

- Pandas that have twins in the wild often kill or abandon one of the babies, and they quickly die-which in captivity both babies are taken care of (one is taken care of by humans)
- Pandas don't mate easily in captivity. When male and female pandas are brought together they often don;'t know what to do and fight. And the male panda requires a lot of strength for mating-so his small penis can enter the female. So the pandas in captivity are teased by the trainers, with food on a stick, (much like cats are teased by owners with a fake mouse on a stick)-so their hind legs are strengthened so they can mate.
- Pandas are sedentary, and often don't feel like mating, and aren't aroused, so there was actually thought to giving Viagra to pandas in the past.
- With all that-most baby pandas in captivitty are born via artificial insemination.

I also saw all the panda gear for sale, woman with panda headbands, and all the baby pandas sold:


Not everything I learned has to do with panda sex. I also learned that pandas we're poached from China back in the 1930's, and Chinese leaders used to give pandas as gifts-that's when they became endangered. China then began loaning the pandas to zoos for $1,000,000, and any pandas babies born we're returned to Chinese citizens.

I left the research center close to 1:00, and then I went to the train station to pick up my rail ticket for the next day to Chonquing. Picking up a previously bought rail ticket is legit pandemonium-you have to wait in long lines with people buying tickets for the first time, going through schedules-that it is utterly maddening.

After that hour spent, I walked around the area near the hostel, with a large high-end shopping mall, and a Buddhist temple nearby. Then I went to the opera with the hostel-the Sicuan opera-where there is a lot of mask changing, fire breathing, and more strange dancing and acrobatics. This was sort of weird, and interesting but not real exciting. I then walked around, found a place for dinner where I was given noodles, unlimited rice and tea for around $1.50.IMG_0640.JPGIMG_0636.JPGIMG_0644.JPG

Posted by DavidPearlman 15:33

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