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Panda Research Base

Wednesday, January 1st, 2003


An early morning one-hour ride on Sam’s Guesthouse bus took us south of Chengdu to the Panda Research Base where China is trying to keep the Giant Pandas from disappearing into extinction. It was fun, even though the air was freezing, to watch the adolescents play…tumbling…climbing…scrapping with each other. It was interesting to watch these toy-like herbivores sit up on their haunches selecting and eating the leaves given them by the park attendents. But the newborns in the nursery window absolutely stole your heart away…delighted chattering Japanese children watching the babies adding to the magic.

You can see the pandas two thirds of the way through one of my China’s videos here.

New Years in Chengdu

Tuesday, December 31st, 2002


The sleeper train from Kunming to Chengdu takes about 18 hours and passes through more than 200 tunnels. It took 10 years to build the railroad…mostly by political prisoners…and looking through the train windows many of their graves can be seen high on the hillsides.

New Year’s Eve
This is not cold compared to Omaha Nebraska in the winter…but it’s damn cold! We were in a triple in Sam’s Guesthouse…and it was damn cold!

After a good Western dinner at “Granmas,” giving homage to the Western New Year, (Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, is on January 28 this year) Jana and I curled up in bed in our comforters and hot water bottles…no we weren’t in our hot water bottles but we would have been if we could have been…

Bob went out in search of the New Year in China and found himself the only reveler 20 minutes before midnight at a “party” in an empty room at the Holiday Inn complete with appetizers and favors. He didn�t stay long, lamenting “It’s hard to party by yourself.” But the evening quickly picked up as he walked into Mao Square to find several thousand Chinese counting down the New Year (in English) while watching the Square clock hanging on the side of a building just to the right of Mao’s head…then giving a short cheer and dispersing unsentimentally 30 seconds afterward…which, hating to say goodbye, is what the Chinese do after any social occasion. Bob was back home…yes, hotels have become home…twenty minutes after midnight.

Ruili China

Saturday, December 28th, 2002
YUqE3FCf1Hd9CjfG1qqmt0-2006171132705308.gif Coming down out of the mountains we were happy to see Ruili lying in the green lush valley below...a larger city than I thought...a Chinese/Burma border town with a mix of Han Chinese, minorities ... [Continue reading this entry]

Zhondian to Baishuitai

Friday, December 6th, 2002
jWLtBzsBGHTUmbHjYHypj0-2006185073225366.gif Friday Dec 6 2002 There were no street lights so we walked the equivalent of several blocks to the Zhongdian bus station in the dark to catch the 7:50am bus for Baishuitai. While waiting for ... [Continue reading this entry]