May 29, 2015 (Chengdu, China) Saturday was a beautiful day - warm, blue skies and sunny - a rare experience in Chengdu. Today we went to the Panda reserve which is in the outskirts of Chengdu. Its a really impressive place, where they started with six giant pandas and now have bred 138 new ones and saved quite a few from the wild. They say there are about 2000 world wide. They divvy them up into Adult, teenager and kindergarten pandas - obviously the smaller ones are cuter and more active. Giant pandas eat up to 100 lbs of bamboo shoots a day!
In the afternoon we went to Pixiang - a town 40 minutes from Chengdu we’d visited 5 years ago for the Blindness Prevention Program. It is an area that was devastated by the earthquake and when we went there, they were in the process of rebuilding their hospital, so we worked out of temporary MASH-like facilities. I remember the trip well - they were very hospitable and we had a great time with them then. Last night the hospital president hosted us and toured us through the old city, a Confucious temple and then to this amazing
flower garden village the community has developed.
In the afternoon we travelled to Pixiang - a town 40 minutes from Chengdu we’d visited 5 years ago. It is an area that was devastated by the earthquake and when we went there, they were in the process of rebuilding their hospital, so we worked out of temporary MASH-like facilities. They again were very hospitable and we had a great time with them then and now. Last night they toured us through the old Pixiang, a Confucious temple and then to this amazing flower garden the community has developed post earthquake. Its a retreat area (built after the earthquake) and is called Mother Farm with a village style hotel. Before dinner we went for a long slow walk through the flower farm. Really impressive fields (literally fields) of sunflowers, lavender, and a bunch of other flowers I couldn’t name. Really quiet and peaceful place with lots of Chinese ladies running through the fields of flowers, taking selfies. Hence the floral theme of photos…. After a fabulous Sichuan style dinner last night, a bit of mandatory Karaoke with its endless list of sad Asian love songs. 😊 I finally broke down and
did a cameo performance of Elvis’ Heartbreak Hotel. The work starts in earnest tomorrow morning!
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