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Published: June 22nd 2012
I have to admit that the first time I was sad was being dropped off in this huge metropolis with not much to do at 2pm. I took a nap and then screwed up my courage to venture out on the streets of Chengdu. It almost never sees the sun as it is in a basin and the smog of pollution creates a permenant haze of gray. When we drove an hour away through the countryside it did not change.
Anyway, I found a bakery coffee shop and a fruit stand to buy apricots and bananas. That was all I needed to lift my spirits. And I had no idea all that God had planned for me the next day.
The next day: I almost missed feeding the baby panda.
I truly can't believe it but here I am at the panda preserve. After I saw many pandas and took many pictures, I wanted to feed a baby. But, we had to wait for three hours as we missed the first feeding time.
My guide, Ben, thought I was not interested. I know that he didn't want to wait. But I looked at him and remembered what
Bettie Buss said to me. It is once in a lifetime. Do what you want. So I said that I c ouldn't leave China without holding a baby panda.
Ben was so good about it. We walked around a beautiful lake with black swans and loads those colorful carplike fish. Then we had a wonderful meal.
We got back to the baby panda area and there was a group of students from Univ. of Cincinnati. 2 boys talked with me and that was nice.
Someone said there was a band there. I said hello as we we in line together. We talked a little about music and they said they weren't that much younger than me.I said I grew up in Motown snd they agreed that the 60's were the best music. The name of their band was Extreme. I laughingly asked if they we famous enough for me to take their picture and they said no. I took it later when they were with the panda. Later, in the car, I looked them up on the Internet and in the 90's the sold over 10million records worldwide. Their lead singer played with Van Halen.
I had not missed the first feeding I would not have talked to the boys from Cincinnati or met the band.
It was the most incredible day. I would pay the money again to hold the baby panda. He tried to suck on my hand and the trainers got very afraid. They were feeding honey on a bamboo stick to keep him entertained. It was wonderful. I also got a tee shirt and a video of the birth of a panda and a certificate in a folder like you get with a high school diploma.
We went on to see beautiful gardens in the city of Chengdu honoring the famous poet, Dufu, who dates back to 700 ad. I think. Interesting story. I saw his humble home where he wrote, called the Thatched Cottage.
Then we went on to a walled area that honored an ancient emperor, Liubei, and his Prime Minister. I learned some great history.
Finally we went to the most beautiful walled walkway of gardens and shops called Brocade Street. The city was famous for brocade in ancient timetodo the river was named it and this area. It seems a world away from
outside the wall where it is a bustling city of 13 million.
We did not get back until 7:20 pm. Watched "Back To The Future". It was fun to see again.
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