Chengdu

This past week I went to Chengdu with all but one of the Davidson students. While there we got to see pandas, which was the main reason for going to Chengdu in the first place! However, on our way to the panda reserve we ran into heavy traffic. The traffic was caused by a car crash. This crash was not on a busy road, it was actually on a long rural road running up a mountain not too far from the panda reserve. We thought that the walk wouldn’t be too long so we got off the bus and walked to the panda reserve. However the walk was a lot longer than we thought so we ended up paying a local guy to drive us in his mini-bus to the top. While the rest of the distance wasn’t too long, the road twisted and turned up a steep hill. When we got to the top we all stopped for lunch before heading to the reserve. All of the pandas were very cute. We saw adult pandas and baby pandas. The baby pandas were sleeping and the one year old pandas were either sleeping or lying on their backs eating bamboo. Some of the adult pandas were also sleeping, and some were just walking around, not doing too much. One thing I thought was amazing was how the pandas were able to climb up a tree and rest on its branches. Pandas are so big it amazes me that the small branches of the trees could hold an adult panda. I was also amazed by how they were able to balance on the branches. As much as I love going to zoos and seeing animals it always makes me sad seeing animals in captivity. Although there are good reasons for keeping pandas in captivity, it still makes me sad to see them in an enclosed space. While there I really wanted to be able to hold one, but then our tour guide told us it was 3,000 yuan a minute. As much as I wanted to hold a panda, it wasn’t worth 3,000 yuan a minute.

 

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While in Chengdu we also went to the Jinsha museum. The museum had on display various artifacts from the ancient Shu state in the Sichuan area. One part of the museum which really caught my attention was the section displaying all of the ancient jade bis. A bi is a jade disk with a hole in the middle, similar in shape to a lifesaver candy, that represents heaven. Bis were also used in rituals to worship heaven and ancient Chinese people believed that heaven was round and earth was square. It was interesting to see these jade bis especially since we learned about them in class. In addition, the museum had various clay pots, small figurines, jade relics, masks, and gold artifacts, including the Gold Foil of the Sun and Immortal bird.

 

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I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chengdu and I wish we had time to stay their longer.

 

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