1/27/10: Xian, China
I’ve been to China at least four or five times since moving to the States as a wee little Zhou, but I can’t ever recall seeing pandas, so when I saw that our Xian hostel had a “Lovely Panda Tour,” I excitedly pointed it out to Kevin. “Let’s go see pandas!” I said. “Weeell – I’d rather not. Let’s do something else. We can see pandas anywhere,” Kevin declared. Really, Kevin? Anywhere? I don’t think so.
After being convinced that no, we would not see pandas in any other country, Kevin reluctantly agreed to book the tour. And so it came about that we and six other panda-loving folks crammed into a minibus early this morning for a two-hour ride to the Shaanxi Rare Wild Animal Rescue and Research Center. We got to see five or six older pandas snacking on bamboo and snoozing in their pens, but the highlight was seeing 18-month old pandas Le Le and Qing Chuan. Have you ever seen a little panda try to run? I have, and it has topped my list of Most Awkward Yet Adorable Thing Ever. Yep, moved right past Chinese babies bundled up in winter clothes but with their little butts showing through that gaping hole in their pants. Le Le and Qing Chuan put on quite the show for us, and even Kevin’s stone-cold heart melted a little. But enough from me – I’ll let them tell the story.
LL: Hey Qing Chuan!
QC: Ouch – geez, Le Le, watch where you’re going, would you?
LL: But hey! Look! There’s people over there! I think they have bamboo!
QC: Yeah, ok, but – ouch – hey! Le Le! Can you please pay attention to what you’re doing? Your foot is on my eye!
LL: Qing Chuan, it is people! And they’re taking pictures of me! Hurry up and get over here!
QC: I’m coming, I’m coming.
LL: Awww come on people, give a panda some bamboo.
LL: Sweet, I got some! But please, no pictures right now. I just don’t look my best when I’m munching. Really, people – no pictures.
QC: Hey Le Le, help me get up on the wall so I can get a closer look at these people.
LL: Munch, munch – k, munch, munch.
QC: Oh man, Le Le – there’s tons of people out there, and they’ve got more bamboo! Smells great…
QC: Um, Le Le? You still there? … Le Le?
LL: Wheeeee! Look at me! I’m climbing! I’m up so high on this tree!
QC: It’s just a branch, Le Le. You’re two inches off the ground.
LL: Whatever. Man, I’m exhausted from all this climbing. Qing Chuan, let’s go back to that sunny spot and take a nap.
QC: Ok, but let me finish this piece of bamboo first real quick, and then I’ll meet you back there.
LL: Hey Qing Chuan?
LL: How come people don’t eat bamboo?
QC: Well, they probably don’t know how good it tastes.
LL: Oh… Let’s not tell them then, ok?
QC: Sure thing, Le Le.
Pictures of the Day: Wal-Mart. In Xian! Incredible.