17th Jul 2012 - 19th Jul 2012
Chengdu: A Tomb, A Giant Buddha and Many Pandas.
After a 24 hour journey we arrived in Chengdu and were greeted with a lot of rain! It proceeded to chuck it down with rain the whole of our first two days in Chengdu. We decided to brave the rain however, and ventured to The Tomb of Wang Jian within hours of arriveing in the city. This was an interesting tomb as it is the only tomb found with carvings of an entire music troupe with a couple of dancers as well. They were all carved around the tomb and each one had a different instrument. It was nice as we could see they had lots of fun back then! We were also the only people there, a huge contrast to the next day!
We had started out that morning for The Giant Panda Research Base, and actually ended up going to Leshan, a town to hours down the road, to see the world's biggest Buddha! Here the crowds were ENORMOUS, almost as daunting as the buddha itself. After waiting in a queue for a very long time we started down a cliff staircase that started at his head. Here we got to see his giant 7m ear! As we descended we saw more and more of the buddha until we were at the bottom next to his toenails that are larger than the average human. As we were taking some photo's we were approached by a lone Chinese man who wanted a picture with Tom. This soon turned into a stampede and Tom was taking photo's with various Chinese people for about 10 minutes!! Lots of people have since done the same making us believe that he is famous in China.
The next day we once again headed for the Giant Panda Reasearch Base bright and early and reached our goal. The first pandas we saw were a group of adolescent pandas all laying on their backs and eating bamboo off their bellies, or sitting muching on bamboo. Next we saw some adults, then headed to the nursery to see the parks youngest inhabitants. These were last years babies and were the actual cutest thing I've ever seen in my whole life! They were playing with each other and one did a forward roll off a raised bench then did one just on the floor!! We had some breakfast then did the circuit of the pandas again and also saw some red pandas which were also very cute, but not as cute as the giant pandas! Once when we were walking around a baby panda was in a tree draped over a branch like a big cat and fast asleep with his tongue hanging out. The next time he was in the same tree but all curled up into a ball wedged into the fork of two branches. He was my favourite.
On the way back from the base we stopped in the People's Park for some tea (as recommended by Emma!) and after refusing the men trying to clean our ears enjoyed some Jasmine tea overlooking the lake. On the way out of the park there was a man guessing people's nationality by writing them on the floor with a wet sponge on a stick just for fun! Further along some music was playing with a couple of women dancing a simple dance and quite quickly more and more people joined in as we watched. The man with the wet sponge on a stick came along and wrote 'fun' and an arrow poiting at the dancing. We LOVE China!
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