Friday, 30 October 2015

Sichuan Day 9: ChengDu Panda Base

  Chengdu Landmark  
Going to ChengDu and not visiting the Panda Zoo is like going to Sydney and not visiting the Opera House, or Paris without Eiffel Tower, or NYC without Statue of Liberty (although there's a smaller and original version in Paris), or Tokyo without...eh, let me think, Tokyo Tower...ummm...isn't that a much smaller version of Eiffel Tower? I hope you don't say Yasukuni Shrine! (LOL politely and embarrassingly. Bowing apologetically repeatedly)...don't rush me, I'm thinking...ok, ok, what about the Imperial Palace? Which, in the 1990s, the property value of its ground equaled to the real estate value of the entire state of California, or the entire continent of Australia. The area of each blade of grass on its lawn worth more than the value of your house. No kidding. Those were the days, my friends!



Anyway, you get the drift. Go and see pandas while in Chengdu. It's Chengdu landmark (if you can call them that).

Main Entrance, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
Entrance to Panda Base

  What's in the Name?  
Only 18 zoos in the world in 13 countries have pandas. None of them have more than 4. These logos of WWF (World Wildlife Fund, not World Wrestling Federation) are so precious that they all have individual names. This could be a good or bad idea depending if you can tell them apart. I can't, but then I can't tell Tom Cruise apart from Owen Wilson. I'm terrible, isn't it?

Anyway, you get the drift. Go and see pandas while in Chengdu.


World wildlife fund logo

World Wildlife Fund
logo, World wrestling federation




World Wrestling Federation
Eh....Wild Wrestling Fun ???

If your zoo have more than 4 pandas, chances are, China wants the extra head (attached to the body of course) back. Only ChengDu Panda Base (aka The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding) will have enough pandas to give panda lovers some serious fixes. To see them in the wild, you'll need to get out of ChengDu city and visit Wolong Natural Reserve.

Since I only come down with a very mild case of panda fever, and so ChengDu Panda Base, which is nice and close to the city, will do me fine.


  Panda Diplomacy  

panda cigarettes packetHere's a little story of how the Chinese Panda Diplomacy got started (for those who are interested).

On her 1st visit to China in 1972, the American 1st Lady Pat Nixon visited Peking Zoo, and saw some pandas there. Of course, she was instantly smitten by them like just like everyone else.

During a meeting with premier Zhou En-Lai, when he took a cigarette from a packet of Panda brand cigarette, she pointed at the packet. Zhou asked her if she wanted one. She said she referred to the panda on the cigarette packet. And so Zhou decided to present her with the pandas as gifts (Zhou made no secret about his affection for her). From that smoking misunderstanding, Panda Diplomacy was born.

Nice little story, isn't it (without the cigarettes)? Pandas, aren't they smokingly cute and adorable? I love rhetorical questions, don't you?


  2 Hours in the Lives of Panda  
Usually, pandas don't move much. Maybe I was lucky. I saw quite a bit of actions as you can see from the photos below.

Entry ticket, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China


school pupils, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
School kids waiting anxiously to see the pandas.

Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
Panda loves to put a stack of bamboo leaves neatly into their mouths.   Sometimes they roll the leaves into
something like like cigars and chew it like that.


Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"Wake me up when it's dinner time"

Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
Let's see if there's any fan mail today...
.
Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
Nope...and Santa still hasn't replied my request for a teddy bear.
I have been good this year.


It looks like a good time for a RUMBLE !!!

Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"Hang on! Where's Xinxin ?"
"Where did he go?"
Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"He thinks he's too good to rumble with us!"
"Never mind him, it's just the 2 of us, buddy..."
Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"Wait! Let's stop rumble for a moment, a tourist is shooting us. Face the camera and say cheese !"



Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"Hey, where did you go?"
Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"Peekaboo!"


Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"Hello! Hello! Can somebody help me to get up please!"


Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
Siamese panda?

Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"Combining my 2 fave things: eating and lying on my back"

Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
3 of the tree forks are taken, but there're plenty left.


Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
Panda babies sleeping in the nursery. Like human babies, panda babies sleep a lot. But then adult pandas also sleep a lot.


Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"Honey, I'm home! Give us a hug..."

Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"Nothing quite like a good rub on the rump...yeah...Heavenly..."

Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"Hey you over there! Be a dear and pass me some bamboos !"


Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"Not now! I have a headache!"

Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"A bolster pillow would have been nice. Oh well, a wooden post would do for now."

Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"Don't like to share a bunk with those two. They snore like a pig." 


Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"Let's have a race to see who can get down the ground faster!"


Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"When's the last time you take a shower? You start to smell like a swine! Phew!"

Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
""I'm just wondering...Is there more to life than just eating bamboo and sleeping?"

Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"Hey, what are you two looking at? Haven't you seen a panda before? Now scram!"

Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"What?! Don't look at me! I didn't eat your bamboo!"

Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"Uhmm...these are the finest bamboo leaves I've ever laid my eyes on. Exceptional specimen!" 


Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"Honey...you wouldn't believe what a day I had."


Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"Lower...a little lower..."
Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"Have you found it? I haven't seen it for awhile..."

Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"I give up. I totally give up. What's the use?"


Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"Psst! Psst! You think you can bust me outta here?"


Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"I once caught a fish this big..."

Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"Look what I've found!"

Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"The 3 amigos"


Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"Hello! Can I help you? Are you looking for someone?"


Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"This bolster pillow feels a little too woody."


Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"Psst...psst...come here, let me tell you a secret..."


Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"OMG! There's just no escape from you tourists!"

Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"Oh no...noisy school kids! I guess afternoon nap is out of the question now!"

Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"Which is softer and furrier? The blanket or me?"


Giant panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
"Okay...let's talk peacock."

Whenever you find giant pandas in a given zoo, chances are, you'll also likely to find the red panda. The red panda is also known as the lesser panda by Chinese. And they're both live in similar habitat in China. Red panda are far more shy, and therefore harder to see them.

River Safari in Singapore, for example, has both giant pandas and red panda, living next to one another, practically in the same compound.

Red panda, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
Red panda