|The big event of the day was going into the panda reserve and breeding sanctuary. We could see pandas in the sanctuary but for a donation we could actually play with some two year old pandas. We had to put on plastic boots, robes and gloves but well worth it. After lunch we visited a really nice old village, but we just talked about the pandas. This evening we said good-bye to Dale. She got to play with two pandas but she took her camera with her so no pictures. We will definitely miss Dale.
What an experience! The pandas were darling little bamboo eating machines. Putting on the gown, gloves and booties brought back my old surgery memories. Then my panda must have sensed my occupation, for she immediately assumed the position for her annual GYN exam (see photo). I assured her that would not be necessary today. It was truly an extraordinary opportunity to be able to touch their fur and to be so close.
The region where the panda perserve lies is lovely and mountainous. The hillsides ar forested with bamboo groves, which sway beautifully in the wind. It rains quite a bit up there, so the vegetation is lush.
We will miss Dale, who will be flying back to the USA tomorrow early. She was a delight to travel with, and was very cute with her panda.
Tonight, Peggy and I braved the streets of Chengdu on our own and ventured into a SiChuan hot pot restaurant. You order meats and veggies raw and throw them into a boiling pot of hot oil, chilis, peppercorns, ginger, and other mysterious items best not observed too closely. We survived, and I am sure provided the local habituees with a great deal of entertainment.