We went to the expo tonight after having dinner with Lloyd and Bonnie. We were able to breach security without meaning to, it was weird because there weren’t gillions of people to follow so we knew something wrong. We only went to one exhibit, Human Footprints, which was over the top, we tried to make it to the China exhibit, but took the wrong ferry across the river and made it too late. People wait 8 hours for that one, so it was probably a long shot. Going at night was really amazing with all the lights, but walking I felt very tired. It will be hard to leave tomorrow because we have more to do, next time…Shanghai is very interesting, has great food, and our hotel is in a very interesting tree lined neighborhood.
Today was most defiantly one of our busiest days. Im just going to talk about some of the amazing foods. For lunch we had the famous Shanghai hum bow and for dessert we went to haagen das.
The Famous Shanghai hum bow looked like regular on the outside, but completely different on the inside. The meat was swimming in a juice. When you bit into it the juices squirted out. Its a secret to how these special hum bows are made. I have to say that the food here just keeps getting better and better. It was the most scrumptious hum bow i have ever eaten in my entire life.
After walking around town, we found ourselves at a haagen das. This haagen das was very different. There were couch chairs and fancy menus. You could eat in or out. We ate in because if we ate outside our ice cream would melt. There was a assortment of beautifuly displayed ice cream plates. We had a fruit dish and chocolate dish. Ill try and post a picture later. Im simply to tired to describe the ice cream in the full detail that it deserves.
Today we went to visit my old orphanage that only had three kids left(that were all disabled) but the orphanage is also a retirement home so there were many old people there. When we were in the front of the orphanage there was a banner that said “Welcome Tai ChunJing Family Return Visit to Welfare”. When the orphanage director took us out to eat everyone called me Tai ChunJing(they named me that when I was in the orphanage, Tai meaning my home town and ChunJing just meaning “Quiet Spring”) In the orphanage there was a five year old boy that had problems with his ears and could barely hear and couldn’t talk. Then there was two seven year olds girls that had mental and physical disabilities.
– Sara(aka Tai ChunJing)
The orphanage (I know this is out of order)
The new orphanage was really sweet. There were a bunch of decorations on the walls and pictures hanging. One of the teachers there met with us and asked me about my interests. Then she gave us a tour. We went to two rooms. One of them was for disabled kids. In the room they were doing amazing arts and crafts. Because they were disabled the teachers were trying to find them a useful talent, art. They did intricate stitching, paintings, and many other crafts. It was remarkable.
Today was a big day. We went to the Chengdu panda base, the bamboo park, and the mask theater.
The pandas- feeding time was 9:30 so we were up early. The pandas are really pampered here. They have an air-conditioned room, for when it gets to hot and sometimes they hold ice cubes to cool off. They also get special moon cakes that have vitamins in them.
I was the first one to hold the baby panda. We were given gloves jackets and plastic covers to wrap around our shoes. Then we sat on a log bench and the zookeeper put the panda on our laps. The panda, even though still a baby, weighed 25 kilos. He was big and chubby and his hair was very coarse. The zookeeper put honey on his paw so that he wouldn’t get freaked out about all the people. The whole time I was there, the panda was licking its paw. Then after a couple pictures were taken the zookeeper lifted the panda and put him on the next persons lap. When they lifted him up he made the sweetest little panda sound I had ever heard. I felt incredibly lucky to hold the baby panda and still cant believe it happened.
On top of seeing the pandas, we also saw red pandas. For all of you that don’t know what a red panda looks like, look them up on google images and you will fall in love with them. Sara and I were the only ones to hold the red panda. They were much smaller and instead of honey they ate apples. Their fur was about the same, only a bit finer. The red pandas were so adorable. I cant even begin to describe the experience. It was extraordinary and I will never forget it.
the bamboo park- This specific park was full of local people. It was interesting to see what the locals did on a normal day. It was very relaxing and we had massages, tea, and ear cleanings (Yes i know it sounds really weird, but it actually felt good)
The mask theater- This was a magnificent show. There are less then 30 people that know how to do the mask changing. In about a second they change from one mask to another. The real magic was changing their outfits. It took as long as changing their masks. It was amazing. In the time that it took for a huge fan to pass them by, they had changed their complete outfit. They didn’t even move their heads. Im itching to know the secret, but if one of the actors tells anyone the secret they will be sentenced.
We had a crazy day
Today was our last day here. We spent it horseback riding through Tibetan villages. Our horses were much smaller then we were. I felt sorry for them, carrying people almost as big as they were. There were also swarms of and it got very annoying. They weren’t the best horses I’ve been on but it was still really fun. About half way into the trip there was these kids and their mother letting us hold lambs, pet the lambs and take picture with the lambs. When we were done horseback riding we went into a Tibetan house. In the Tibetan house we had butter tea and barley cake.
Somehow during the day funerals came up in conversation. Lisa (our tour guide) started to tell us about the four different traditional funerals. There is the sky, fire, water, and earth funeral. And even thought the topic is not light it was very interesting to learn about. The sky funeral was my favorite. When the person dies they carry it to a high mountain. Then they wait for the vultures. The Tibetans believe that the vultures are holy birds; they only eat the meat of dead animals so therefore they have pure souls. The vultures come and eat the body. Then fly to the sun and deliver the spirit to the gods, to be re-incarnated. In other words the soul is carried to heaven. The earth funeral is for the bad people. Tibetans believe that if you are buried in the earth you will descend to the underworld and you will not be re-incarnated. I found this very interesting. I would love to learn more about the Tibetan culture.
We are in Jiuzhaigou. Today we went to see a forest national park. It was so beautiful that I couldn’t believe it was real. The water looked as if blue tie-die had spilled into it and the mountains looked like they were painted. In the lakes there are trees still growing. The trees fall from the mountains and the minerals preserve the tree in the lakes. It looks magnificent. There are entire trees under the water, just growing. The water is completely transparent for about 9 meters. Everything was flawless. The air was actually cool and the sky was completely visible, unlike in Beijing. It was the perfect day for the perfect view. I took at least 150 pictures there. We saw waterfalls, lakes, mountains, and forests. One of the lakes was called the Panda Lake. Lisa (our tour guide) told us that the first giant panda to be ever spotted was in Jiuzhaigou and they have seen sightings of the giant panda drinking water from that lake. The park was unexpectedly the best place we have so far visited.
We are all exhausted and desperately need one night of good sleep. Tomorrow we are going to see more parks and then at 5:15 we will leave to Chengdu. I cant wait to see the pandas!
Becky and Family