Posts filed under Travels

Three Pandas

Filed in General, Stress Busters, Travels

This trip to Bifengxia Panda Base, I’ve focused on just three pandas – my two adopted pandas, and the two pandas coming to Malaysia.

Wait … that’s four pandas, not three. Well, there’s an overlap. Feng Yi, one of my two adopted pandas, is also one of the two pandas coming to Malaysia.

Today was the last day of this trip, and I went to visit Feng Yi in the morning, and Gong Zhu in the afternoon. Fu Wa, Feng Yi’s neighbour, was included in the morning visit.

Feng Yi, adopted panda coming to Malaysia

The keeper told her, “only one piece of wowotou!”
She replied, “one piece here … ” (pointing to one palm) and “one piece here … ” (pointing to the other palm)

Fu Wa and Feng Yi at the howdy fence

It was a treat to see them interacting from Feng Yi’s side of the fence, altho she was walking away in this photo

Fu Wa, panda coming to Malaysia

Looking a little lost here, as if wondering, “where did she go?”

Gong Zhu, adopted panda

Pausing in her ‘booing to give me a bye-bye smile

Happy Birthday, Gong Zhu!

Filed in Stress Busters, Travels

My beautiful Princess

She’s 14 today and I got to be with her this birthday.

I’d adopted her in September 2008 after my first volunteer trip to Bifengxia Panda Base in August that year. I’d helped to look after her for a week during that trip. After I returned home, I thought about it and decided to adopt her.

Here … well, almost

Filed in Travels

“Here” is not quite this trip’s destination, but enroute cuz it was an evening flight, arriving too late to continue to Ya’an so I stayed a night in Chengdu, at a place called Traffic Inn located just behind XinNanMen bus station where I take the bus to Ya’an.

Checking out Ya’an’s weather while waiting for the “toast, butter and jam” breakfast at Traffic Inn

The sign says "BIfengxia" but the actual destination is Ya'an.

The sign said “Bifengxia” but the actual destination is Ya’an

Now I have arrived in Ya’an and checked into Ibis Hotel. I got a room with a view of the bridge. Lunch in a while and then up to the panda base to see my adopted panda, Gong Zhu – it’s her birthday today.

A child’s life remembered

Filed in Travels

Child’s backpack, dictionary and crushed soccer ball recovered from the earthquake that hit China’s Sichuan Province on 12 May 2008, and on display at a mini memorial in the Visitors’ Centre in Shuimo Town.

From the display, I think all three objects might have been recovered near one another, and belonged to the same child. I said a prayer for the child’s family when I got back to my hotel room.

Shuimo, one of many towns destroyed by the earthquake, was reconstructed only two years later, and is now held as a model of earthquake reconstruction. Participants of Wolong Panda Club’s 7th Hug My Baby event were taken there for a visit on 19 September 2011.

This is my second close-up encounter with the earthquake. While flying home from my September 2010 trip, I sat in the same row with an earthquake survivor, and had a brief chat with him. I wrote about it here.

Trip Update

Filed in Stress Busters, Travels

We’re at the tail-end of Mollie’s “Great Panda Adventure”. We were in Fuzhou on 16 and 17 August to see Basi, Long Fei, Lin Yang and Zi An, and in Bifengxia Panda Base between 18 and 24 August for her to see her San Diego “babies” – Hua Mei, Mei Sheng and Zhen Zhen.

Since there would be no access to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube while in China, I thought I would be updating via my blog. But just before I left for the trip, I learned about a Facebook feature that allows photos or videos to be emailed to a Facebook user’s account. So I activated the feature and used it to email in some photos. As a result, I did not use my blog to update about the trip.

Mollie finally got to see her babies again – Hua Mei after 7 years, Mei Sheng after 4 years and Zhen Zhen after nearly a year. Her fourth baby, Su Lin, is in old Wolong with her own newborn cub.

I got to see my adopted daughter, Gong Zhu, and her 2010 cub (from a distance, he was up in the trees).

We also got to see the usual Bifengxia attractions, including the cubbies. Usual for me, but Mollie’s very first time.

We also participated in the 1st Joint Birthday Celebration of Wolong’s Overseas-born Pandas on 21 August. 21 August was also Hua Mei’s 12th birthday; it was the reason Mollie visited Bifengxia at this time of year – to celebrate Hua Mei’s birthday.

There were 6 birthday cakes for each of the 6 overseas-born pandas – Hua Mei, Mei Sheng, Fu Long, Tai Shan, Su Lin and Zhen Zhen. A total of 6 keepers and 18 volunteers participated in the event, with 1 keeper and 3 volunteers per cake (decorating and presenting to the panda). Each of the 5 pandas in Bifengxia got their cakes while Su Lin’s cake went to the four cubs in the same “neighbourhood”. I asked for Mollie and I to be allowed to do Hua Mei’s cake. And so we got to deliver the cake into her enclosure and to watch her come in and … reject the cake. Instead, she was more interested in the bamboo platform that supported the cake.

More photos here.

The celebration was covered by the local media, and we appeared on the local TV news, becoming “international media stars”. Here’s the coverage.

We’re off to Chengdu very early in the morning to try and see Atlanta-born Mei Lan at the Chengdu Panda Reserve. And then, it’s homeward-bound, me to Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, and Mollie to San Diego, California.