Travels

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Su Lin and Zhen Zhen – update

Filed in Stress Busters, Travels

I called the keeper yesterday for an update on the two girls. I was surprised to learn that Su Lin is doing better than Zhen Zhen. She is eating her leafeater biscuits from SDZ, and the local bamboo, apples and carrots. Zhen Zhen is still excitable and eating the local bamboo. Both are exploring their new yards and climbing the trees in the yards. The keeper is having a hard time getting them started on the Sichuan dialect, but it’s only their second day here. I asked if I could volunteer to help with being the English translator but she said probably not as the girls are in quarantine, which they take very seriously here.

Su Lin and Zhen Zhen arrive in Bifengxia

Filed in Stress Busters, Travels

And I was there to see them arrive and move into their quarantine enclosures.

Here are some photos:
Su Lin & Zhen Zhen return to Bifengxia, September 2010

Bifengxia, September 2010 – Pictures

Filed in Travels

Photos and videos uploaded so far to Flickr:

Bifengxia, September 2010

Culinary (mis)Adventure in Ya’an

Filed in Travels

So there I was, telling Judy and Elise over dinner that I don’t eat food from street vendors when I travel. Three hours later, I was writhing in pain, spasm after spasm cramping my stomach. There were moments of ease when I was misled to think it was over, but no, it would be back, on and off, for a few more rounds.

I’ve been eating good so far this trip, joining Annette and Yenis who took the panda keepers to lunch and dinner, depending on who was free for which meal.

Yesterday evening’s dinner was organised by the Pandas International tour group to thank the Wolong Research Centre and Bifengxia Panda Base staff. It was the second dinner I’d had at the same restaurant in two evenings.

I can’t pinpoint which dish caused my discomfort but most of the dishes were spicy, and I’d eaten moderately. Still, I would upchuck not only my dinner but lunch and breakfast, too, later on. I upchucked until there was nothing left to upchuck. Maybe my stomach just needed cleansing.

At one point, I wondered if I needed to go to the hospital. In the end, I didn’t. After all, I’d come prepared with my arsenal of proven Chinese meds. But I had to bypass the first line of defence, the po chai pills, and go straight to the second line, the fok heong jin hei pien, which helped with the upchucking. It helped cuz the upchucking eased the discomfort.

This is the second time I’ve had such serious tummy cramps while travelling. The first time was last month when I visited Guilin for Feng Yi’s birthday. For that upset, I knew exactly the cause – the Hunanese dinner I’d had with the panda team in Guilin.

I’m better now, but will rest today, and unfortunately, miss a day with my giant pandas, and also the opportunity to see the PI tour members sweeping panda poop, and gathering leftover bamboo.

Major :-(

Have arrived in the rainy city of Ya’an

Filed in Travels

I spent about 5 minutes waiting for a taxi and then remembered where I was – the Ya’an Tourist Bus Station. I know this station! No need to wait for a taxi – I can walk to Ibis Hotel from here! And so I did. It was raining so I took out my umbrella (a gift from the hotel during my last trip) and went my merry way in the direction of the hotel.

So Ya’an lived up to its nickname, “Rainy City”. But Chengdu was raining, too. In fact, a heavy thunderstorm had delayed my flight’s landing and we had to remain airborne for about 20 minutes before getting the clearance to land.

I don’t know how long I took to walk to Ibis Hotel. But when I took out my HJ-113 to see how many steps it was from the station to the hotel, I was surprised to see I’d walked enough to register some aerobic steps, too. In fact, I’d walked 1,024 steps in 10 minutes, about 102 steps a minute, which is way about the 60 steps required to activate the HJ-113’s aerobic step counter. Not bad, considering I was pulling an 18.6kg rolling luggage behind me and I also had a backpack filled with books and my netbook. I guess this is the senior citizen’s version of the strong man challenge?

At the hotel, I was greeted by a familiar face behind the hotel’s registration counter. She said she’d give me a room with a view, but it has turned out to be more than that. My room on the 7th floor is right next to the corridor window which looks out to the street and its star attraction:

The above picture was taken in March this year, and I’m looking forward to seeing the “Christmas” tree again this evening.