giant pandas

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My one-in-a-million photo

Filed in Stress BustersTags: , , ,

During my first panda volunteer trip, to Wolong Panda Centre in September 2007, there were four pandas I knew and was up close with, the three I was helping to look after – Ling Ling, Hai Zi and Xi Xi – and my adopted panda, Feng Yi. I made sure to ask the names of the pandas I was looking after; years from now, I wanted to remember not just that I helped look after pandas, but who they were. There were also others I knew by name (from the Web) but did not actually see, or if I saw them, did not know who they were.

During my free time, I would walk around the Centre, look at the other pandas and photograph them. In my photographs from that trip is a set showing pandas in outdoor yards on the other side of the breeding centre. I had worked at the breeding centre (aka maternity ward after the breeding season) as Hai Zi was in confinement there, and Xi Xi was thought to be pregnant and was living there, too. The yards were connected to the rooms in the maternity ward, so these pandas in the yards were either new or expecting mothers.

I recently showed these photos to a good friend who has a knack for recognising pandas. She identified each of these pandas to me. Among them was a panda who would never be photographed again. I got three photos of this panda, and here’s my favourite, and probably my one-in-a-million photo.

Unknown to me at the time, I had photographed Mao Mao who will never be photographed again because she died in the 2008 earthquake that devastated a big part of Sichuan Province and caused extensive damage to the Wolong Panda Centre.

This photograph was taken on 9 September 2007. Wen Yu, her last cub, was born 15 days later on 24 September 2007.

Checking in

Filed in Stress Busters, TravelsTags: ,

I flew to Guilin this morning. The flight was at 6:25 a.m., which meant I had to leave for the airport at 3:30 a.m.! Insane, but the KL – Guilin flight was not the only flight at that hour. LCCT was crowded with people waiting to fly to Macau and Colombo, too.

So, 4 hours later, I arrived in Guilin and after another 90 minutes, I’m in my hotel room. I’d booked the Guilin International Hotel, it’s actually the second choice, after the first choice was fully booked for the dates I’m in Guilin.

I selected both hotels based on proximity to the Seven Star Park. As it turned out, Guilin International, altho more expensive, is the better hotel cuz it’s closer to the Park. How close? The lady at the front desk said if I wake up early enough, I can jog there. Haha, do I look like a jogger to her? For sure, I’ll walk there.

Seven Star Park is the reason I’m here in Guilin. There’s a very precious resident inside the Park – my adopted panda, Feng Yi. She was moved here last December with another panda, Mei Xin. Her move to Guilin means I can’t see her when I go to Bifengxia. It also means I have to make separate arrangements to visit her. But on the plus side, it means I get to visit and know another city in China.

My hotel room is NICE. I’ll post pictures later. Right now, I need to go look for food.

Yes, the fact that I’m posting means the hotel offers free Internet access in all rooms. Most hotels in China do. I’ll also be posting more on my blog during this trip cuz there’s no access to Facebook and my blog is linked to my Facebook account. If you’re reading this, please post a comment so I know the link is working.