Tuesday, November 4, 2008


(I have finally convinced Penny to write something up, our lovely visit to the Panda Breeding Centre in Chengdu)

Pandas start subtly appearing on signs, cartoon pandas dressed in overalls, giving us a friendly, humanised reminder that we have arrived in the panda capital of the world, Chengdu. We wake up early and I drag Jamie onto the bus to the panda breeding centre. Giant statues of pandas welcome us (at least these ones aren't wearing clothes) and our first stop is the panda nursery, where baby pandas lie in incubators, looking just like the soft toys in the shop. We are shoved out of the way by a self-important guard and finally work out that the hundred or so guards in the park aren't actually there to protect the pandas, rather to shield a VIP from the dangerous likes of us. Actually it turned out to be a VVIP, according to the egotistic numberplate on the car as it drove out and we were finally allowed to look at the pandas again.

They stuff their faces with bamboo, kindly provided by the panda nutritionist, and panda beauticians comb their fur. Panda scientists run around, obsessing over the romantic lives of the pandas. One (male) scientist states in the information movie “I can deeply identify with their maternal instincts”. Perhaps taking it one step too far......

1 comment:

Bob McKerrow said...

Great you got to meet the Pandas.

Safe travels in the weeks ahead.