Worlds largest Panda Breeding Centre

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
Three Gorges Hostel over looking the Yangtze

Flag of China  , Chongqing,
Sunday, April 25, 2010

Up early again as the Giant Panda is most active in the morning. I started to get ready to check out of the hostel getting my things together but Erica was adament we only had to check out at 12 so demanded we do nothing until we got back, the age old arguement of me being too early for things and too prepared and the Lady leaving everything till its so late that a major panic ensues. We left at about 07:30 and drove for about 30 mins to get to the research centre.

We started with Red Pandas, then saw the adults and juvenile Giant Pandas, before moving on to the baby Panda's and really emotional Panda film about breeding in captivity. Erica was nearly crying at the film. We had that much of a good time we almost considered the 1000 Yuan (100 Pound) to hold a panda and have a picture taken with it.

We got back from the pandas late which only gave us an hour to get lunch (bearing in mind no breakfast and we wouldnt get to Chongqing till later). After ordering a bit of lunch I got the keys to the locker and ran up to get the passports and start packing my stuff. The keys Erica had given me didn't appear to fit the padlock. I went and asked for the others, she didn't have any others. After frantically searching we were now about 20 minutes until we had to leave for another expensive train journey. Erica insisted I must have locked the keys in the locker, as I had done in the rucksack incident. I resorted to the pen knife which again did nothing. I ran to the hostel staff to ask for bolt crops and a 3 minutes conversation ensued to try and explain (a) the problem and (b) the solution. I ended up grabbing hold of the guy and dragging him upstairs who arrived with a tool kit and suggested he was not 'a professional' so I should do it (i.e. he couldn't do it). I tried for about 5 minutes then when he was gone did a terrible thing and broke the locking mechanism off with the padlock still stuck to it. We managed to get our passports and other valuables. There were no other keys so we played the blame game for a while in hysterics now that the panic was over. (E suggested I left the keys in Manchester, I suggested she lost them).

Anyway despite the delay and panic (and the fact that we damaged a piece of someones property rendering the locker unusable which I still feel guilty about) we caught our first bullet train, the maximum speed of the trains is reported to exceed 350kmh.
We arrive in Chongquing and realised that we couldn't remember which Youth Hostel we were book in. We did however manage to find another huge internet cafe full of men playing online games (these places are mad loads of people shouting whilst stalking people on line with guns).

Trying to explain to the taxi driver and policemen where we wanted to go took about 15 minutes and after following the map we pretty much found the hostel ourselves, thanks to myself and Rorie. Another incredible hostel, two floors up overlooking the Yangtze river with a big balcony. We were approaching a very difficult few days as we now had no future bookings but were trying to book a cheap and quick Yangtze River Cruise (most last 3 -4 days) and head over to Shanghai. We had no internet and couldn't speak Chinese so it all became so much that we decided to just have a drink, some food and enjoy the views. We had twice cooked pork, some spicy duck and KungPao Chicken a local dish.  Delicious. 

A few problems now with no charge in camera no space on memory cards and no internet means we have very few pictures and so are stealing of Rorie and Emer at some stages. We also went walking through Chongquing which is really interesting, 'the mountain city' the locals call it and we absolutely loved the 'old chinese' feel of the area we were in. Rorie's video that I will download starts to capture what I mean by this.
Lots of outdoor butchers and cooking stalls, as well as a beggar that had what can only be described as the most tumerous leg you have ever seen (his foot was about 6 times the size of a normal foot and on a funny angle and one leg was about 3.5 feet long). I would have loved a picture and decent donation to him but I think I was overruled as it was pretty cruel.

We ended up watching the pleasure cruisers go past lit up reflecting on how china was blowing our minds. We ended up booking a bus at 7am followed by a hydrofoil (speed boat that pops up out of the water) followed by another bus. The hostel also booked us a 2 star hotel as there are no hostels (and no tourists) apparently a man would hold up Andrew when we arrived (something that gave Rorie a great deal of ammunition for some fat jokes).

We all slept in a six person dorm and all awoke at one point in the night to hear the scuttling of tiny feet above us I think we are all convinced it was a rat.

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