Adorable Pandas And Lots More

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 31, 2020

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Where I stayed
Ane Grand Hotel

Flag of China  , Sichuan,
Thursday, April 7, 2011

Chengdu is one of few places you can see Pandas and also has a World Heritage listed irrigation system close by, so we chose this as a stopover point between South Korea and Tibet.
It is a bit disconcerting in these times of active earthquakes around the world, to be standing right in the epicenter of where a 2008 earthquake rocked the Sichuan Province, killing (at the Government's estimate locals believe more) 200,000 people and leaving millions homeless. We did not come to Dujiangyan (close to the city of Chengdu)  for this, but to see the world’s oldest surviving and still in use irrigation system, which survived the earthquake and has been listed by UNESCO as World Heritage.

The irrigation system was built between 306 BC and 251 BC and we enjoyed walking around the site with our Chinese guide Kam, as he explained the workings and how it has irrigated the Chengdu flood plain for over 2,000 years.

Our plane had arrived in Chengdu, China from Seoul Korea two hours late. It was a bit of a concern as we were to be picked up from the airport and there was not that lovely sign, with our names on it waiting for us. We have booked our China and Tibet travels with a Chinese company, "China Absolute Tours" who we have used before when travelling in China. We could not find anyone who spoke English or was willing to help, so very different from our latest experiences in Korea! We had a phone number, but not the right area code. Eventually we spotted an English speaking person in the crowd, who luckily lived in Chengdu and rang on his phone the number we had. Our guide WAS in the airport, just waiting at gate two (near the luggage arrival) for us instead of gate one where we were!

Kam our guide took us to our downtown hotel and after dumping our bags, we went out for a walk around to get our bearings and an evening meal. The place we ate at was on the 8th floor of a shopping complex and we loved the very smartly uniformed lift attendant, complete with black leather boots, a red wool suit and a jaunty cap, who marched out of the lift, signaled going up and listing what was on each floor. We loved the theatre of it all! Reminiscent of lift girls in the 60's, in Oz department stores.

Our visit to the Panda Breeding centre was excellent and we enjoyed the antics of the toddler age Pandas.

A two hour train trip takes us now to Chongching where we will then board the two day and two nights train to Lhasa, Tibet,  

Footnote: Mount Quingcheng and the Dujiangyan Irrigation System are UNESCO World Heritage listed. The Chendu Panda Research Center has been granted United Nations Global 500 Environmental Programme status.
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