Pandas!! and a Chinese Opera to Top it Off

Trip Start Nov 20, 2010
Trip End Dec 01, 2011

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Flag of China  , Sichuan,
Monday, May 9, 2011

We got up early this day as we were to meet our tour group from the hostel we were at in the lobby for our trip to the Chengdu Panda Centre. The pandas are fed at 9:30 and are most active around that time so that's why we had to rise early, to get there in time. The pandas were awesome to see, and of course we took hundreds of pictures! Sadly they give birth in auteum and most of the babies are almost mid-size by spring so we didn't get to see any really small ones, oh well.

There were also red pandas at the park and they were a lot more active than the great pandas and so we stood around their enclosure for quite some time. At the enclosure for the young pandas there was all of a sudden a cluster of people blocking the path and I (Jackie) was the first one to come up to it. James and a couple guys from the UK we had been talking to were behind me and were telling me to push on through, so I did. On my way through I noticed a lot of guys with cameras and a couple with video-camers; I looked around expecting to maybe recognize some big shot but there was just a bunch of older ladies standing and chatting. When I got through and looked backed I noticed James and the other two guys still standing but now smiling and looking into the crowd I had just pushed my way through. I tried looking again and saw no one I recognized but noticed the attention seemed to be on one of the ladies at the centre. When the guys from the UK came through they stopped and explained the lady was Tony Blair's (the old UK Prime Minister) wife, and apparently they didn't think too highly of her, haha. Later James came through and said a lady that was talking to him didn't have very nice things to say either; apparently the group surrounding her had mixed feelings as some stopped to happily chat with her as others stood around chatting about her, lol. Of course we knew nothing about her so we were happy to just move on.

After our panda tour and when we got back to the hostel we had a bite to eat as it was noon and then went back to our room with a couple movies to kill some time before we got ready for the Sichuan Opera we had booked for that night. We ended up both in a deep sleep and then drug ourselves out of bed and got ready.

The opera was fantastic! It wasn't like operas as we know them, it was more of a caberet with a bunch of different acts. They opened with an opera song in chinese with dancers dressed up in chinese style costumes and face paint all whirling and posing around the lady singing and then followed that with a man's opera performance. After that there was a puppet show, a fluter that did a song with bird calls and then one that sounded like ladies chatting wildly (all with a flute-like instrument), a guy that played a string instrument thats like a violin but is held on the knee instead of the shoulder, a hand shadow-making act, a comedy act, and a changing of the faces and costume act. It was all really cool and a definate must-do for anyone visiting Chengdu.
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