Panda'ring to the crowds

Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
Trip End Jan 04, 2012

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Where I stayed
Lazybones Hostel
What I did
Visited the Pandas!

Flag of China  , Sichuan,
Saturday, August 20, 2011

Drinking and early starts never mix but in the case of a chance to see the Pandas even a little hangover couldn't stop us (Kate smartly hung back on her Long Island Ice Teas to prevent the oncoming pain I had to put up with).

Roads relatively empty, but for a few tourists in taxis venturing along - the bus with the bouncy suspension took us the short 7 mile trip to North-East Chengdu and the Panda sanctuary. Before I get to the 'awww...but aren't they cute bit' - what is the point of this place other than dragging along a species that should be extinct ("what a horrible thing to say" they cry). The Panda species is 8 million years old when 'an average' species lasts 5 million years. But here is a place devoted to pairing up Pandas and dragging them back from the verge. If Daddy Panda isn't sociable enough to chat up Mummy Panda then don't worry, the humans will step in and help out and provide a perfect environment for introductions to take place. Should the not so inevitable occur and the two Pandas make a connection as it were, as Daddy Panda officially has a small penis, it will probably not be an efficient interaction anyhow. Thankfully, scientists can step in and with "massage and electrical stimulation" collect the good stuff from Daddy and inseminate Mummy Panda. The massage and electrical stimulation solution is apparently the best solution after trying different approaches - no kidding. I can just imagine Daddy Panda sitting back while numerous scientists trying different pleasure stimuli on him such as 'Play-Panda monthly' while giving him the time of his life. No wonder he ain't too keen on getting it on with Mummy Panda.
If the artificial insemination works then Mama may even hurt her baby as it is 1/1000th the size of her and apparently looks to her like a screaming ball - the more you hit it with your big paw, the more it is likely to stop crying in Panda-logic. Scientists roll in and take Baby-Panda away for some hand-rearing.
Once all this is sorted there is the problem that Pandas eat tons and only use 20% of what they eat, and hence have to laze around being ineffective to save enough energy to be unworthy in the sack with mummy Panda. How they hell are they still here?!
In survival of the fittest, the Panda should be gone and forgotten but step in a rule that Darwin didn't think up - I call it 'Martins principle of Cuteness', which states "If a species is in fact useless, don't worry, as man will keep it going, selling merchandise galore but if and only the species satisifes man's cuteness factor of laziness combined with fluffiness".
Sadly the Dodo was not so blessed.

Good tour, great to see many Pandas chomping away looking chilled as if they haven't a care in the world (they don't really) and well worth paying the money a hostel asked to get taken early and seeing the breeding centre from the start of the day before the crowds desperate to cuddle up to a near extinct fossil clog up the paths. The Red Panda has been added to add some colour to the place & their lively playfullness makes the Giant Panda look like a cute Grampa with all the little kids scamping about.

After catching up with some sleep post Panda Breeding Sanctuary, we went for a walk around the People's Park in Chengdu and experienced the nutty collection of locals blaring out different types of music within metres of each other. Some would sing, some would be dancing. others it appears just freestyling. But it was fun. Being able to walk 10 metres and hearing first an opera singer, and then a set of old chinese trying to dance to Micheal Jackson was an experience to remember and could only be topped when we walked further round the park to hear a Chinese rendition of Auld Land Syne quickly followed by Jingle Bells while we chomped on some meat on a stick in the 32 degree evening sun.
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