Panda's Postpone Pedalling

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Where I stayed
Sims Cosy Garden Hostel

Flag of China  , Sichuan,
Monday, January 17, 2011

A warm room overnight was a treat. We had even rented out a DVD from the excellent Sims Cozy Garden Hostel.  Sometimes you come across a real gem, this place is one of them.  The well travelled owners have set up a hostel which ticks every single box for travellers.   DVD players in all the rooms is one of them and American Pie 7 was just the type of trashy film we were in the mood for.  We woke early and stumbled downstairs to meet up with the group that was off to the Panda Research Centre.  It was a bleak and cold morning and as we drove through the Chengdu rush hour traffic the snow began to fall again.  By the time we reached the centre we were very excited about seeing China's national treasures.  They did not disappoint.

We spent a good three hours watching pandas.  The research centre was well designed and a centre of excellence for Panda conservation.  The animals themselves were incredible.  At first sight it really does look like they have just dressed a few people up in panda bear costumes but as you spend time watching them munch away on bamboo you see them as the personalities that they are.  Only 1500 remain due to human activity and economic growth in China and it was a joy to see so many up close.  Of course the sad fact remains that most of these will not take to reintroduction into the wild but at least they look happy enough in a great environment like this one.  We were also lucky enough to see Red Pandas, a very different looking animal but equally adorable.

A huge amount of our time was spent watching the cubs in the nursery.  They played around, climbing and wrestling and provided the biggest dose of 'cuteness’ I think I have ever seen.  On the way out we enjoyed the 15 minute film which covered the mating process (not easy with these unwilling solitary beings).  Amusing Chinese translations on how to extract Panda sperm using electronic devices, punctuated by bursts of Enya, were washed down with a frozen finger warming Hot Chocolate.

We had agreed that today would be our departure, back on the bikes and pedalling off on the 5000 mile trip to Singapore.  However, snow and Panda excitement was prompting us to have a rethink.  It did not take much discussion to decide that we were not up for it today.  We would be up against it for time and we were already so cold and wet  it would not be an enjoyable afternoon battling our way out of China’s 5th largest city.  We were also not sure what the guy, who we had left to fix our bikes, had been up to all morning.

We returned to Sims Cozy Garden Hostel to find our nice little Chinese man had really done the business with the bikes.  Both gear rear cassettes had been replaced and the bikes were running beautifully.  What a result, we were ready to pedal off with everything working perfectly.  However, it was still blimin’ cold so here we are, sitting back in the hostel bar, nicely snuggled up and watching the snowfall outside.  Piggy even managed to wolf down a full English breakfast for lunch.  Why not?  It is Monday!
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triciagick on

Wow, really weird to think you two had done so much whilst we were still only having brekker. Brilliant to catch up -we'll be doing that with Ellie and Dave tomorrow night too. Safe and brilliant biking in China. Much love xxxxxxxxxx

Jojo on

Great to hear that the bikes are now fixed and that now you are probably on your way. I'm not suprised you get some funny looks Mikie - I thought it was only mad English Postmen who cycled around the placee in shorts when it's snowing! Hope you are going to be okay in the cold weather and find lost of hospitable places to stop and stay - it seems as if you have an aweful long way to go.

We are all thinking of you lots of love Jojo and Christopher

mum and dad on

Great to find more updates today.Such exciting times for you.
Not sure about the duck lady or the duck! How great to get the bike sorted.
The pandas look very content in their environment and very healthy.
Good cycling.Catch up again soon.Lots of lovexxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Betty on

I am just riveted by your story. Every time I read about you there's more to interest and amaze! I'm glad Mikey's better and hope you both keep well for the next stage. Life here in Emsworth/Bosham (I expect it should be Bosham/Emsworth!) is fine but really not worth talking about compared to your adventures. I'm having a day out with Tricia next week so will catch up on the inside story of their holiday with you. Take care of yourselves and love from Betty

Alison Cunnington on

Have just caught up with your blog. WOW I don't know how you keep going when you are feeling rough!!!!!! But your adventures still sound amazing and every time I sit down and read up on you I feel totally exhausted.

Enjoy this next part of your journey. xxxxxxx

Jojo on

Oh dear - the Green Snot Fairy has visited Olaf - not the prettiest sight!

Charlotte on

Had supper and a movie with E last night and saw Olaf in his outfit you sent him - brilliant!!!
Have taken tomorrow off work to explore options for April so will be in touch v. soon.

debbiecoxy on

Hello panda lovers, those pandas are gorgeous - i want to cuddle them. Apparently we are bringing a panda to Edinburgh Zoo as part of making best friends with China, so you'll be able to go visit them when you come back (if you go to edinburgh, its only about 700 miles from bosham).
Thanks loads for our pressies too - Alex is particularly delighted with his model rickshaw. It is replacing the ferraris in the model car cabinet. (OK that isn't true. But i think it should).
Laters potatoes!

auntbymarriage on

Did not abandon you. Had to work in London for boat show. So first of all, could you go back into Tibet and bring back that first puppy for me? Secondly am being transfixed by Triggers blog photo and thirdly you are Marco Polos! Telling you what is going on in Bos seems so tame in comparison to the adventures you're having. Had blissful, old friends supper at Barnetts last night anf Alan and Trig came round this morning to inspect our house renovations and C & G came round this pm to admire a lot of plaster board and freezing cold house. Hope you both in full health now. Masses of love to you both. x x

Snezhana on

I finally found your blog before Christmas, Alison sent a link in Sep/Oct but I lost it. I knew you went around the world but did not realise the 'transport method'. I watched the program 'cycling around the world' and I am very impressed by your wife.
I could recognise parts of India I have visited in your pictures.
Enjoy the rest of your trip!

Jojo on

Hi- had coffee at Windward on Monday (took Olaf along to meet Grace) and heard you had an unschedluled overnight stop - I do so hope you aren't freezing your buts off out there! Days getting a bit longer here but still blooming cold and drab - still February and your birthday Polly just around the corner - hope you get to celebrate in real style - longing to hear all you news.

All love Jojo and Christopher

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