Well, this update will be about the first part of my vacation, which was in Chengdu, Sichuan, China. Most of you have heard of Sichuan food (almost all Chinese restaurants in America claim Sichuan (Szechuan) style food). It's very delicious, but I warn the foreigner (even those who may think that their tongues are tough) to be wary of native Sichuanese claims that "it's not hot".
I stayed with some friends from home, who have some lovely children, both of whom love to feed fish.
In fact, I myself found feeding the wildlife a fun diversion.
This last is me with a Red Panda, little known outside of Central South Asia. Sichuan province is home to some of the last wild pandas, along with a large breeding base. The red panda is endangered, although not nearly as critical as the giant (and more familiar) giant panda. It is 50 yuan (about $8 US) to take a picture with, and feed some apples to, a red panda. It is 3000+ yuan ($400 US) to take a picture with the giant panda. Obviously, I went with the cheaper option. Cute, aren't they?
To those of you who think they look a lot like raccoons--you're right. I was told that both pandas are much more closely related to the raccoon than to the bear species. I did get relatively close to the giant pandas--or at least the young ones--even if there was a fence between us.
And here's a funny video. The keeper obviously wanted this one to come out for the tourists, but he thought nap time should continue for a while longer.
I also visited a Daoist temple called Qing Yang Gong (Green Goat Palace), and got some pretty shots there.
Notice the green (ha, ha!) goat?
All of the temples here had these beautiful cushions--I was told I could buy some, but I never saw them.
Oh, and by the way...
This wisdom brought to you by the panda park.
Okay, lest I overwhelm everyone with pictures, stay tuned for Chengdu, part 2.