Hooray, I am finally getting all caught up from my trip to China this last October and am now beginning the process of story telling as I call it, of what I saw and did while working and visiting three panda bases in SW China.
I still feel like I am on cloud nine and going over the videos brings back so many wonderful memories of not only the beautiful, graceful and playful giant pandas but having been part of an Earthwatch expedition I had the opportunity to meet some very interesting and dedicated people.
The people of China are so friendly and hospitable and the part of China that we were in is so beautiful with its historical towns, long stretching mountains, flowing rivers and waterfalls.
The Sichuan food that is so famous was beyond my expectations. I could not eat the spicy dishes, I tried but let me tell you, they are not kidding about HOT & SPICY! But some of our group did partake in them and it was fun to watch their reactions to the spices. Thank You, to our group leaders who did arrange for the restaurants to prepare spicy and non spicy dishes because the flavors that come from the art of mixing these wonderful sauces with the locally grown vegetables is to die for.
I took part in a Earthwatch Institute expedition that was titled 'On the Trail of Giant Pandas'. There were 9 groups that were set up each spending a different length of time. The first group started back in May 2012 and our group ended the series at the end of October 2012.
Earthwatch had coordinated everything with the exception of travel, which you would have to do on your own. Once we arrived at the designated location in Chengdu, everything was arranged for us, lodging, meals, transportation and including working with the scientist and keepers at the Ya'an Bifengxia panda base and the Wolong panda base.
Our group lasted two weeks, which went by extremely fast, I could have stayed there another month! Our Earthwatch guide Justin, assures me Earthwatch will continue the panda program once they have gone over this years program with the staff at the panda base.
We were not able to see the new panda base that has recently opened in Genda, as they were in their final stage of construction before opening and we would have only gotten in their way. Would have loved to have seen it though. But we saw and were entralled by so many other sights and goings on at the other bases, that I know you will enjoy learning about tremendous work that is going on at these bases through these videos.
In future videos, you will also see what the town of Ya'an is like, where we stayed during the first part of our journey along with the new hotel that is still under construction in the town of Wolong where we stayed at the end of the second week, called the Mountain Fungus Inn. I stayed a couple of nights beyond the Earthwatch expedion so I could visit the panda base in Chengdu, so I will have some videos of that and the city of Chengdu also.
If you have any questions about the Earthwatch trip, the panda bases or anything you see in my videos, you can email me at [email protected].