China Vacation Part 2Shanghai, Fall 2012
Chengdu: The land of pandas and spicy food. As a big fan of spicy food, I really enjoyed the local cuisine (specifically the ma po tofu which was the best I’ve ever had). The city was also incredible because of the pandas. Pandas are my favorite animal and it was cool how close you could get to them at the Chengdu Panda Research Base. I am so used to seeing them at zoos in the states where there is maybe one or two just sitting in a corner. At the Panda Base, they had about 100 pandas that you could get pretty close to. I was lucky to arrive at the base in the morning while the pandas were still active. I donated ~1300 RMB for the conservation of pandas which gave me the opportunity to hold/cuddle with a panda cub as well as a few other things. The cub was named Ai Ling and was about 1 year old. Check out the pictures below!
Kunming: The last stop on our vacation. We visited the Longji Rice terraces which is a place that I have wanted to see for a long time. Even though we couldn’t go in the spring time when the terraces were flooded with water, they were still an incredible sight. We tried to wake up one morning to watch the sunrise over them but it was incredibly foggy. We also visited the stone forest and Dali.
On a side note, I would also like to describe some of the intimidating no-menu restaurants I encountered on my trip. The vegetables and meat (sometimes covered in flies) are laid out on tables or shelves and you pick which ones look decent and they will prepare them however you like. I was so thankful for fluent Chinese speakers while ordering because I probably would have died from food poisoning. I found a new love for a vegetable called Cong Jing Cai. We literally ordered it almost every day. We joked we were doing a Cong Jing Cai “world tour” in tasting the different preparations throughout China. Overall this trip was incredible and I was lucky to be able to broaden the scope my study abroad experience far outside of Shanghai. Tomorrow I start a new chapter in my study abroad adventure. I’m pretty excited to meet new people and start my classes at Fudan (though I’m sure I’ll be praying for the weekend once they start).
Things I learned:
- All of the many toll bridges and tourist sites we traveled through were staffed by young uniformed women. Interesting…
- Even though I’m not the biggest fan of either, I really miss decent burgers and fresh milk. Both of which are rare in China.
- Cross the street with the locals; they know what they’re doing.
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