Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pandas in person

After the first night with host families, everyone met at school this morning to compare notes. Nice host families? Yes. Recognizable breakfast? Not really. We spent some time in classes this morning, then we stood on a podium in front of the entire school. The students were lined up in rows, all four thousand of them, in their uniforms, on the central outdoor quad. Mr. Baker and Mr Wen, the head of the school, each gave brief speeches that were translated by students. Our students were then given uniforms from the school.

After lunch at school we were off to see the pandas. The Chengdu Scientific Research Station is home to the largest Giant Panda breeding program in the world. Fortunately for us, we were there during feeding time, and we saw many pandas gnawing on bamboo. The pandas are separated by age and gender because in the wild they are solitary animals and the males would fight if they were all together. There was another panda research station about 30 miles from Chengdu, but it was heavily damaged in the earthquake last spring, and those pandas were moved to Chengdu. The pandas live in large, natural enclosures, and we were fortunate that they were near the fence during our visit.

After the Panda Station we went to a man made lake and had a rest in a pavilion. We had glasses of tea, sweet tofu, spicy tofu and cold noodles. We took a horse drawn ride around the lake, and then headed back to school.

While we waited for our host pick ups, many students approached us to try out their English conversational skills. It was a lot of fun, and we got a tremendous amount of attention!

Many families were off to have hot pot tonight, can’t wait to hear the details tomorrow morning! Tomorrow we’re off to the Giant Buddha of Leshan…

No comments:

Post a Comment