Panda-monium in Chengdu
Our students arrived back at the Chengdu Experimental Foreign Languages School early this morning all smiles after the first night with their host families. A little apprehension yesterday was replaced with stories of meals, families, homes and snacks that the families provided for the day. Some traveled to school by car, others on foot or by subway. While the host students went to classes we boarded a bus to go sightseeing. First we drove north through a lot of traffic to Guanghan to see a very modern museum displaying the Sanxingdui relics which date back to 11th and 12th centuries BC. Tropical foliage and flowers are blooming on the grounds of the museum. Besides being fascinated by the Chinese culture, we’re all enjoying this taste of spring!
We ate a bountiful lunch where the many dishes circle around the table on a sort of lazy Susan. The Sichuan province is known for its spicy food and the students seem to be enjoying, or at least adapting, to this.
We then drove to the Giant Panda Breeding Station where we walked on paths through bamboo growth and watched and photographed pandas roaming, climbing trees and eating and eating more bamboo. In fact, Grace noted that eating seems to be what the mostly do. We watched the adult pandas and then found the best viewing and photographing at the “Panda Kindergarten” Watching the pandas was a lot of fun and if we did not have a timetable to keep, we would have stayed much longer!
When we returned from our adventures, students met their host families back at the school and then headed off for the weekend with them. Some were a bit nervous about the weekend away from our group, but we expect, like past Gould students, they will return on Monday with smiles and stories. So, we won’t be posting again until Monday night here (Monday morning on the East Coast).