People say that if you go to Chengdu you HAVE to visit the pandas.
“What? You haven’t seen the pandas?! OH MY GODDD what are you doing with your life?! You have to see the pandaaaaass!!!!”
I didn’t quite understand this obsession with some of the laziest animals of Earth so I went to Chengdu’s panda reservation to see what all the hype was all about.
A group of us from the hostel piled into a rickety van early in the morning which took us about thirty minutes outside of the city and dropped us off in a barren parking lot. The driver pointed to a gate at the edge of the parking lot and muttered a few words saying “meet back at the van at 11:00.”
Still half asleep, we shuffled down a long pathway enclosed within rundown cement walls plastered with faded posters of pandas. The panda reservation was beginning to feel more like an old cold war missile silo.
Fortunately, the dim gray pathway opened up into the brighter and better maintained main entrance of the park. The park itself was an enclosed bamboo forest crisscrossed with pavement paths and sliced up into various panda pens.
It was early morning when we arrived and a cold and damp mist floated through the walls of bamboo followed by weary park workers holding bamboo-leaf brooms and clad in blue sanitary suits. We followed the signs to the first panda pen which held the red pandas.
These adorable little guys emerged from their dwellings one by one to curiously meet their new guests.
I WANT IT
He’s thinking: “one day, I’ma be famous.”
“Yup, this is what I’m gonna’ do all day, plop down on my ass and eat bamboo.”
While the fully grown giant-pandas were about as entertaining as watching paint dry, the younger guys ran all around the pen, wrestling with each other, climbing trees, and playing with toys.
A group of them gathered by the door anticipating their morning feeding time. This person had to jump out of the door and slam it shut before the little rascals could sneak in.
This one panda followed her all the way around the pen as she did her morning routine. He knows who his momma is.
This is so cute it makes me want to vomit cupcakes and unicorns.
“Okay, I think I want to come down now…”