Trekking Through China…The Chongqing Pandas!!!

Baby Panda

As usual, we were on a very tight schedule. After our 4-day respite of slow-cruising down the Yangtze River, we were immediately thrown back into “frenzy mode” the moment we disembarked at the dreary, amenity-challenged dock in  Chongqing (it was a very long up-hill walk from the boat to the bus…especially for those who had to drag suitcases all that way!) From the port our bus headed straight for the Chongqing Zoo and our long-awaited rendez-vous with the Pandas! Since this was a highlight for most of us, we were disappointed to learn that we would only be spending 20-30 minutes at the zoo. We would only have time to run in and snap a few pictures of the Pandas.

We arrived just as the gates to the zoo opened, and were delighted to discover that all of the pandas were outside in their enclosures and eating. While there’s a part of me that genuinely wishes that zoos were not necessary, I do admit that I love being able to see animals that otherwise I’d never get a chance to see in their natural habitats. Like these pandas!!! The pandas looked healthy and happy and quite content with their surroundings that morning. They seemed to enjoy posing for the cameras that clicked at them continuously from the fence. We ended up staying a bit longer, reveling in the sight of these amazingly cute creatures.

The zoo was humming with human activity as well, early that morning. Several small gatherings of local people swayed gently in the sunshine, performing their morning Tai Chi. There was another group there dancing what looked like a form of Chinese line dancing. It was beautiful, elegant, graceful and very pleasant to watch. I don’t know why I didn’t get a picture, though it would have been difficult to capture the quiet elegance anyway. (Perhaps by this point in the journey, I was also becoming more sensitive to the growing realization that, in general, most Chinese people did not like to have their picture taken.)

We were not able to see any other part of the zoo, but left very happy to have seen what we did see. (Side note: The one thing we deliberately chose not to see at the zoo were the washrooms…that’s because we could smell them long before we saw them, and none of us could stomach the thought of actually going in and using the facilities there).

From the zoo, our bus navigated its way through Chongqing‘s heavy rush hour traffic, passing through many miles of what appeared to be a huge, dirty, gloomy, polluted, overcrowded city (but that’s just first impressions) to the airport to catch our flight to Guilin and subsequent long drive to Yangshuo. I’d never even heard of Yangshuo before this trip, but it turned out to be an unexpected delight, or as our tour guide put it, “a little taste of heaven”, that will forever reside in my heart and memory as one of the more beautiful places on earth I’ve ever been. More on Yangshuo in my next blog.

For now, enjoy the Pandas! They all have names, but I have no idea which one is which. (And here’s a link to some general info on Giant Pandas and the Red Panda.)

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Baby panda…he looked big enough to us, until we saw the Giant Pandas further along the path!

I wonder how aware they are of all of us standing there wishing we could run up and cuddle them…

This is a red panda. Cute, but very difficult to capture on camera because they never stop moving!

The first of about 10 giant pandas that were outside that morning. They do love to eat…and sleep…that’s apparently all they do all day (even in the wild).

This one’s right where he wants to be with all that fresh bamboo all to himself!

So reminds me of the giant panda teddy bear I had as a child.

Finger-licking good!

The whole crowd went wild with delight to see one actually move!

And he went wild with delight over all the fresh bamboo he found!

Is he laughing at us?

That does look like a smile, doesn’t it?!

Being coy

Who couldn’t love a face like that?!

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Copyright © Sharon C. Matthies, Meanderings (blog), 2012. All rights reserved.

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About Sharon

I love to write. I love to write myself into being right here right now. Writing releases something in me that needs wings, writing opens doors and windows that I often don't even realize are possible, writing helps me breathe out the dusty old, and to breathe in the new and possible. My hope is that maybe writing here in this blog will bring new light into these dusty old hallways and help me to clear out the thinking processes and mindsets that just don't work for me anymore. I seek to breathe new light and life into the nooks and crannies of a soul that has been feeling somewhat lost and frayed because of the last few patches of road I've had to travel.
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2 Responses to Trekking Through China…The Chongqing Pandas!!!

  1. angelika says:

    What great shots! They are really cute beautiful animals. Glad to read that they seemed well cared for.


    • Sharon says:

      Thanks Angelika! I wonder how many people jump over the fence to go and cuddle them?! They’re so cute. I’ve read that other animals (particularly the tigers) in that zoo aren’t as well cared for, but our impression of the zoo (except the bathroom) was that it was clean and spacious; the pandas seem very content and healthy.


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