Seeing Chengdu’s Giant Pandas

I’ll have to add this to my list of places to go…

Seat 6A

I was a bit nervous to see our 28-day China tour included a visit to . I dislike the idea of zoos, and I have heard many a horror story about Asian zoos in particular. The day we visit the pandas I’m skeptical but cautiously excited to see animals in their natural habitat.

The Panda Research Base is in a misty forest just outside of Chengdu, Sichuan province. The center is dedicated to environmental protection, and the site completely awes me with its animal-focused design. Signs caution visitors not to speak above a whisper, not to use flash photography, and not to smoke anywhere on the premise. I think of the absolute din found at DC’s National Zoo and am impressed that such care has been taken to ensure the pandas have peace.

Picture of mother panda and her cub at Chengdu's Panda Research CenterMother and cub – this looks zoo-y, but there’s actually a small forest to the left


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A daring adventure begins…

I’ve been reading travel blogs for years and I am so excited to be able to start my own!  I’ll be posting all kinds of things but primarily this blog is to keep a record of my life as I set off to see the world.  I’ve been wanting to do this for a while and back in January I finally started making some concrete plans.  I  completed a TEFL certification course this spring (that’s Teach English as a Foreign Language for those not in the know) and decided to go teach in China.  My plans have evolved somewhat since:  I will be leaving at the end of August for Central America and will travel a few months before coming home for the holidays.  Then I plan to line up a job and head to China to teach after the new year starts.

This summer has just been busy, busy, busy so far trying to make plans and spend as much time as possible with friends and family before I go.  And August is sure to be even more hectic.  My mom and I ended July with an awesome trip to Vegas, hope to get some pictures up from that soon.  When I got back I started the countdown to my last day at work, which happens to be tomorrow.  Despite the little annoyances that accompany pretty much every job in the world I have enjoyed my job, like the company I work for, and love the people I work with.  So I’m super excited and really sad at the same time.

I’ve got a crazy weekend ahead too: dinner with some friends tomorrow, movies on Saturday, and the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure 5K bright and early Sunday morning.   But I don’t mind because I get to sleep in next week!  Well maybe one day.  Then I’ve got to start tackling the world’s longest to-do list.  Turns out, not working is a lot of work.  Especially when you’re planning an international trip.  I need to get new glasses, contacts, and travel vaccines before my health insurance runs out.  I need to get new travel/medical insurance.  I need an international driver’s license, visas, to file a will and an advance directive (creepy but you never know), withdraw money from my 401K and book a flight and all kinds of other arrangements.  Can’t wait to get started!