Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Adventures in Chengdu

Name: Macie Smith
Class Year: Senior
Hometown: Beavercreek, OH

Internship: Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
Location: Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China

Well its official, Kelly and I have less than a month left here in China. It’s hard to believe that we're already over halfway through our journey here! We completed our inter-observer reliability test this week, which basically means we watched the same panda as we normally would without talking and then compared what we recorded afterwards. Through the 55 minute observation period we recorded all of the same data for proximities and only differed in recording the behavior once, so overall it went really well! We are still collecting as much data for the one year old giant panda cubs as we can and have been noticing differences in their personalities. We have been trying to hold off on analyzing the data so as not to bias our behavioral observations but we may begin figuring out how to analyze everything next week.
We have been able to see a few more training sessions with James and the adult giant pandas, which have been really interesting! We also are in the beginning stages of making enrichment for the one year old giant panda cubs that I hope we will be able to give to them in the next week or two. I'm excited to see how much the cubs actually interact with it! We also have been able to hand-feed apple slices with different colored glitter to the red pandas the afternoons before we go hunt for poop with the corresponding colored glitter. Below is a picture with one of the red pandas Kelly and I are able to feed and collect poop for!
Last weekend we went to an art/antique market to get souvenirs for our friends and families. We tried to put our Chinese skills to use and actually were able to bargain for some pretty good deals; or so we think at least. We also went to KTV with five of the interns we share a lab with here at the panda base and it was a lot of fun! KTV is essentially karaoke, only you and your friends have your own separate room to sing in and you’re able to have drinks and snacks sent to your room. There was a screen that you used to pick and change the order of the songs you sang; we tried to make it so every other song was in English or Chinese. The other interns thought I looked like Taylor Swift so I’m pretty sure they had Kelly and I sing at least ten of her songs, some of them two or three times! Not sure of a word in a T-Swift song? We might know it now! There are a few pictures of the Disney, Mickey and Minnie themed room we were in below. I definitely did not expect to spend over five hours there, but I guess time flies when you’re having fun!

In our Chinese lesson this upcoming weekend Kelly and I are supposedly going to introduce ourselves in Chinese… We’ll see how that goes! We also plan to visit the home town of one of the interns from the panda base and hopefully we’ll make it to Leshan to tour around and see the Giant Buddha. I’m definitely looking forward to whatever adventures we end up on this weekend!

photo credit: James Ayala


The Modern Toilet restaurant 

in box: Zhen Duo (back) and Qi Xi (front)

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