Monday, July 20, 2015

We love our Chinese friends :)

Name: Kelly Jackson
Class/Year: Class of 2017, Junior
Hometown: Waterford, Wisconsin
Location: Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China
Internship: Animal Behavior Research

This past Thursday was a fun day for us here at the panda base! First off, we got to collect our fecal samples that morning. After we gathered up all the poop, we went to the lab to actually see what happens to the red panda poop. There are two students at the panda base who are in charge of the rough extraction of the fecal samples. Their job includes a lot of labeling! They first record where our samples came from and from which panda, if there is glitter in their poop. Afterward, they label each bag with a secure name tag. Once all the bags are labeled, they place the samples in the freezer for a week. When they come out of the freezer, they will then go into a spinner, or a centrifuge, for another couple of days. The students will then take the samples and “destroy” them. They labeled more test tubes and placed each “destroyed” poop into the tubes. Not only were we able to observe them doing so, but we actually got to assist them with it! The students made us wear gowns, gloves, masks, and even hairnets! It was fun to play dress up for a bit. :P
In the afternoon, we finished the final touches on our enrichment. We rinsed off the pipes while James cut up a few apples. We placed the apple slices into the holes on the sides of the PVC pipes and wa-la! Our enrichment was complete! Macie and I ran to the front of the enclosure, where we recorded a video and an observation of the pandas when James put in the enrichment. There were so many people surrounding us, I was definitely sweating up a storm! The cubs seemed to like the enrichment though! They played with it for a bit and even the following day when we were observing them! Overall, I’d say it was pretty successful. :)
On Saturday, we went to Fei-Fei’s hometown to “go play outside.” Her hometown is called Luodai, and it just outside of the city of Chengdu. She told us it used to be a refuge for the Hakkanese people, a long time ago. Her grandfather traveled from the south part of China, near the sea, to Luodai and her family has been there ever since. We went to a shopping center where we got to play more dress up! Macie and I got to choosetraditional Chinese dresses and take pictures in them! I picked a blue dress because it looked the most like Elsa from Frozen (I guess I look like her). The photographer handed us a bunch of props to model with, my favorite being a guitar with no strings that I had to pretend to play. :P
After we ate a delicious lunch, we went to what Fei-Fei called “the mini Great Wall.” We climbed up a massive hill, which was treacherous due to it being ninety five degrees out (phew). At the top, there was a Buddhist Temple with of course a marvelous view. It was so quaint, compared to the busy city life we have grown accustomed too. Outside of the temple, there was a wall, where if you spun around three times and found the wall with your eyes closed, you were blessed for life. Thankfully, Macie and I both successfully found it, although it was a bit of a struggle. (;
The little wall was super cool! The view was again so beautiful. There were a bunch of people trying to sell us gifts throughout our walk along the wall. We took tons of pictures, including jumping ones! We even got Fei-Fei to take a super cute jumping picture of herself. :) We made it about a quarter or so of the way through the trek of the wall, before we heard thunder. It was time to head back! By the time we arrived at the car, it had started to sprinkle. Macie and I were very grateful that Fe-Fe invited us to her hometown. It was cool to see the difference between the city and the farm lands of China. We really appreciated it and had a blast! 
On Sunday, we went to our Chinese lesson. We learned different parts of the body, and now we are able to sing “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” in Chinese! Eldora, our teacher, then treated us to a day of fun-filled adventures with her friends! We first went to a Buddha Temple where we ate delicious and traditional Chinese food. Eldora ordered us “sad jelly noodles” which is a type of rice noodle. It is referred to as sad because it makes people cry from the spice! We also had other delicious treats like “curd” which is a very sweet flan type food. My favorite was the “bang-bang-bang.” It is a sticky rice ball covered in flour, and dipped in a sweet sauce. When they make it, a man throws three balls into the flour, making a “bang” noise. I asked the guy if we could throw the balls into the flour, and he let Macie and I try! Needless to say, it’s harder than it looks. :P
After we ate and ate and ate, we went to the metro and hopped on over to the panda post. It is a store just outside of the subway stop, where a lot of tourists go. There you can choose a postcard and send it to your family! Macie and I decided we would do this for our families. Eldora told us the man said it could take up to a year to get to its final destination though, oops! Lily, Wu, Eldora, Macie, and I also took many pictures together as a memory of our day spent together! We each wrote messages to each other on the pictures, and put cute stamps on them. It is one of my favorite memories and souvenirs I will have here from Chengdu. (:
We said good-bye to Wu, because he was going back to his high school to meet his teacher. The four of us girls headed on over to the Sichuan Art Museum. Eldora told us there were four main pieces when it comes to Chinese Art. I don’t remember all of them, but the brush strokes utilized in the paintings was one we definitely saw within the art pieces at the museum. There were many artworks dealing with war and animals. We also saw a lot of calligraphy and Chinese writing. 
Next, we went to Tianfu Square where we were greeted by millions of little pandas! It was so much fun to pose with all of them! After a huge photo shoot with China’s national treasure, we went to Chunxi Road, a giant shopping center. Eldora told us there are three famous cities in China that are known for shopping: Hong Kong, Shanghai, and of course, Chengdu. She also told us that at the end of this year there will be a new Disney in Shanghai, and it will be the biggest one in the world! Just a heads up for whoever is thinking about coming to Chengdu next year. ;)
Finally, we arrived at the IFS building. There is a giant panda that scales the side of the building here. It was built by an American artist, who also built a giant blue bear in Denver. We went all the way up to the building to take pictures with the smiling panda. It was so beautiful at the top! Not only did we get to see the panda, but there were other several pieces of artwork there too! After another photo shoot, we headed down to the basement, where we explored the library. There were many Chinese books there, including books in English and several other languages. Lily and Eldora were excited to hear us talk about all the English books there. They even had said they saw the Notebook! 
As we headed home, it had started to rain. Thankfully, Lily got us an Uber (yes, they have that here) and we didn’t get too wet! We ended our day eating at a lovely restaurant near our home. Eldora and Lily ordered a large bowl filled with all kinds of vegetables. In the bowl there were also quail eggs, which I was very fond of. With our stomachs full we headed back to our hotel. Eldora wanted to give us one more treat though! She ordered us what she calls “pancakes.” Mine was filled with chocolate and vanilla cream and Macie got a potato and meat one. It was my favorite thing I have eaten in China so far. Overall, we had an awesome day. I loved exploring the city with Eldora and her friends. They are so much fun to be with, and very fluent in their English as well! :)

Macie and I extracting DNA from panda poop! :P

Yay for extraction :)
Posing with James in our new attire ;P

Making enrichment for the pandas! Working hard, or hardly working? ;D

Chen Jiu playing with our enrichment! He loved it. :)

View from the Little Great Wall!

Macie, Fei Fei, and me on the Little Great Wall!

Posing as Elsa (aka my twin) :P

Macie, Fei Fei, and I in her hometown!

Because did you really go to China if you didn't take a jumping pic?

Posing with Fei Fei :)

Delicious assortment of noodles we got with Eldora, Lily, and Wu

Sweet treats and dumplings we ate

Rose jello, another sweet treat, and more dumplings!

Tofu tasty treats!

Posing with the panda statues!

Lily, Eldora, me, Macie, and Wu at the Panda Post!

Me, Macie, Eldora, and Lily posing in front of the panda statue :)

No comments:

Post a Comment