Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Don't Want This Trip to End!

Name: Taryn Chudo
Year: Junior, Class of 2018
Location: Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China
Internship: Chengdu Research Base for Giant Panda Breeding, Animal Research

Wow it is hard to believe that we are more than half way done with this trip! It has been a blast so far and I cannot wait to see what the rest of the trip has in store. We have so much that we want to do, but so little time to do it all! Last Wednesday was a typical day of data collection, except for on the way up to the Moonlight Delivery House, we saw a peahen pacing around the drains and several people watching. Kelly and I went over to investigate and we found a baby peacock had fallen into the drain and couldn’t climb out! With the help of a couple of the visitors we were able reunite the chick with the mother and no one got hurt!
The next day was probably the roughest day for data collection that we have had so far! The cubs were all running through the exhibit and piling up on each other! We had to weave through all of the visitors that were there! The data that we got though is great for our study, but it certainly was exhausting running around the enclosure and through the crowd! That night we helped Ju rescue a baby rat that she had found on the sidewalk at the Panda Base. 
           On Friday we tried to take care of the paperwork in order to renew my visa. Unfortunately, we still needed some paperwork, so we will have to come back soon to take care of it again. We did a lot of running around and at the end of the day we ended up at a mall with Ju. It was the mid-autumn festival and the mall had animatronic dinosaurs and fossils of several dinosaurs. They were pretty awesome and it was a great way to end the day.
It was kind of rainy and gross on Saturday, so we went and saw Finding Dory and a documentary about the Jinsha Site Museum, which we were planning on going to the next day. Finding Dory was super cute! For dinner, we tried this new restaurant by Ju’s hotel. It was delicious and had amazing Kung Pao Chicken! We also had these delicious spicy noodles a spicy tofu dish.
Sunday was a beautiful day, so we went to the Jinsha Site Museum. It was an amazing experience. The Jinsha Site was discovered while doing road work and helped enlighten archaeologists to the Shu culture. They found all kinds of pottery, jade artifacts, elephant tusks and various gold objects. There were several artifacts that we saw that were key to the Shu people. The first were several sculptures of peoples that are believed to represent sacrifices. They were found with tiger sculptures. Another object was a sculpture of the Shu king who was made to be holding something, but no one is quite sure what. A third object was a large store of elephant tusks that were believed to be a part of the sacrifices made to the water gods and to the king. The last and possibly most important artifact was a gold mask that is believed to be worn by the king during religious ceremonies. It is also believed that when the king wore the gold mask, he became a god to his people. After walking through the museum, we went outside and got to walk through the actual Jinsha site. It was so cool to be able to see where these relics had come from and how an archaeological site is organized! The Jinsha Site museum is on a relatively large piece of land, so we walked around for a while. We walked through the Ebony Forest, which was made from large petrified wood pieces. Then we made our way to the deer park where we got to see lots of deer. All three of us were so glad that we went and we strongly recommend it to those that visit Chengdu!
Top left to bottom right: Deer antlers, grave sites, the Jinsha dig site, stone snake, God-king golden mask, sculpture of the God-king, decorated pottery and the roots of a giant tree that was believed to be worshipped by the Shu people.
The king's chariots were buried with him in his funeral site. The horseman and the horses were buried with it.


We went back to the Panda Base on Monday and had several great data sessions! After work we had a movie night with James and Ju. Kelly and I also got the chance to try durian. Durian is a fruit that is pretty large and covered in spikes. It smells pretty gross, but we were pretty adamant in trying it! Ju likes durian and insisted that she take pictures as we tried it. I tried it first and it does not taste all that great. Kelly tried it after me and we all had a ball watching her try it!

Wednesday marked the 1st birthday of Ke Da and Ke Xiao, the first cubs born last year. We watched the keepers give them a birthday cake made from ice and topped with carrots, apples, and panda bread! It was so cute to watch them eat it!
We had a lot planned for this weekend! We planned on going to both Leshan and Mt. Emei with one of the other interns at the Panda Base, Sherry. We woke up early on Saturday to catch a high speed train to Leshan. We got to Leshan and hiked to see the Leshan giant Buddha. It was such an amazing thing to see! We waited in line and then climbed down the stairs to the bottom of the Buddha. The stairs were definitely an adventure. They are extremely steep and at points only one person could go through! After walking around some more, we took a bus to Mt. Emei. Once we got there we checked into the Teddy Bear hotel and went to dinner. Sherry took us to hot pot, but this was different from any hot pot that we had ad before. We got to pick exactly what we wanted. Almost everything was on a stick. We got so much food. We tried intestine and some sort of local vegetable. Kelly also tried a small local catfish. We all had some of our favorites. We had lotus root, potatoes, ox tripe, various mushrooms, squid tentacles, and so much more!
Top left to bottom right. An adorable dog that we passed leaving Leshan, golden buddha statue holding a snake, the stairs from above the giant buddha to the bottom of the giant buddha, and then Sherry, Ju, Kelly and I in front of the buddha.
We woke up extremely early on Sunday to catch one of the first buses to the half way point of Mt. Emei. When we got off the bus, we immediately saw wild Tibetan macaques which made everyone so happy. Last year Kelly and Macie spent a lot of time on the mountain and never got to see them, so that was the main thing that Kelly wanted to do this year. After the monkeys we hiked up to the cable car station and took a cable car to the very top to see the Golden Summit temples. It was pretty misty at the top, but it was absolutely gorgeous! After spending lots of time at the top and taking lots of pictures, we took the cable car and the bus back down to the bottom of the mountain. We caught the last bus back to Chengdu, putting an end to a very exhausting but completely amazing weekend!
Kelly's first monkey sighting on Mt. Emei!

The temple at the Golden Summit at the top of Mt. Emei.

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