Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Livin' up the last days

Year: Senior, Class of 2017
Location: Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China
Internship: Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding- Animal Behavior Research

            After our great Emei trip (yes I finally got to see a monkey and almost cried of happiness), it was back to work for us! We took the late bus in and spent the day entering in data as well as helping with the red panda poop samples again! A lot of our time lately has been spent watching the pandas, recording what they do, and then entering in the data. Although it may seem repetitive, there is something new that happens every day with the cubs. Sometimes they fall and make VERY loud noises, other times they curl up next to another panda and fall fast asleep. It makes data collecting always an adventure! :)
            Last week Taryn found a new way to open lychee fruit at lunch. We were all so mesmerized by it! That same day Ju, Taryn, and I went ahead and tried hot pot all by ourselves! We went to this place just near our university where you cook the food on sticks in the hot pot. It was so delicious, we absolutely loved it!
            That weekend we went to the black bear center with Sarah, her interns, and Alex (their guide). There we learned all about the bear bile farms that happen in China. The black bear center rescues bears from these farms, which only have the bears to collect bear bile from them. We took a tour and saw a huge yard with all of the saved bears they had. We also heard about the stories of Alex, Oliver, and Rupert. It was very touching and moving to hear about all of the work they have done!

            We also did a lot of shopping! We went to Chunxi Road to get some souveneirs for our families and friends back at home. Chunxi Road is one of the largest shopping areas in Chengdu. We stopped in front of the IFS building and took a bunch of pictures in front of the giant panda climbing up the side of the building. Afterward we hopped on over to Wide and Narrow Alley to buy some more gifts. I also went ahead and tried some stinky tofu that weekend too! It was actually very delicious, although it was a little smelly. :P

            On Monday, we went to eat hot pot with Ju, Sherry, Joy (one of the other red panda interns), and Chen (Sherry’s husband). It was my favorite hot pot that I have had so far! The broth was actually a beef based broth where the broth melted inside the hot pot. We tried a bunch of new foods, from fish to rice noodles. After the hot pot, we walked around the city at night, which was breath-taking. The city is so pretty at night, with all of the lights flashing everywhere. A half hour later, Taryn and I took the bus back to campus.

            It almost seemed as though the week flew by from that point. We spent most of our nights eating various dinners with Ju and walking around where she lives. The weekend came before we knew it, and next thing we knew we were out shopping again! Saturday we went with Lan (one of the interns from the panda base), his girlfriend, and Ju. First, we ate at Wenshu just outside the temple. Lan ordered a bunch of different kinds of noodles for us to try and they were very delicious! After we found a few stores which we popped into and looked at things to buy. Jinli was the next stop for us, and the five of us headed over there. From trying lots of food to buying lots of souveneers, we had a blast just hanging out around Jinli. :)

            Sunday was our last day with Ju before she left for Thailand. Taryn and I had bought her a stuffed animal alligator which she absolutely loved! The three of us went to do some more shopping at the art market as well as Wide and Narrow Alley. We met James for dinner that night and went to a delicious fish restaurant. Ju always tells us how great the fish eyeballs are, so I decided to go ahead and try one. It was realllly squishy! I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it, but my reaction was nowhere near that of the durian (see Taryn’s previous posts) :P After dinner we went and walked around a bit. Taryn accidentally fell into a pond and we all had a great laugh for a while! We ended the night by getting boba (of course) and said farewell to Ju.
            It is crazy how Taryn and I have less than two weeks left in China. There is so much left I want to do, yet so little time to do it! I already miss Ju dearly, and know I will definitely miss China as much, if not more, than I did last time I left. I cannot wait to see what adventures Taryn and I have within these upcoming days. Here’s to livin’ up the last days! :P

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