Ni Hao friends and family,
Our short visit to Chengdu began with a jolt, literally! Our bus at the aiport had a minor bump in with a car on the tarmac, but do not worry - we only took away the rare experience and a few laughs, no major injuries.
We were excited to change the pace of our trip and adopt the laid-back attitude in Chengdu and breathe the fresh air. Chengdu, China’s fifth-most populous city and the nation’s second-most liveable city, is known for its agriculture, spicey Sichuan food, tea houses, brocade (a type of silk fabric), changing faces (a local mask-changing show), and of course, the giant pandas! Our first stop was the Giant Panda Breeding Center. Here we saw adult and baby pandas and even the rare red panda, which closely resembles a raccoon. Some of the students even had the unbelieveable opportunity to hold a baby panda and take a picture with it. The panda calmly rested on their laps while being fed honey - what a great memory!
For lunch and dinner on both days we ate the Sicuan food. This area is known for using the most salient pepper flavour, huajiao, a wild pepper. Don’t stress parents, all of your children really enjoyed this style of food and our tummies adjusted just fine!
On the second day we made our way two hours outside of Chengdu to visit the world’s largest Buddha (approximately 71 meters tall). Here we took a cruise on the Ming River which lays at the bottom of the Buddha’s feet. The boat took us infront of the Buddha and paused to allow us to take wonderful pictures with the big buddha in the background. After the cruise we climbed the 300+ stairs to see the Buddha up close and personal. Once our prayers were said, our pictures were taken, and our knees hurting from the stairs, we decided to return back to the bus to return to the hotel.
The last night in Chengdu we had the chance to rest and have independent study. Some students decided to go to a local teahouse and experience the opera theatre and cinema. During the show there was hand-shadowing (where he made animals by simply using a light, a screen, and his two hands), changing faces, fire breathing, dancing, singing, and instrument playing (especially the China’s famous ehru). It was a great show and a wonderful cultural opportunity. Other students decided to watch movies, go swimming in the hotel pool, and/or take a rest and go to bed early.
You will have another update from Tibet within the next few days. Once again, we wish you warm thoughts and miss you all dearly.