Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Baby Bearcat!

Today we got up early and went to the Chengdu Panda Research and Breeding Center in time for feeding hour! They were so cute, we watched them strip off the bamboo leaves with their lil' panda thumbs. The best was the nursery where we were just a windowpane and some inches away from the baby panda crib! It's impossible not to smile watching a 4-month-old panda toddle along his crib railing. Never have I felt warmer and fuzzier.
Then we watched a panda documentary with footage of a momma panda who had just given birth swatting away her tiny,  bald, mouse-like panda newborn because she was scared and didn't know what to do with it. In captivity, the handlers try to get in and scoop the baby away as soon as possible, but it's dangerous to enter the cage when the panda is upset. So so cute, so so stupid.
What wasn't cute was the spicy hot pot hangover that befell us at the Center. See, the problem with chili oil is it's delicious! And the consequences don't present themselves until 12 to 14 hours after the fact. Which is just enough disconnect to keep me eating it. But if you'd like the details of any - or all - the ladies rooms on the Panda Center premises, just ask.
Poor James wound up yakking. When we got back to the hostel I forced him to eat soup because he didn't eat breakfast. He got halfway done and ran to the bathroom. He's sleeping it off now. After this, his intestinal bug before we left, and a bout of food poisoning in Taiwan - I have surpassed him in the steel-stomach category. I don't want to brag too much because I'm superstitious and don't want to get sick too.
So now I'm in the hostel lounge waiting on laundry and plotting my return to China. I can't wait to see my family, but this is such an exciting place to be, and I'd like to come back and work and continue studying Chinese. Then again, I suspect prospects for print journalism majors are bad on both continents, so I'll take what I can get. Just no more English teaching.

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