Yesterday we got to go to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. It was amazing. I have never been in such panda heaven. We got to see the older pandas first. I learned that any pandas over the age of five lived in seclusion due to their aggressiveness with each other. You would have never guessed this by the wa
y the pandas just laid around. Since the weather was colder, they were more active than usual. I was really excited when I got to see a panda climb down a tree. The pandas walked so slowly and clumsily it was extremely adorable. The cutest thing was the baby pandas. They were all so sleepy and laying around. It was cuteness overload. Then we got to see the red pandas. Their enclosure is more open, so they can actually walk on the sidewalks, one even walked right in front of my feet! This was the excursion I was looking forward to the most and I was not let down.
Today was Sunday, so I made my first venture to a Catholic church. However, the government of China does not allow the Catholic church in China to have any connections to the Vatican. When I finally found the church, which one of my classmates gave me the directions to, I realized everything was in Chinese. The readings were in Chinese, the homily was in Chinese and the books were in Chinese. Since my Chinese is so poor, I could not really understand what was going on. The only way I slightly understood was because I have memorized the mass in my head, so I can anticipate what each part will be. I also got to read the readings with my iBreviary app so that was helpful. The mass was incredibly interesting though. I always find that churches, even in the United States, never have the exact same service. For example, at this mass most of the responses were sung. This is totally different than what I have found in the United States. Afterwards, my friend gave me a tour of the church grounds and they were beautiful. The church had high ceilings with chandeliers and there was a chapel and statues of the saints.
Later, we decided to go exploring for food. While we did not find food, we found the Buddhist monastery. A man gave us a tour of their tea house, where you can actually have tea served by a tea master. We also found different shops in the area selling jewelry and knickknacks. We even found some book shops. There were quite a few books written by Mao Zedong and we saw more than a few pieces of Mao memorabilia. It was so interesting to walk around and see such a non-commercialized area that seemed very authentic. Then we got lost and could not find the metro. This was also good because I had to ask for directions from strangers in Chinese so I was able to work on my communication skills. My fiend and I decided that we definitely have to bring our other classmates back so that we can go to the tea house…but hopefully we will not get lost next time.