China: Chendu, Lang Zong, Pandas and Pollution

June 10th, 2010

China People's RepublicWe Said
China Part TWO
May 2009
Chengdu and the Pandas
We flew from SW China to Chengdu and were shocked that it is SO smoggy it hurts to breathe. I read that more than 1/3 of the air pollution affecting CALIFORNIA originates in CHINA! China is more than 4000 miles from Ca. The World Bank estimates that 700,000 people die each year from the air in China (San Francisco has 700,000 people!!) from LOST ON PLANET CHINA by Troost.
We did love the PANDA Research and Breeding Area. We saw about 20 pandas of all ages and sizes. Some were playing, some were eating. We saw RED PANDAS! They were all AMAZING! We took so much video and photo!! I can’t wait to upload our photos to share.

Lang Zhong
Ancient City that is still a real place!

Our favorite place in China so far is Lang Zhong (about a 6 hour bus ride from Chengdu). It is a real ancient city. It is not like Lijiang and Dali with so many tour groups and no real homes only shops. There are real people. We went twice to the tailor and had a great gesturing conversation. We also ate twice at the noodle shop. We watched the chef MAKE the noodles. It was so great that we videotaped him. We took photos of him and he took photos of US eating at his shop. We stayed in a 1000 year old hotel and communicated with the marketing director thru Google Translator!! It is a GREAT place to visit! Put it on your list!!

Three Gorges and Yangshou
Cruise along the Gorges
We were briefly in Chongqing, a metropolis of THIRTY-EIGHT MILLION PEOPLE! Yep you never heard of it and there are 30million people! There are over 90 cities in China with over 1 million people. China is just BIG! We had a great 3 day cruise on the Yangtze River to see the Three Gorges. It must have been more awesome before the Dam raised the water 100m but it is still incredible. It is still so HUGE!

We also sailed from Guillin to Yangshou on a bamboo boat to see the gorgeous and towering Karst formations! There is so much beautiful scenery to see in China AND we even had BLUE SKY!

More of China May 4-20
Seeing more of China: the good, the bad and the cute! Traveling in China is great and full of surprises.
We have seen so much and can’t wait to see more of China. It is amazing to take a 12 hour night train and realize that on the map you have not moved too far! It is such a BIG country. There are 30 beds in ONE car in hard sleeper on the night train! I felt that we climbed 90 feet up to the TOP bunk–third from the ground.
We have been lucky to meet and travel with so many great new friends. We can now even speak a few words of Chinese that they actually understand.

More soon!Lisa and George

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