Arrival in Chengdu   Leave a comment

We left Beijing Friday morning at 11 am and flew to Chengdu, arriving at 1:35 pm.   After a 30 minute drive, we entered the main campus of Sichuan University and our apartment building which houses international guest.  Sichuan University has three campuses spread across the city.  The main campus is where we are located and which houses most of the undergraduate and post-graduate studies apart from the health sciences.  It is located in the central area of Chengdu.  The two other campuses are the health sciences campus, where the School of Public Health is located, and a new campus, to the south of the city, where the first two years of university education is housed.   That is a rough sketch of the function of the three campuses but I expect this will need some revision as I learn more about the University. 

Our apartment is located in the middle of the main campus and consist of two bedrooms, a kitchen, bath, and sitting room.  We are very comfortable and had spent the first two days of the weekend orienting ourselves to our surroundings, including two trips to the ‘supermarket’ for supplies.  

This morning, an english language student met us and arranged an ‘exciting’ taxi ride to the Panda Research Center to the north of Chengdu.  The Center worth a trip.  It is a well designed research center with outstanding habitat enclosures for the 40 or so giant panda’s at the site.  The natural  habitat of the giant panda is in Sichuan Provence to the northwest of Chengdu and at a much higher elevation.  Chengdu sits at the base of the Tibet plateau in a valley surrounded by mountains.   In addition to giant pandas they also have a large population of red panda’s which are a much smaller species, without the distinct ‘panda’ markings but very impressive animals.  They are also endangered with a range that includes Nepal, parts of Tibet, Myanmar and other parts of southeast asia.   The highlight of the visit was being able to see a 3 week old giant panda in an incubator.   At birth (August 15th)  this panda weighed 145 grams but had already gained a pound in weight when we were there. 

Our wyban (I will need to correct the chinese on the name), or host from the international office at Sichuan University, decided we needed to have lunch so off we went in another taxi, this one faster than the first, for a Sichuan speciality called ‘ hot-pot’.  The hot pot experience consists of sitting at big table with pots of boiling oil and spices in the middle of the table, ordering six or seven types of meats and vegetables and putting them into the pot to cook.  After mixing a special bowl of hot sauce that included cilantro, garlic, and oyster sauce we began our fishing expedition using chop sticks to retrieve the food from the pot and dipping it in our sauce bowls while it cooled.  It is spicy and not for the faint hearted, but delicious (and hot).  In order to cool the spice, we ordered some walnut milk (a soymilk with essence of walnut).

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Posted August 31, 2010 by uolrrj in Uncategorized

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