Our first full day in Chengdu was really packed- we got up early to see the PANDAS. They are only active from 8:30-10:00ish in the morning, when they eat, afterwards in order for their bodies to digest the bamboo they have to sleep. They were about as cute as everyone says they are.

Andrew bought a panda hat. He also has a lion hat from a previous purchase.

After pandas, we went a hot pot restaurant and I almost died from the spicyness (this is Sichuan tradition, killing off the tourists). Pain of any kind releases serotonin, so regardless of what we thought of the food, we all felt GREAT afterwards. Then we walked to Renmin Gongyuan (The People’s Park) which was one of the highlights of the trip. It was beautiful and green, unlike many other parks in Beijing, but as always was a great way to observe Chinese culture. For Chinese people, going to the park is a big part of social life and entertainment- you can expect to see all sorts of activities that many Americans might feel uncomfortable engaging in in public, like practicing a musical instrument, singing, dancing, doing aerobics,etc, or just spinning yoyo’s, flying kites, playing mahjong. My friends and I made sure to join in on some of the dancercize (led by legions of elderly ladies in sweatshirts) and were invited to sing with a music ensemble, but turned them down. We also made friends with a retired Chinese woman for whom coming to the park is a daily ritual.