Monday, October 28th - Northwest of Beijing

We start our tour at 9 am today at Earl's request and don't bother to eat much breakfast. We try the persimmons we bought yesterday. Only Earl seems to know how to eat them correctly. The weather continues to be beautiful with blue crisp skies for the drive to the Fragrant Hills Park. The vendors are selling pressed autumn leaves in cellophane as bookmarkers.


Anyone want a camel ride?


Chie-Mie is greeted as Ayi (Auntie)


Guardian on the way to the Buddha.
The Sleeping Buddha doesn't want his picture taken.


View of the fragrant hills


There are stalls with locusts and cicadas on sticks for frying, strangely no one feels hungry enough to stop and try them.

Ju Ju and the driver take us to a local restaurant for lunch. We get back to the hotel with enough time to do some exploring in the neighborhood before it gets dark. The kids are getting out of school near our hotel. A lady sings to a pug and the dog yowls back in perfect Chinese. All the dogs we see in Beijing are small lap dogs, as I understand there is a law that prohibits a dog over a certain size or weight in the city.


Tuesday - October 29th - Flight to Chengdu.

It's up early at 5:30 am for our ride to the airport. We have an 8:45 am flight (about 1300 miles) and we arrive in time for lunch in Chengdu. Our local guide, Simon, is very fluent in English and likes to tell jokes. The tourist lunch in Chengdu is excellent. We will overnight in Chengdu before going to Lhasa. For the afternoon we visit the Chengdu Panda Reserve. The weather is warm.



Pandas everywhere.

There are baby pandas, adolescent pandas, rolling-on-the-ground pandas.

 


There are also red pandas which are not really pandas at all.

We see several hawks and cranes on the reserve. Seth decides to stay in for the night so Earl, Chie-Mie and I go SiChuan spicy for dinner -- we order the specialty dish Mao Po Dofu (Bean curd in spicy sauce) along with a small order of red sauce meatballs. There is a beautifully lit up pedestrian bridge at the main circle center of town by our hotel.

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