My sister’s been telling me that people want to see Pandas!
As I mentioned a couple of days ago, our main reason for going to China was to attend a wedding in Chongqing. Chongqing, which deserves its own post, used to be part of Sichuan province. If you are like me, your main association with Sichuan is spicy food.
The northern and western parts of Sichuan are mountainous and the forests there are the home to the Giant Panda. The capital, Chengdu, region 9 on the map above, is significantly lower, and consequently warmer. However, it is in this city that the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is located.
We were told to go early, since pandas sleep much of the day.
There were six ten month old cubs when we were there.
Several times the cubs had disagreements about who would get to climb the tree.
They can climb surprisingly well.
This situation looked precarious.
But he manages to scramble out of it.
Three pandas wrestling.
This guy spent so much time at the fountain, I began to think of him as Narcissus Panda.
And this one put me in mind of Walt Whitman.
More panda wrestling.
It looks like this fellow is well on his way to developing the important adult skills of lying around and ignoring other pandas.
Here’s another situation that doesn’t look good.
This time, the panda fell, but he got up and appeared unperturbed.
A couple of people in the crowd moved away and I got a chance to get right up to the fence.
Consequently, I got a lot of close-up pictures of this youngster.
If you get to the park too late, this is what you will see.
Here is a two year old.
Despite the impression I may have given over the past few weeks, and especially over the past few days, I don’t actually seek out situations which are liable to be emotionally difficult, although in retrospect I have to ask myself whether or not the idea of spending the amount of time with my mother necessary to keep her on a diet was not looking for trouble. After the fight with my mother, I had mentioned to my sister that I might not feel up to going to the conference.
Depression is a new issue for me having only been diagnosed with it two years ago, although I’d probably been sliding into it for over a year at that point. During that year I made several stabs at finding help but I feel that therapists weren’t taking me seriously. They kept suggesting that I exercise. Since I was already exercising for over an hour each day that struck me as unhelpful. I really feel that they weren’t listening to me. I had, over the course of a year or two changed, mainly in ways I didn’t like.
Today, I’m much calmer, but I’m still thinking of killing myself. I don’t enjoy my life much and I don’t see anyway out of that situation.
Okay, well, I got off track there, now didn’t I?
One of the problems I’ve been finding in my attempts to recover from depression is that some of the things it might be advisable to do, like getting out and meeting people, are at the same time potentially dangerous things. Really, I thought this conference would be a relatively “safe” situation. After my crisis on Friday night, I decided to blow off the conference and try to salvage the weekend. I was determined to avoid anything that could trigger feelings of worthlessness. I went to the National Zoo to see the baby panda.
Zoos are always a mixed situation for me. I love seeing animals but I’m not really fond of seeing them in cages. How much space do the animals really need to be content? However, pandas are endangered and zoos have breeding programs, so seeing the baby panda that was born in the zoo last fall is not so difficult.
Without further ado…
The baby panda’s name is Bao Bao, which means “treasure” in English.