If Chengdu, China is known for one thing, it’s being the home of the Panda Research Base. Panda-phernelia fills the airport’s gift shops. Every taxi cab is embellished with a panda painting. No doubt about it: Chengdu’s a town that takes its pandas seriously.

So with my best friend Amber visiting me in Sichuan (I repeat: Amber made the trip all the way to CHINA to see me!), it was obvious we’d be paying the pandas a visit.

Our trip today marked my third visit to the panda base. The excursion started out in typical-enough fashion:

Step #1: We dragged ourselves out of bed in order to make it to the research base by 7:45 a.m. (This early start time is a critical piece of the process; I cannot guarantee success or happiness for your trip should you choose to tangle with the crowds the afternoon brings.) Continue reading “Panda-monium!”