SFO777 The First Class Travel Blog

The First Class Travel Blog

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China

China
Today is the big day, when the girls get to sit with a baby panda.  We're off to the Dujiangyan Panda Research Center. Where you can pay $100 or so for the privilege of scooping up panda poop and cleaning the panda enclosures.  What a great racket.  They actually make money on labor.  LOL.
While doing some pre-trip research, I stumbled across Chengdu Food Tour, a tour company run by an ex-pat Canadian who married a local gal and who now lives in Chengdu.  Jordan met us at our hotel around 4:30pm for the start of our 5+ hour food orgy.   We headed up the street to grab the Chinese equivalent of Uber.    No not ours, just a car dealer at the corner, while we waited.
And we're off to see the pandas today and tomorrow, one of the highlights of the entire trip.    Today's stop is the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, a lovely park with numerous panda viewing areas. The walk into the park, with lots of flags and pandas.
This morning, we're off to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda.
At the advice of our guide, we headed out early at around 7:30am to avoid the crowds at the Terracotta Army Museum, about an hour drive from our hotel.   We arrived at 8:30am just as the gates opened and well ahead of the usually massive crowds.
Back in the van with our hero Mr. Ma, who won a long and animated argument with a traffic cop that wanted to ticket him for waiting too long for us in a no stopping zone.  LOL.  For there, we headed for lunch.
Our first morning brought remarkably good visibilty for Beijing.   Apparently, we have the upcoming Party Congress to thank as the government most likely shut down the heavy polluters for a few weeks.  LOL.  This morning, we're off to Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City, with our guide Michael.
The highlight of our trip three years ago was the Great Wall at Jinshanling.   There were so few other people that we pretty much had the wall to ourselves, even enjoying a private picnic lunch on the wall.   We had hoped to return but for some reason, that section of the wall is currently closed.   We were assured by our tour company that the Mutianyu section wall was equally secluded.  Unfortunately, nothing was further from the truth.   The first sign of trouble was traffic on the way to the area.  And the tour buses at the base.  Ugh.
From our arrival gate, it was a 5 minute walk to customs and immigration.
Not exactly an First Class welcome to Hong Kong, as we were on our own to get to immigration. And no apparent Priority Lane, we joined the massive queue.  Although, the line moved pretty quickly and no one seemed to care why we were here or for how long.
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