Hug My Baby has become a must do event ever since we joined the program 5 years ago. It’s the opportunity to make acquaintances with new contacts and catch up with old friends. This year was no different. The Panda Club Staff bent over backwards to make everyone comfortable and happy. They worked hard to make this event happen. Thank you, Panda Club! You did a marvelous job!
This year we were not given the itinerary in advance, so everything was a surprise. We all made the best of the short time we spent at the Bifengxia Base…rain and all. We were particularly grateful to Jason who took a group of us to the new breeding center to visit Lin Ping, one of our adoptees. Jason let us take our time. Lin Ping is doing well and what a first-rate mother she has become! There are so many mothers and their babies at this center. It is a truly magical sight!
Next stopover was on the other side of the base to see Jinke, another adoptee of ours. Jason once again obliged and we had ample time to see him. It was nice to look into his powerful eyes again. This visit was short but sweet.
The rest of the time was spent at the nursery, New Leopard Mountain, and White Bear Grounds. The time at Bifengxia was brief but all of us managed to see what we wanted.
There are some new changes at the base. I was told western toilets are now available and Old Leopard Mountain is closed for renovation.
Other events such as taking pictures with Shen Bin’s cub, cleaning a panda enclosure, and hand feeding the mid-morning treat to Mei Sheng,(the San Diego born panda), were held at the Dujiangyan Base. The poignant part of the trip was visiting the former enclosure of Bai Xue, our adopted panda who passed away in June. Although she is no longer living, we deeply felt her presence.
The side trip to the Sichuan Cuisine Museum was fantastic! After entering, we saw the antiquities with a local guide, enjoyed free samples, and even had the experience of learning to cook 3 dishes as rookie chefs!
Staying at the Panda Hotel was a treat. The rooms were decorated with panda motifs such as towels, slippers, paintings on the walls, soap dishes, coffee cups and much more.
The lunches and dinners hosted by Panda Club were always delicious, plentiful, and enjoyable. The whole event ended too soon and needless to say, we are thankful for such a program by Panda Club. Their staff outdid themselves. The 12th Hug My Baby event can’t come soon enough!
William and Karom Burke
Honolulu, Hawaii USA