Traveling in China: Exploring Bookstores, Braving the Traffic in Xian

Yesterday, we had some time on our own and I had spotted a book store two blocks away so off three of us went for an adventure. Our guide was fairly leery about our going alone. Finding the store was not the problem. It was getting there across the Chinese intersections that worried her. The... Read more »

Traveling in China--We are Educated into Chinese Life

As we drive from site to site, from our hotel in Ya’An to the panda base and back, our guide provides us with a running commentary on life in China for her. She is young, somewhere in her late twenties, early thirties, the granddaughter of professional people, the daughter of people caught up and punished... Read more »

Traveling in China: Flying Solo from Ya'An to Beijing

Sadly we said good-by to our Panda research facilitators and climbed on our bus for the two hour drive to the Chengdu airport.   Our Earthwatch guide took us as far as the terminal doors, hugged us and pointed us in the direction for checking in. We were left to fend for ourselves. But we... Read more »
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Traveling in China: Staying in Ya'An

Ya’An is a charming city.  We were delighted to be staying there. Unlike the huge cities of Xian and Shanghai with their rows and rows of concrete high rises, this city seemed to have remained a moderate sized town that was considered a good place to go for a vacation and we could see why... Read more »

Traveling in China: Meandering through Shang Li, a Chinese Village

  This evening we do not return to Ya’an for dinner. Instead we drive south to Shangli, a small village that has maintained its traditional Chinese character, architecturally and culturally.We walk through the main section with its small, storefront shops and restaurants. The owners sit on their chairs, watching the visitors go by. Women work... Read more »

Traveling in China: The Yin and Yang of Pandas

The China I am seeing is the embodiment of its Confucian philosophy of Yin and Yang.Two parts in opposition to one another that make a whole. There is modernization but there is also pollution; urbanization but also the uprooting of a rural life, panda preservation but also panda business. Pandas are a profitable business, and,... Read more »
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Traveling in China: Our Panda Data Enters the Panda Research Data Base

Our Final day. At the end of the day, our guides take us to a special area within the Preserve. There are trees, creating an arbor. In one area there are small yellow markers in the ground. These are the markers from all of our volunteers, Justin, our Earthwatch guide, explains. Each one is planted... Read more »

Traveling in China: Working Again in the Panda Kindergarten

Once again we took our hour bus drive to the panda base. This was the first time we saw people out in the fields working. It was apparently time to harvest the crop. On the way home we saw rice grain bundled like small corn stalks, about 18 inches high. Back at our seminar room, we continued inputting the... Read more »

Traveling in China: Working in the Panda Kindergarten

Day 3. This was the day I had been waiting for. We would be able to “play” with the kindergarten pandas. I didn’t even mind waking at 6:30. Once at the Preserve, we donned out brown maintenance coveralls. For the first time we put blue plastic covers over our shoes, tucked our gloves into a pocket... Read more »
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Traveling in China: Lecture on Panda Diseases

Professor Chunxiang provided lecture three on panda diseases. I took detailed notes for my colleague who is a zoologist and has specialized in wolves.Of the hour lecture, the following informationis probably the mot interesting. . The panda has a short, small stomach. This is one of the reasonst he panda easts so often; it can’t... Read more »
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    Carolyn Boiarsky

    " I am an American," but not "Chicago born" like Augie March. Only Chicago aged. I'd like to think that if Henry Louis Gates were to investigate my geneology, he would discover in my past three women who traveled around the globe, chronicling their adventures. Sarah Kemble Knight traveled 112 miles by carriage from Boston to New York in 1704, a journey most women did not embark on alone (and men did so only with some trepidation). In fact, women were only just beginning to exercise their independence in the 1920's when Emily Kimbrough took off with her friend, Cornelia Otis Skinner, to explore Europe. But it is Auntie Mame, transforming herself from a New Yorker to the wife of an Austrian Baron and climbing the Matterhorn, whose mantra I have adopted. "LIFE IS A BANQUET...LIVE!" I began travelling in the 1960's when I traveled around western Europe between graduating from the Univiersity of Pennsylvania and my first job as a statehouse correspondent for UPI (United Press International) in Charleston, West Virginia, which was about as foreign a place as Europe was to someone who grew up in the environs of Philadelphia. Since then, I've also travelled to Kaunas, Lithuania, to teach at Vytautus Magnus University and to Sheffield, England, to present a paper at an engineering conference. I've been to the Alps and seen Auntie Mame's Matterhorn while climbing, by a series of cable cars rather than by foot, toward the peak of Mont Blanc. For the past 10 years my husband and I have been traveling to unique places: a sheep farm during lambing season in England's Lake Country, a hotel on one of the Barromeo Islands in the middle of Lake Maggiore in Northern Italy, and a cottage in Dun Quin on the Dingle Peninsula which the Irish claim is the last parish before Boston. Between excursions, I'm a professor in the Department of English at Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, Indiana,. My husband passed away recently and, Auntie Mame-style, I am in the process of transforming myself. Last year I joined a tour to Central Asia. This year I'm going to China to work with the pandas. A new adventure. Another banquet.

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