I actually got a good night sleep sans cricket. Who knew mosquito repellent would work. #desperatetimes
There is a rooster that pops off around 630 but it's faint and I didn't really hear him until I was already up.
Nothing special about breakfast but my sticky/sweet buns were good.
The hike to our panda enclosure wasn't terrible but my foot just isn't easing up on the pain. I can walk through it but I'm falling behind the rest of the group. I was pretty aware that was going to happen and brought my headphones to listen to "The Dirty 2". Mind you, the group is like power-walking. I only slowed down to a normal pace.
We got there and I expected the same routine as yesterday. Cleaning the ins and outs plus feeding Jin Ke some pandacakes and carrots. Before we started, Jin Ke weighed in at 120 Kilos (roughly 265lbs).
But there was so much more. They are moving Wu Gang and Jin Ke to new enclosures so we were tasked to do the prep cleaning for the big move. I quickly felt like I went from volunteering with pandas to hard prison labor. Only "prison" because well... we were literally behind bars. I wasn't able to take any photos due to the manual labor.
I managed to get through it and we headed back to give Jin Ke a snack before heading back for lunch. I don't think I've mentioned this yet but Jin Ke is apparently THE STUD at the reserve. He is originally from the wild and the females usually choose him as a mate. He's got around 20 children. Handsome, fertile fella.
Thankfully, I had about an hour to recoup after lunch but of course I could've used another. On the way to "work" there is a dreaded steep hill that I absolutely hate and want to conquer (not feel like I am going to die when I reach the top). I have no idea what happened but it was basically a waterfall. You all know me... I almost panicked. This isn't the first time but I am SO THANKFUL I bought these waterproof hiking shoes. Needless to say, I made it down the hill without falling, rolling, sliding, what have you.
We did our normal snack but this time apples were included. They actually use the apples as a way to give the pandas their medicine.
I just relaxed between feedings but walked around a bit to see some of the other pandas. I am really looking forward to next week because the base will be very quiet after the holiday is over. The crowds of people make it pretty difficult. One new reason I am so happy I am here for an additional week.
After the long walk back, I immediately went to the water dispenser to fill up my water bottle. I started and one of the staff ran up telling me to stop but more waiving her hands and speaking Chinese. There was no water jug... she was cleaning the machine and I was too tired to realize I was filling my bottle with soap water. Needless to say, I bought 2 new bottles of water. 3 CNY which is less than 50 cents. No big deal, just felt like a moron.
Before dinner we had a calligraphy lesson. Nothing fancy but we used traditional brushes and ink to write Chinese numbers, our name, and our pandas name.
After dinner, we decided to postpone the next Chinese lesson and just hung out in the "social room." It was really great to just talk and share stories with the other volunteers. We talked about everything from our day here to personal details about our lives back home. It's a really great group of people and it's nice getting to know everyone. A few beers and so many laughs.
Till tomorrow, Panda out.