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Our next day was supposed to be a group tour to the pandas and Leshan Giant Budda but because of yesterday's snafu we were given a private tour...smile...karma. Our drive met us at the hotel and after picking up another couple nearby we headed out to the Giant Panda Research Center. The place was mobbed, as is just about every tourist site, and the lines were ridiculous waiting for a momentary glimpse of the cuties. On top of all this is was unbearably hot and humid. However, this has been on my wish list for decades and we decided to make the most of it.
And the Red Panda, though only remotely related to Giant Pandas and more closely similar to raccoons. We never got to see one. They were either too high in the trees or secluded.
The Giant Panda is classified as a "true bear" and although separate from other bears, it is classified as one with opposing thumbs like monkeys, and a marsupial pouch like kangaroos.
The park is huge with lots of bamboo covering the paved walkways. Each enclosure area is reached via these walkways. Even in the shade it was hot.