I met my friend Hana in Chengdu to go see the Pandas and check out the city. We also made it to Leshan to see the world's biggest Buddha statue/sculpture, which rests in the side of a mountain. Chengdu is a pleasant city located not too far from Tibet. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but it surprised me to see such a commanding military presence there.
The center of the city features a massive statue of Mao whose hand is slightly larger than normal proportions. It seems to be saying "In your FACE." but most people think it is a friendly wave...
We stayed in a Hostel that cost something around 10 dollars for two evenings. The first day we walked around and looked at the city-center and The People's Park.
We only had one full day in Chengdu and woke first-thing to see the Pandas. I was a bit critical of the setup at first...it seemed more of like a panda prison to me, but It's hard to know if they would even be alive if not for places like this. It's pretty funny to watch pampered Pandas...humans cut their bamboo for them and serve it in bundles where people stand around and watch.
That afternoon we went to Leshan with two awesome Danish travelers. It was a 2.5 hour car ride from Chengdu and totally worth it. Leshan's big buddha truly is...big!
My acquaintance in Beijing suggested that I contact his best friend when I arrived in Chengdu and he was kind enough to show us some of the refurbished tourist areas.