Xi'an Day 3
So last night I couldn’t get much sleep as I had a nap during yesterday afternoon, so stayed up till around 1 playing fifa and reading whilst Leona was fast asleep in the bunk above, this was our first night in a dorm. The dorms were fine and we both slept well until 6:30 when my alarm went off waking us and no doubt everyone else up. We got changed as quiet as possible and made our way to reception, we then started our journey at 7 to the panda sanctuary. At 9:30 we arrived at the sanctuary and it wasn’t much to look at from afar but as you delved deeper inside there was more and more to come. We first came across two pandas and a black bear in cages we asked as to why they were confined, with the reason being they had been fighting in the mountains above and were in need of medical attention.
We went further and saw some birds along with an eagle and it was then that we came across our first pandas close up. There were 5 baby pandas and a mother; we took pictures and had a good look around. On our return from seeing other animals such as cheetah, black bear, deer, birds and wild pigs we saw a man feeding the mother panda bamboo and watched him entice her with a clap of the hands and waving the bamboo. Of course I then told Leona I could feed the babies; she was not convinced at all. We tried with no result, we tried again with the mother this time but it was no good. But with me deciding not to give up as always, I tried again with the babies and after 5 minutes of clapping and frantic waving with Leona looking on as if I was crazy, a panda came bounding down from the tree straight towards me. He was timid at first but after some gentle persuasion gave in and took the bait we were playing and feeding him for a good while and got some great pictures. As the panda rescue and sanctuary is so far away no one goes so it was only 9 people in total in the park but we found it well worth our £25 each including transport. We saw and fed red panda on the way out which are much like racoon and also monkeys who were very shy at first but happy enough to eat our Oreos.
At 12:30 we got back to the hostel and booked in for a massage for Leona and acupuncture for myself all for £15. At 3 after a while on the laptop the masseuse arrived for our appointment, as a last minute change of plan we both decided to have the acupuncture and massage. So we started breathing deeper and there it was the first few needles in, I had 12 in total and Leona had 9. After they went in they were moved in a circular motion this felt very strange but soon after the area would pulsate I was reassured this was a good sign. I really enjoyed the acupuncture and would defiantly recommend it, Leona wasn’t too impressed though as it hurt her wrist and now feels sore, Leona found it hard to relax in the room and kept watching as she was so intrigued and I don’t think this helped. Next the massage, we opted for the traditional Chinese massage which consisted of them beating you up for 30 minutes which I found very beneficial to my back and didn’t mind but Leona was wincing in pain which I found very amusing as she always tells me to man up if I have a massage and her favourite is “it’s not a massage unless it hurts” well this was certainly payback for me and every footballer she has massaged ever so deeply. Overall I really enjoyed the afternoon relaxing it was much deserved for the both of us and defiantly something I haven’t experienced before. (note from Leona – I had the guy massaging me and he definitely did not go easy. It was much worse than what I give. At one point he was kneeling on my back!).
Tomorrow evening we leave for Shanghai and I must say I will be gutted, after the horrible hotel in Beijing this place has been a much needed and loved break. We have been very busy cramming as much into the days as possible but we have also been able to relax here unlike Beijing. We have seen and experienced some amazing and great things in Xian and I am sure later down the line when I look back and remember our China trip I will have very fond memories of this city and hostel in particular.