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China celebrated its 60th anniversary a few weekends ago.  So I took a long weekend and celebrated by journeying into mainland China…to CHENGDU, in the heart of Sichuan Province (about 3 hours from HK by plane).

Sichuan/Szechuan is famous for its SPICY FOOD. The kind of intense in your nostrils, teary eyed HOT that numbs your whole mouth. They also still practice some of the most elaborate rituals surrounding tea drinking customs in all of China … and are you ready?? Most importantly, Sichuan is home to China’s PANDAS.

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Eight year old Stephanie has been waiting for this moment all her life.  They are so CUDDLY and HUGGABLE and LOVEABLE! I laughed, I cried, I took over 400 pictures, I could have stayed for days, I fell in love. I had to be torn away. I bought a panda costume from the gift shop, and now am going to be cuddly and huggable and loveable for Halloween. hahaha. Its True.

It rained a lot but it was still a great time, Went to the Opera, Le Shan Big Buddah, monasteries, mueums, Da Fu’s Cottage (top chinese poet) and did NOT eat rat. I stayed at a hostel and met the most interesting people from all over the world. Travelers out on hols for 6 months to a year. Can you imagine? We’d all stay up late drinking Chinese beer every night, setting firecrackers off in the street, and planning adventures. Thankfully I met a ton of people to hang out with who spoke manadarin MUCH better than I do and had no problems getting around. To my credit though, I had no problem asking questions and being understood … it was just the understanding the answers part that gave me trouble. haha.

Sadly there are no pictures of me hugging a panda. It cost 1000RMB & I decided to save $ for my next adventure in a few weeks to SINGAPORE! I Hope you all are happy, healthy, and passionately living each day to its utmost potential!!! (If you were a panda that means you’d be eating bamboo for 10-16 hours a day!)

—Stephanie Hauk

Ms. Hauk is a native Clevelander, but is guest bloging from Hong Honk. She is obsessed with all things beautiful. See her blog here http://vicioushawk.blogspot.com/

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