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Manila/China September 2018 - Chengdu China

Added: Thursday, February 7th 2019 at 3:28am by Maria

The reason I went back to China 14 months after my last visit was because I arranged to meet up with friends who have never been there before.

My friend Tammy from Texas who I met in Las Vegas in 2016 and my friend Jo and her husband Paul from England, we met on facebook after visiting the same elephant sanctuary in Thailand and also shared a passion for rescuing moon bears from the bear bile industry in China.

This was their first trip to China to meet their sponsor bears so I took the opportunity to make the trip to finally meet them in person.

Jo and her husband Paul and Tammy sitting behind them.  After Chengdu the three of us decided to check out the Terracotta Warriors in Xian, and then fly to Beijing to see the Great Wall of China, my second time but their first.

I visited Chengdu in July 2017 because I wanted to meet the bear I had been sponsoring since 2012.

Her name was Caesar and she was getting old and I wanted to see her before she passed away.

I was so glad I made the trip in 2017 because only a few months later, she did pass away.

I wanted to continue sponsoring so the sanctuary gave me another bear who looks a little bit like Caesar, not a moon bear but a brown bear named Benji.

I will do a blog of our visit to the Animals Asia Moon Bear Rescue Center later.

We all checked into the Dorsett Grand Hotel where I stayed in 2017, it was a little bit upmarket from the hotels I normally stay at but it was still fairly inexpensive.

Tammy and I shared a room which halved the cost so it was great.

The Dorsett Grand Hotel

the lobby

the restaurant

the room Tammy and I shared...

the roof top where they hold wedding ceremonies..

the first couple of days Tammy and I were on our own, Jo and Paul joined us on the third day.

Tammy was not sure about having local food on her first day in China so we found a Pizza Place that offered Italian cuisine and probably the best pizza I've had in a very long time.

It's called Mike's Pizza and the manager was outstanding with his welcome and loved meeting western guests who came in for pizza.

He was from Scotland or Ireland, I cant remember but he'd been living in China for a few years and was married to a Chinese lady.

Tammy was just very happy to have her first glass of ice cold beer in China.

there were other westerners enjoying the food...

We had prosciutto wrapped grilled asparagus with shaved parmesan cheese which was absolutely incredible.

followed by the most delicious pizza EVER!!

(to be continued...)

User Comments

So Ceasar was a moon bear?  Somehow i thought they were smaller.

no Caesar was also a brown bear. Moon bears are black with a large crescent moon on their chests. The majority of bears in this sanctuary are moon bears but they do have a few brown and other kind of bears.  Bear bile is a commodity and it doesnt matter what breed of bear it comes from.

Ok, I thought Ceasar looked a lot like the other one..>LOL

Benji is also a brown bear and they are way bigger than moon bears. They gave me Benji because he looks like Caesar and he and his sister are now occupying Caesar's large enclosure. I have a video and pictures for another blog later. {#basic-laugh.gif}

Great....I saw some moon bears at the zoo here, or thought I did.  they were black with the moon....but since it was the moon bear refuge, I assumed that most of the bears were that....and was a bit confused.  Glad to see thst my instinct were right...

there's also sun bears that are same size as moon bears, they are also black but the crescent on their chests are yellow instead of white.

Oh my, now I am no longer certain whether they were moon or sun bears that I saw at the zoo.  Goodness, it gets so confusing..>LOL

It was good you saw Caesar in 2017.   She does look old in that pic.  What age do bears usually live to ?

The Doresett Hotel looks beautiful.  l am sure you enjoyed staying there. 

That pizza and asparagus look delicious.  Just heading to make some lunch now you have got me hungry.

In captivity they can live to around 50 if they are reasonably well looked after. Sadly even the ones living torturous lives in bear bile farms live more than 30 years and it's 30 or 40 years of absolute unimaginable hell for them but they continue to live because they get the basic necessity of food every day.  I dont their life expectancy in the wild, I guess it depends on where they are and how much food and shelter they have.

The Dorsett was beautiful and I enjoyed it because I usually go for less extravagant hotels when I travel....{#basic-laugh.gif}

l have never heard of bear bile farms. l don't like the thought of the bears going through absolute hell.

That's the problem, there are still way too many people who have no idea what these bears have gone through for decades to extract bile and I will tell you, it is horrific!!  Fortunately things are changing because of Animal Asia's efforts for the last twenty years to bring awareness to the people and the powers that be in China and other places in Asia that bear bile can be dangerous and there are much better alternatives derived from plants and also synthetic production that is thankfully taking over the demand. I'd suggest doing research about the industry but to be honest it is stomach-churning and once you see things, it is very difficult to unsee them...especially if you are an animal lover.  What happens to these bears is soul destroying.

l don't think l would want to research too much into that Maria because it would be very upsetting to think that animals are suffering in such a horrific way.  l just had no idea this was going on.

l did check it out and l could not go any further with reading about it.  Why can't this be stopped ?

it is being stopped but not fast enough. Eventually though it will die out completely either by government mandate or because it can no longer be a sustainable industry due to the amount of production by synthetic or plant derivatives. 

as I said, it is soul destroying....{#basic-cry.gif}

At least there is an effort being made to stop it.  That is a good thing.

This hotel is fabulous and the views!  Everything is so beautiful.

it was a nice place to stay Dani, very central too!!

I'd like to go to China but they are too happy to detain Canadians at the moment.

oh really? I didnt know that.  Why?? There's lots of expats from all countries in Beijing, living and working there. We met quite a few in our short stay and they were primarily from the US and Canada, oh and we met a couple from Germany.

Canada arrested the CFO of China's major telecom, Huawei, on an extradition warrent from the USA. She is being held until the extradition hearing. China is retaliating by arresting Canadians and holding them without charge.

Holy Smokes, I havent seen that story in the news...or maybe I have but it didnt register as interesting or something.  Yes, stay out of China at least until that mess is cleared up and Canadians can visit without fear. China (politics aside) is really a beautiful and fascinating country. Beijing city is breath-takingly gorgeous, the food is to die for and what can you say about the Great Wall...(I dont mean the one that is waiting to be built in the southern border...lol)...it is really something to behold.

Glad you saw the bear before it passed away. If I was traveling in those places I would try to find a Hostel (may not be spelled right) or a Guest House. These place look expensive and I don't need all the fancy things they offer, and would prefer to hang out in the local homey type of places too sleep. This was nice. Bro. Doc

sorry to be contrary Bro Doc, in "those" places you would be well advised to be a little more particular about where you stay. China has magnificent modern cities and the hotels are excellent but in places outside of the well known cities, you dont want to risk staying in homey type places to sleep, believe me...lol.  This hotel was beautiful but nowhere near as expensive as it would have been if it was in the west like American, Australia or Canada.  It looks grand and all but the accommodation prices are much more affordable than in the west. {#basic-smile.gif}

What I would do to stay in the other places is go through an agency. I sure they would be save then. I am not into all the fancy things in a hotel. They might be cheaper but I would like more contact with the local people. Bro. Doc

I do go through a booking agency Bro Doc. I am a member of Agoda and have been for years. I started using them when I was living in Jakarta and I get the best deals from them. And I also collect reward points for every booking and I can redeem the points for even more discounts on future bookings.  Oh, you and I are the same when it comes to more contact with local people, that's one of the things I love about traveling, the meeting of peoples of other cultures and beliefs.  That is one of the best things about visiting other countries!!...{#high_five.gif}

Glad you go through a booking agency. Since I moved back to where I grew up population of 6012 in Junction City, OR I have had more activity in local things, like the Chamber of Commerence, the Amercian Legion, Habitate for Humanity etc. So contacts with the locals is important. Glad you can get points and use them. Bro. Doc

Habitat for Humanity is one Charity I eagerly support.

They do lots of good for people. President Jimmy Carter, was well known for working with them for years, after he was President. Glad we have a store in town. Bro. Doc.

apparently he still is, I see a lot of  facebook posts of him and his wife still building and at their age, it is not only amazing but so inspiring!!

I thought that I read at his age which is 94 he was not building. I wonder if those are older pictures of what he did. Maybe I am mistsaken? Bro. Doc

the pictures I have seen that frequently come up on facebook do mention his age and he is still wielding a hammer building a house with his wife standing next to him or just behind him.  But then photos are so easily photo-shopped these days so who know.  They are mainly promotional fund-raising photos for Habitat for Humanity.

Well, I just goggled President Carter, and saw a picture from last year in 2018 at age 94 him and his wife with their safety helmets on working. So I guess he is still at it. Guess that is what keeps him young. Bro. Doc

God Bless him..{#basic-smile.gif}

I had really thought he had stopped. Glad you brought him up. Bro. Doc

I have to say, I think you have got some imagination

I have to say, you have the most appropriate name....{#basic-laugh.gif}

How wonderful to meet up with people you hadn't met in person before, I think that must have been so great, and the pictures are just lovely, looks like you had a good time.

I do believe Jo and Paul are the very first friends from facebook I have met in person and they are just totally awesome!!  Tammy I met when I was in Las Vegas on the bus to the Grand Canyon and have kept in contact through facebook. It was a thrill to see her again half way around the world and the three of us are meeting up again in Vietnam sometime towards the end of this year. {#basic-laugh.gif}

looks a lovely hotel..i love  asparagras  too..[slimming x !]

Asparagus is one of my most favorite!!!..{#yummy.gif} {#yummy.gif}

The grilled asparagus looks delicious.  Beautiful pics and the bears are so soulful looking.  thank you 

Hi Ana, it's good to see you again.  Thank you for your visit.

It is good to be back  Thank you. 

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