China / Travelling in Chengdu

The panda bucket list

By Daryl Warren ( Updated: 2016-02-04 15:11

China Daily website is inviting you to share Chengdu Story with us!and here are some points that we hope will help contributors:

Life can take many twists and turns but often the reality can be stranger than fiction.

In 2012 my wife passed away after a 4 year battle with a brain tumour, always a pragmatic woman she accepted her fate and carried on with a stoic but positive attitude, as she said everyday you wake up is a good day.

After she died I was sorting through her bits and pieces and came across what can only be described as a “Bucket List” or in her words “The List”

My wife was very well travelled where as I was not, we often watched travel shows and as places flashed on screen her nonchalant response was “been there” to which I had no reply, but a certain degree of envy.

In her later years she lost the use of many functions, speech became difficult and it was the no surprise that the List that I found was to say the least very short and to the point. It read simply

  • Guinness 
  • Highland cows 
  • Prague 
  • Abbey Road 
  • Pandas 
  • Baileys


Now it didn’t take much for me to work out what she was saying, we had often talked about these things as we watched travel shows and she was very keen one day to show me these places or share them in situ, except pandas. Now she had never travelled to Asia or let alone been to see a panda, but it was on her list, I worked out she was keen to share this adventure with me at some time but never got around to it.

The beauty of the Internet is that either by a click of the mouse or a barrage of emails extolling the latest travel tip, airfare or destination from time to time something strikes a chord, so it was with interest that one day in 2014 I noticed a banner headline for cheap airfares to China, particularly Chengdu home of you guessed it pandas!

Before too long I had made the necessary arrangements, booked airfares (extremely cheap) and accommodation and in August 2014 I flew to Chengdu from Melbourne to meet the pandas.

As part of the trip, as most would do to assist in communication, I downloaded some apps to get by on my trip. QQ was the most useful for my needs but little did I know that it was also a great way to make friends in China.

One QQ friend has now become more than just a friend and as I prepare to return to China in March 2016 to visit her and her family I am reminded everyday of the “List” that my wife left with just the one word “panda” and the incredible journey that I have embarked on because of that.

The opinions expressed do not represent the views of the China Daily website.

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