1. Showing off my city
2. Pandas with Aunt Linda
Seeing the Panda Research Center in Chengdu was an amazing experience. The facility was huge & gorgeous. Our tour guide had a lot to tell us & was really good at spotting the pandas. The pandas are just as goofy and lazy as I expected. The best part of that day was when I got a chance to hold a panda cub! He (or she?) was about 7 months old and the size of a one year old child. He was fluffy & cuddly! He was very well behaved & sat on my lap & ate some bamboo. I took a ton of pictures & couldn't stop smiling. Easily one of the most amazing experiences in my life. It is unbelievable how neat it was & I realize it's something most people will never get to do.
My last biggest highlight was Xi'an. Obviously, I am pretty partial to Nanjing as the best of the Ancient Capitals. However, Xi'an is a close 3rd (it can't beat out Beijing). No, I haven't been to the others, but I assume they don't stand a chance. The city was really dusty, but it was neat. I still choose Nanjing as a place to live, though. Xi'an is great for a weekend or a day trip. Seeing the Terracotta Warriors (兵马俑) was really impressive. I just can not imagine how long it must have taken to create those. Also, what went through Qin Shi Huang's mind that he thought he needed this much protection in his next life?! The exhibit is set up in 3 rooms & they are just unbelievably humongous! Each individual warrior is unique & has a distinct face, size, etc. I would have LOVED to see them when they were all originally painted. It must have been overwhelming. After we saw the Army, we got some of the best noodles ever! We just went to a little restaurant by the museum & order basic noodle dishes. However, these particular noodles were not ordinary at all. They were delicious! The texture was perfect, kind of thick, and the sauce/broth was great. They were a really close second to the top of my Xi'an list!
So, those are my top 3 experiences from having my family in town. The best part was just having them only a phone call/room away. I definitely miss them a lot, but now I think they can picture my life better while they are thousands of miles away.