Excerpts: Pandas Unlimited Blog
Four middle-aged American women travelled all the way to China to check on a loved one. His name is Tai Shan. He's a panda.
Since the day Tai Shan left the National Zoo in Washington DC last February, the women have been planning their trip. One of them, Karen Wille, posted updates on the online photo forum of a Tai Shan fan group called Pandas Unlimited., to keep others informed of her travels. Some of Willie's entries are below.
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"I'm the crazy panna lady of the tour group since I keep mentioning Tai over and over, but I just can't help it. I try not to say his name too often but, as we get closer, and the anticipation builds, I'm nervous, giddy etc.
Will post again soon. Giant Tai hugs,
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"Now for the moment you've all been waiting for ¿ when we fist saw Tai. BFX is quite large and there are many 'roads' winding throughout. We took the tram (bus) up to Leopard Mountain where our Prince awaited us. We e got off the tram and started walking up the hill towards his enclosure (there are soooooooooo many hills) and as we came up to the top, there was Tai, almost like he was waiting for us. It quite simply took my breath away to see him looking so magnificent and healthy. We started calling to him "Tai Shan, Good Boy, We Love You Tai" and he recognized our voices and looked right at us. That has happened over and over and each time I just melt. I just stared at him for a few minutes until it sunk in that I was really here, in China, and Tai was right in front of me. I was speechless, in awe, humbled, excited and head over heels in love with him all over again (not that I ever stopped loving him for one moment)."
"Did I cry? Yep, I cried several times. I was just so overwhelmed with emotion at seeing him, remembering when he left and getting to see him again. I just kept staring at him and telling him that you all send lots of huggies and kisses and I also told him that his Mommy and Daddy love him too and are very, very proud of him ¿ as am I."
"Next was the best part. We got to feed Boo Bear. The keeper brought carrots for him which he gladly ate, but he was not happy that there was no panna bread along with the carrots... Then he got a tweet. While he was eating his tweet, we got to rub his arm and paw, hold his paw and we even tickled his feetsies. In general, pannas don't like their feetsies tickled but he let us tickle one part of his foot where there was more fuwr. As each of us gave him a carrot, he chomped on it straight away and was ready for the next... We got to gaze into his eyes and he made eye contact with each of us. We talked to him the while time and told him what a good boy he was."