Saturday, May 13, 2006

Panda-mania in Chengdu

Do you remember the sex ed video from grade 9 gym class called "The Miracle of Birth"? For those of you who haven't seen it, it's a dated educational video that features, above all else, a disturbing close-up of a live birth. It had the effect of inducing groans of "ewwwww gross!" and "ouuuuchhhhh!" from the group of 14-year-old girls in my gym class and, at least briefly, had us all pledging to never have sex. It was a dose of video birth control.

I was again reminded of this film, as I sat through the panda equivalent of it at the Panda Breeding Centre in Chengdu, China. And if I ever wondered why pandas were an endangered species, I don't anymore after seeing this disturbing video.

I watched in disgust as a gross, pinkish, alien-looking creature shot out of the mother panda's vagina and began screeching in a violent way. This caused the mother panda to literally jump across the cage in fear (I think that I would do the same if that thing suddenly shot out of my vagina). Panicking, and apparently unable to identify this rat-like animal as its offspring, the mother began violently batting the baby panda around the cage like a beachball before it was saved by the centre's caregivers. The video informed us that this is apparently a common reaction because most females are surprised when they give birth the first time. No wonder so few pandas exist in the wild.

The pandas themselves were quite cute. I spent the morning watching them in their enclosures eating bamboo, sleeping and even take a shit. Apparently they don't do much more than that. Sometimes they have sex, which the Chinese always refer to as "panda marriage", as if though the panda, like humans, should be incapable of reproducing unless they are married. I didn't see any live panda sex shows, but there were photos of panda porn on signs scattered throughout the park, many of them including graphic descriptions of panda mating habits.

So you are of course wondering where pandas now rate on my animal scale. Well, it's still penguins at #1, but pandas come in a close second (namely because none of them attacked me or farted on me), with camels and monkeys rounding out the end of the list.


Anonymous Sandra in Japan said...

Hi Della,

I'm glad to see you are continuing with your sex eduction courses. I'm not sure if you received our e-mail so thought I'd let you know that Jay and I will be in Hangzhou from the 21st to the 24th or 25th and then the rest of the time will be spent in Shanghai - departing on the 30th. Let me know if you want us to pay for your airfare back to Tokyo. Hope the trek is everything you wanted it to be. Take care. Love, Jay and Sandra

11:20 PM  

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