My main outing, then, with Mom and Dad here, was to go see the pandas. The friends they're staying with recommended a guy who could drive us, wait around for a few hours, and then drive us back, so we decided to do that.
The three of us combined managed to have a reasonable conversation with the guy. He looked to me for pronunciation, I looked to mom for listening comprehension, and she looked to Dad for grammar help when she wanted to say something. It was a team effort. The guy who was driving us was very nice and spoke reasonably standard Chinese. Best of all, he had a great sense of humor and laughed when we were trying to be funny, showing off his rotten, yellow teeth (it did seem like he had a full set, though).
Seeing the pandas was fantastic. All of us USAC students went in the first few weeks, and I thought we were lucky to see a panda climb a tree and then the trainer have to follow him because he wouldn't come down, but something was different this time. There are several enclosures, designated by age of panda. We found one pen of adults to be the most active.
At first, one ate sugarcane while the others meandered over.
Then the first went over to a different part and started munching on bamboo. Despite there being a huge amount of bamboo piled up, a second panda started eating the other end of the same stalk. Eventually, the other pandas came over and each ate with careful consideration for how their body was angled for all the tourists' cameras. This picture gives you a good idea of what we saw for several minutes.
Mom and Dad were really impressed. Pandas are so much more magnificent than I had thought of before coming to China. And, in honor of my parents actually being in China right now, here's a third picture with them in it. Actually, there isn't, because the Internet isn't happy with me now.