Considering most people have only ever seen pandas in cartoons or YouTube videos, a lot of them are mighty judgemental at my going to the conservation centre in Chengdu and not taking the opportunity to hug one.
To be perfectly honest. I think it’s cruel. Pandas, if their behaviour is anything to go by, would actually quite like to just quietly die out.
I mean they eat for 16 hours a day and only move if they absolutely have to. They also hurl themselves around as though they want to fall on their head from a great height. And then they appear confused when they do in fact, land on their head from a great height.
Does that sound like a creature that cares about its survival?
Animals that want to achieve extinction do not want to socialise, not even with each other. So why on earth would they want to hug a family of 6 humans from Sheffield? Or me?
Also, pandas are kind of dirty when you see them in real life. You can’t expect something that lazy to keep up with its hygiene, they probably smell really bad, it would have rubbed off on me and I have this weird thing where I don’t like to stink of shit.
Not to mention the fact that the ‘small donation’ you have to leave in return for a reluctant panda hug would have alleviated me of my life savings.
So rather than run off to find a loans place near me, which I did: http://www.financeflamingo.com/payday-loans-near-me/, and spend an awkward 10 minutes having a camera shoved in my face (which I get to experience in China for free most days anyway).
While I sit with an animal that has been dragged in and out of the same room all morning to be embraced by all manner of strangers and doesn’t want to be there. And end up with a photo I look awful in and a desperate need to take a shower.
I chose to just keep a respectful distance, for not a million dollars.