Hi there! This is Heads and Tails. Wonders of the World. And we, as you see, flew to China! To the city of Chengdu. To see all kinds of pandas!
I have already prepared for our dear wonder of the world. I put on such white and black clothes. I have not slept for a year! I was saving bags under my eyes. For a week, I chewed bamboo this way.
As you see, I prepared for another life. Let the coin decide everything!
Tails! Ohhh! I want to pull their cheeks and hug their back like that! Antosha! Antosha! Antosha! Anton! Let’s do it one more time! Please!!! I am in such despair! Oh, okay… Wonders of the world can be majestic. Pompous. Dangerous. At the same time, they can also be plump, furry, and incredibly cute. The Big Panda is the rarest and most beautiful bear in the world. This is a wonder of nature, which deserves a separate issue. To see these pandas, we came to their homeland, that is, to the city of mountains and bamboo forests, to the city of pandas known as Chengdu. – Well… Listen, this is some kind of delight! Nearby, it is even nicer and more pleasant than from afar. You can already see that Chengdu is a city of pandas at the airport! Ahh! Well… I will use ultrasound! How to withstand it at all? If such a situation exists at the airport, then what is there in the city? Pasha! I have no money! Could you please buy me one panda? Well… Okay, Pasha… When you ask me to buy some beer, I will do so too. The most convenient and cheapest way to get to the city centre is to take the subway, which costs 6 yuan… And here you can also see the panda. And the cartoon panda also shows everyone the Rules of Conduct in the Subway. Chengdu is a city of pandas. All panda lovers from all over the world come here, and here they have allocated special transport for such people. Panda taxi! Tosha bought a panda mobile! Pam-pam…
Well… Stop! Of course, I could afford such a car as Bentley or Range Rover… However… Just look what is behind this taxi! Paws! Let’s be honest! This is not a new taxi. However, with the help of a premium card, you can arrange a panda party in any car.
Well, let’s visit our pandas! And here is the city of pandas, that is, Chengdu. Nobody has heard of Chengdu in our country. At the same time, this is a metropolis, in which 15 million people live! This is the capital of the vast province of Sichuan. It is in Chengdu that the largest building in the WORLD is located! The largest building in the WORLD is located in Chengdu! Just imagine! Each of its sides is FIVE MILES long! Not enough?! And how do you like it? In Chengdu, they are about to launch an artificial moon into orbit! To be more precise, I would like to tell you that they plan to launch a satellite with a huge mirror that will reflect sunlight and illuminate the city at night. However, the main wonder of Chengdu is the big pandas!!! Here they are real superstars! The image of pandas is present in promotional materials! The image of pandas is present on buses! The image of pandas is present inside the buses! There are statues in the form of pandas. There are trees in the form of pandas. Here is the ass of that panda that is climbing a skyscraper. And here is the panda itself. You look at this face and your heart beats in a special way. Well, how is this possible?
Pandas meet you near the shops! Thanks to pandas, they are oriented in time. If the clock shows the ass of the panda, it means that now it is 2 p.m. Here even pets are painted like pandas! Dear guys! There is a cult of pandas here!
Even if you do not see the panda in Chengdu, it is somewhere nearby. The Chinese themselves buy and wear everything related to pandas. Hoops with the image of a panda… Key chains with the image of a panda… Caps with the image of a panda… Toys with the image of a panda… Shelves in souvenir shops are bursting with goods with the image of pandas. Clothes pegs with the image of a panda… Fans with the image of a panda… Bracelets with the image of a panda…
Oh my God! He hugs me! How can I get out of here? Ahhh! Key chain according to the signs of the horoscope with the image of a panda… And here is mine! Libra! Of course, it all seems like some kind of craziness.
Who (being in his / her right mind) will buy all this? Kung Fu Panda! Oh! What a paw! Big pandas do not walk the streets of Chengdu. They live in special panda centres. They are looked after, treated, studied, and propagated here. And to have money for all these needs, they charge 8 dollars per entry. To make pandas feel at home, here they have grown bamboo thickets. Paaaaandas!!! Oh! Wow! It sleeps in such a strange way! How can it even sleep like that? It hangs in such a strange way! I have seen pandas a million times in pictures and on TV. However, seeing a panda live is completely different! It looks like a huge living toy! Of course, I really want to climb over the fence, grab, love, and hug it. I am going to look at the pandas too! Nevertheless, I want to visit another panda centre called Dujiangyan. Just look! Look! There is a panda! A panda! Oh my God! This is 100 kilograms of charm and absurdity! Let me tell you what a panda is. The big panda is a bear, although it has long been believed that it is a relative of a raccoon. A panda (like a real bear) can grow up to two meters and weigh up to two hundred kilograms! Pandas do not live long. That is, on average they live 26 years. This panda is called Shulan. It is 25 years old (just like me). This is what a panda of retirement age looks like.
Did you know that the big panda is found only in China? Therefore, it is considered a national treasure. ALL pandas in the world belong to China. If you see a panda in a zoo in another country, you should know that it was leased from China for 1 million dollars a year! If pandas are born in a foreign zoo, they still belong to China. After all, each of us wants to run up, to cuddle, and to hug this panda. However, you should know that if you come up and want to hug a panda, then you will go to jail. Pandas are so expensive to China that you can be sentenced to death for killing a bear! Well… Just look at these black and white cute creatures! Pandas are the most awkward animals in the world. Therefore, they are so funny! People respond with enthusiasm to any panda movement. I do not know how about fire and water… However, you can enjoy these animals for hours. Looking at the pandas, it becomes not clear how they (being so awkward) survived in the wild. And now pandas live even harder. They are starving due to deforestation of bamboo forests. Pandas are hunted by poachers. On the black market, they give one hundred thousand dollars for the skin of an adult panda. All this has led to the fact that there are only one thousand eight hundred… six hundred and four pandas in the wild. To increase the population of pandas is almost the main mission of China. This is 130 thousand dollars per panda! As a result, over the past fifteen years, 400 little pandas have been born in panda centres. The number of pandas would be much larger if several problems did not exist. A female panda can get pregnant only 2 days a year. In addition, pandas are very moody and they do not like to breed AT ALL. Making pandas mate is not an easy task. Just look! There are two pandas in the aviary. In fact, only babies can be together. Adult pandas are located separately in different cages. However… When the superintendents of the scientific centre understand that the pandas want to… they combine them in one enclosure and… after everything happens, they are again immediately separated.
And if mating does not occur, they show animals special erotic films with pandas to teach them how to make love. If everything went well, after 5 months, the panda gives birth to two cubs. In appearance, newborn pandas are similar to rat pups. And these cubs weigh only a hundred grams. It is as if a newborn human child was no larger than a mouse. Newborn pandas are naked and helpless. They cannot even poop themselves. Mum needs to massage her little baby’s belly with her nose. Only a month later, little pandas acquire their signature black and white colour. In the centre, there is a panda nursery where for a couple of minutes tourists are allowed to see the kids. Oh my God! There is only one panda kid here! Only one! It is so sweet! What a good baby! Baby pandas gain weight very quickly. At the age of 12 months, they already weigh 45 kilograms! Here all the people are smiling because (as it seems to me) there is not a single indifferent person to the baby panda. Without the help and care of people, bamboo bears would have died out long ago. And now only people can save this wonder of the world. Pandas are sacred for the Chinese. Nevertheless, I found a way to get as close to them as possible! To do this, you need to pay 250 dollars and get a volunteer at the panda breeding centre. Why do I need these gloves? I feel that an interesting work is waiting for me. The first task for me is to collect the bamboo that the panda has not eaten. These animals eat so much! Pandas are vegetarians. Bamboo makes up 99 % of their diet. They eat 10 kilograms of bamboo per day! By the way, pandas have a sixth finger that helps them while eating bamboo. To be more precise: this is a large callus on the forelegs, which has grown specifically to make it more convenient for them to hold stems. Bamboo is not a very hearty meal, since only its juice is absorbed. Therefore, pandas eat bamboo 12 hours a day. And then they sleep for 12 hours… while their stomachs digest bamboo. The result is… well… here! I want to say thanks to this panda. It really helped me find a job. However, panda excrement is not waste but income. Just imagine! In China, there is a company that makes face wipes from faeces of pandas and sells them for 6 and a half dollars! At the same time… One Chinese millionaire buys faeces of pandas. He uses them to make TEA, which is the most expensive in the world!
A cup of tea made from panda poop costs 4 thousand hryvnias. Wow! The second task is to cook for pandas. Okay… It is necessary to break the bamboo into smaller pieces so that it is more convenient for pandas to eat it. In fact, pandas are very moody animals. They eat bamboo that has grown only in the region where they come from. Therefore, if they are in a zoo located at the other end of the world, the Chinese authorities send them bamboo grown in their region. Therefore, pandas are considered one of the most expensive animals to keep. They spend almost 3 million dollars a year on food, care, and treatment of one panda, which is located in one of the foreign zoos! At the end of the work shift, each volunteer receives a reward, that is – to feed the panda him- / herself. You must act strictly according to my instructions. Go to the panda! Sit down! Take the bamboo! Give it to the panda! Do not touch the panda in any case! Moreover, take care of your fingers! Well… Godspeed you! No… Well… Did you see it? It came, sat down (as if it were a client in a café), and was waiting for a waiter to feed it. Well… Okay… I am here! Here is a wonder of the world! It is located right in front of me! It resembles a lump of sleepy cotton wool. Well… Listen, this is some kind of delight! Nearby, it is even nicer and more pleasant than from afar. In my CV, I will write that I fed a hundred-kilogram wonder of the world. I do know that many people will begin to hate me, since I have not fully fed the panda. I am just wondering why there is such a stir around this bamboo. It resembles celery for pandas. By the way, it is good enough. The more the panda eats it, the more it wants to be lazy, do nothing, walk, and enjoy the sunshine… It does not have to rush anywhere for the next 30 years. Mmm… It just needs to lie down and gain weight. Can I have an extra portion of bamboo? Who is responsible for me? Pasha, come here! In the panda’s park, you can see another wonder of the world, that is, small red pandas! What a pretty one! Oh! It is sooo sweet! Who does the red panda look like? Raccoon? Skunk? Cat? Fox? Or panda? You must admit that a small panda looks like anyone but not a panda. It came right to my hand. Small pandas are also specified in the Red List of Threatened Species, since in the wild there are about two and a half thousand representatives of this species left. Unlike big pandas, red pandas are more playful and completely fearless. They approach people and allow people to stroke them. In China, you will not be sent to prison for this. It licked my knees, approached me, licked my dress, licked my knees again, and went somewhere. I liked it. Well… We looked at all the pandas, and… now it is time to eat them! And what did you think? In the city of pandas, you can try… pandas! Well… Okay, okay… Do not rush to kill me! They brought me some panda cheesecake… some panda tiramisu… and they made such a cute panda cappuccino.
Moreover, in local cafés, you can find panda ice cream, panda cakes, panda runes, panda rice balls, panda sushi, and even panda dumplings! And dessert… To tell the truth, is just a business. They poured something and sell it telling people that it is a panda. Our wonder of the world is the big pandas. So I thought, “Why don’t I have a weekend like the Big Rich Panda”? Just like pandas, the Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain hotel lives in a bamboo forest. An ordinary villa here costs 8 THOUSAND hryvnias. However, I chose the most expensive and luxurious one! My presidential villa at this very hotel costs 88,888 yuan. Indeed, “8” is a lucky number for China. At the same time, the number of digits “8” is a lucky number for the owner of this hotel. Let’s check whether we will be happy! My villa is a large complex, in the centre of which there is a pool with 4 bedrooms around. … and a whole house of entertainment… Well, let’s look at everything here! There is a game room on the ground floor. This is where you can play a game of Chinese domino known as “Mahjong”. 21!
Oh! Oh my God! On the second floor, there is a personal library. … And a multimedia centre. So… How to do it? And, of course, I have my own veranda. You can get out here in the morning, breathe fresh air, and jump into the pool. Yeah… It was a joke. I will not risk a valuable human life. Well… This will be done by our cameraman. My villa also has a separate spa area. And after the massage, you can (just like the Big lazy panda) roll onto a huge bed in a very huge bedroom. In this hotel, I feel respected, status, and rich panda. Firstly, everything is natural here. Everything is made of stone, wood, and bamboo… And secondly, they respect me, they take care of me, and everyone wants to cuddle me. No! No! No! No! Do not much me! Take care of me from a distance! In the city of pandas, they could not help but come up with housing on the theme of the panda. There is a PANDA apartment. This is not a hostel or a hotel but apartments in a residential building that can be rented at 30 dollars per day.
Well… It is not bad at all. I have a full apartment. Oh! There are pandas everywhere! Just take a look! There are so many pandas here! Panda pillows, panda curtains, panda paintings, panda toys, panda cups, panda figurine, panda soap dispenser, panda towel, panda vase, and even a panda trash bin!!! This is awesome! Ohhh!!! Well, that is all. There are pandas even here! We are settling in, Pashka. We are starting to get used to living in the style of a panda. In general, we become pandas. After such a busy day, it is time to relax in the style of a panda. To do this, I need laziness and bamboo. However, I will not eat it. Ahh! Mum! Why? In Chengdu, relaxing massage with bamboo sticks is very popular. First, you are spanked with a bamboo stick 120 times per minute to disperse the lymph. And then they massage your muscles with a stick with all their strength. It is pretty painful but it is generally bearable. You just feel like a piece of dough that has just begun to be rolled out for festive Chinese dumplings. Bamboo is a ready-made massage tool. It is naturally smooth, even, and light. Ouch! It hurts! You know, the stick cannot be compared with soft hands. My arm really hurts now.
My face is being massaged with thin bamboo stems. The Chinese say that if you do such a massage every week, then you will not have wrinkles. This is Spartan wrinkle removal. At first it hurts, and then you lie still, endure all this, and let your tears go into the pelvis. Pretty ones. Good night! Good night! Good morning! I am not tired of volunteering. I like to spend time with pandas. However, by the way, there is another wonder of the world. A 30-minute flight from Chengdu… next to the town of Leshan… in the Lingyunxiang mountain, a gigantic statue was carved! Buddha Maitreya sits on a stone throne. It is really huge! Its height is 70 meters! It is like a 20-story building. The height of its ears is 7 meters, while the height of its head is 15 meters. So that you understand how huge this Buddha is: here is the Leaning Tower of Pisa, here is a statue of Christ the Redeemer, and that little point is me. Just imagine: it was built 1,400 years ago! Without any advanced technologies, people carved a Buddha in the rock for nearly 100 YEARS using simple picks and chisels! Why did they choose this particular place? Look at the river below me! It is very stormy. There are 3 channels here. Therefore, boats very often sank here. One monk decided that under the protection of the Buddha, the river would calm down and there would be fewer accidents. And it worked in some strange way. The river really calmed down either due to the fact that during construction excess stones were thrown down and stopped the flow, or because of the blessed influence of the Buddha. By the way, in the Middle Ages, the statue was hidden under a wooden temple. However, it burned down. Therefore, now everyone can admire the Buddha. Well… Okay, I need to tackle my Zen. The main miracle of Chengdu is pandas. All the rest is a grey concrete metropolis where there are no traces of traditional China. At the same time, on the outskirts of Chengdu, there was still a secret place where Chinese magic was preserved. This is an ancient Guanyin teahouse. Here you can go back a hundred years in time. This is the time when people were resting without watching TV and not sitting on the Internet but gathered on the street and had tea for several hours in a row. Here the Chinese play dominoes. Instead of tiles, they have long special long cards. It is here that they rest after work.
And enjoying tea from a porcelain mug, they decide family matters and argue about politics. And so that guests do not get bored, they play here using Sichuan money sticks. These are pieces of wood within which coins ring. The owner of this antique teahouse is Lee Chan. He has been making tea here for 24 years. He takes water from the well and pours it into tin teapots. He turns the usual boiling of water into a magical ritual. Lee Chan makes tea from mountain flowers. It is considered the cleanest and reveals its aroma from the first boiling water. First you need to pour a little boiling water, and then you need to add the rest.
Cover it with a lid. And your tea will be ready in a few seconds!
Would you like to join me? I really want to talk to you. Could you please tell me how to drink this tea?
Well… Look! This cap is not needed to make tea better. It is needed to move the upper (cooled) layer of water and take a sip of tea from the middle. This way you can better feel the taste and aroma. It has such a floral aroma. I boldly declare that this place can be added to our list of wonders. Each region of China has its own unique cuisine. Here, in Chengdu, it is Sichuan one. It is famous for its unreal sharpness because chilli pepper and hot Sichuan pepper are generously added to each dish. I chose a restaurant with the romantic name, that is, Lishue Huoguo. “Huoguo” is translated as a hot pot, while “Lishue ” is the name of the owner of the restaurant. Well… In general, to make it easier, it is translated as a “hot pot at Ivanovich”. Well… Let’s try Sichuan cuisine with a “twinkle”!
The star of this kitchen is a hot pot. A hot pot is the most famous Chinese gastronomic invention. This is a bowler built directly into the table. The broth is boiling in the pot. You need to throw raw ingredients into it yourself and cook it to your liking. You just have to choose the ingredients.
In general, I ordered everything that was on the menu. And here comes the hot pot. Everything here is so modest and so homely. This is how the local hot pot works. In the centre, there is a very hot boiling red broth with Sichuan pepper and chilli pepper. And around it a mild white broth with vegetables gurgles. It is needed to put out the fire in your mouth after you have tasted the first course. The ingredients for the broth are creepy! Our mothers would not cook soup from such ingredients. Bamboo. Tofu with a taste of some fish. Pork kidney slices. Pork intestines. Duck tongues. And this is duck blood. Duck intestines in the blood. Well… and… pork brain! What ingredient will we start with? The pork kidney will be ready in a hot pot in just 8 seconds. We are waiting for 8 seconds. Here they will draw 3 fingers. Done! Ahhh! Ahhhh! It is hard to live. The taste of this meat is interrupted by the pungency of this dish. Nothing is felt except melting meat in your mouth and endless pungency everywhere, that is, in the ears, in the eyes, in the nose, in the mind.
Spicy Sichuan broth burned my mouth and stomach. I just will not survive another tasting. Therefore, I will cook the rest of the products in another broth. I do not want anyone else to get it. Duck tongue. This is a very sinewy, speckled, and ribbed meat. Well… Firstly, it is hard to bite off.
Frankly speaking, it is just undercooked. It can be quite tasty. However, it is just undercooked. It crunches on my teeth. It is really tasteless!
Here, even the guts look appetizing. You know, it is either a strange bagel or a ring for an offer to a girl whom you do not really love. I get the feeling that I am eating some kind of insect.
Where is the brain? Where is the brain? Well… Where? Really? Oh! Come on! Listen, then people will write that Anton is looking for a brain. F*ck!!! Where is the brain? Where is the brain? Where is the brain of those people who invented it? And there it is! I found this brain! It really smells like minced meat. This is some viscous soufflé that melts in my mouth in a second. I have such a strange feeling. I do not feel the taste. Nevertheless, I do understand that I eat this brain. A hot pot has such a variety of tastes due to the difference in broths and the amount of ingredients that anyone can find something tasty for him- / herself. Any pervert! It is so noisy here! There are so many smells! We are on the main gastronomic street of Chengdu. I also decided to try Sichuan cuisine. This is the strangest dish in this cuisine. Someone like smelly French cheese. Someone like truffle. And the people of Chengdu are very fond of sucking brains out of rabbit heads. Yeah, you heard everything correctly. They like to suck brains out of rabbit heads. And I am very happy that as a TV presenter of Heads and Tails, I will try to do it. And here are the rabbit skulls fried in crispy breading. Each tray has 40-50 heads! Is it different? Ahh! Okay, got it.
Okay… Well… I need to try everything. One this and one this. Thank you! Well, let’s start our special operation…
To suck the brains out of a rabbit’s head. Well… Of course, I heard that I was eating a brain with a dessert spoon. However, I did not do it using a rabbit. In China, they eat rabbit brains as a beer snack. By the way, to make the brain tasty and juicy, for cooking, they use only the heads of rabbits no older than 2 years. First they soak these heads for 10 hours in water, then they are pickled in hot sauce and fried. It is hard to describe what exactly this meat looks like because it is sooo spicy. And this mixture of spices interrupts the basic taste.
I need some water. I will be back. Do not switch the channel. The waitress explained to me that in order to get to the brain I needed to break the rabbit’s mouth. It turns out that I did everything wrong. This is a rabbit singing an aria. Aahhh! When you see a throat… This little tongue… Well… It is terrible how they eat it. There are little teeth! Oh my God! Aah! This is some kind of rabbit horror. I will really vomit now.
And where is the brain? And here it is! Oh my God! What a little brain! Okay, Heads and Tails is a dream job. It looks like a paste or liver. It is something in between… I am already full. Chengdu restaurants serve “after-bread entertainment”. They show Sichuan opera. In the Sichuan opera, artists do not sing but dance in colourful costumes and bright masks. Watch his face! Have you seen this?! Have you seen this?! The actor changed the mask in an instant! Now I understand why the Sichuan opera is called one of the most skilled in China. In addition, it is called the face-change opera because before my eyes the actor changed 3 masks in a row for the first few seconds and I did not understand how this happened. Wow!!! How does he do it? He does it instantly! The secrets of such an opera are kept in the strictest confidence. However, professional illusionists have found that masks are painted on thin silk and fastened to each other with a thread, the edge of which is sewn to the costume.
Then it all depends on sleight of hand. The actor imperceptibly pulls the thread, as a result of which the mask flies off the face opening the next one. Nevertheless it is impossible to understand how he does it even if you slow down the video. Then they complicate the performance! They masterfully change the masks not on the actor but on the doll! Of course, it looks very impressive. An interesting fact is that in the Chinese opera, different masks mean not different characters but their character traits.
This yellow mask means courage and ruthlessness. This blue mask means rage and stubbornness.
And this black mask means a symbol of justice. Wow! Apparently she ate Sichuan food. She has fire coming out of her mouth. Thank you! Thank you! At first we wanted to hide the bamboo here. However, so much bamboo for 100 dollars will simply not fit here. Therefore, (just as always) we leave you a bill and a note. The treasure in Chengdu is hidden on Tongxin Road in Wulong Park. Near the sports field, look for a hill of cobblestones. Our bottle is waiting for you there. And do not forget to hug the panda. It was the cutest, most black-and-white edition of Heads and Tails. In 50 minutes, we said the word “panda”
one hundred sixty-two times. – Dear guys! There is a cult of pandas here!
– Paaaaandas!!! However, there are never too many pandas! While we were preparing this issue in Chengdu, mum panda Xiao Yao Tou gave birth to two pandas! These are two brand new little wonders of the world! And also, looking at the big pandas, you suddenly realize that any creation of nature is a wonder of the world. There are so many living creatures in the world that cannot survive without human help! – F*ck!!! Where is the brain?
– To suck brains out of rabbit heads. – I want to say thanks to this panda.
– This is a rabbit singing an aria. Aahhh! – Please give me an extra serving of bamboo. Who is responsible for me there? Dear guys! Chengdu will be uniquely my favourite city in China. There are so many interesting streets and unusual people in this city. And all the pandas! The only pity is that I was not able to touch it. They are sooo soft!!! I really wanted to cuddle them! Ohhh! Ohhh! Antosha! I will recognize you from a billion Chinese. Hello! And will you hug someone else’s panda? Actually you have your own one! Okay… That is it… You liked its soft paws, its fluffy tummy, and those tinted eyes, right? Go away! Go! Go away! Go! Well… You touched the panda! You are being deported to the next wonder of the world! To the Amazon Jungle! What?!
Are you crazy? Well… You just need to calm down. Just take it easy.
I will kiss you! Well… Come on…
Go on! Dear guys! I have to go. Antosh, wait! One hundred kilograms of bamboo and a female for three days. He has come!