"It's been two years since I've had an overseas trip. And I do want to see the baby panda 'live'. And it makes sense I am seeing Hua Mei since she was what got me into pandas in the first place."
(Actual journal entry: 3 March 2001)

Who is Hua Mei and what has she to do with this web site?

As the title indicates, this web site is about my holiday in the year 2001. Hua Mei is the baby giant panda born at the World-Famous San Diego Zoo, the first to be born, and to survive, in the Western Hemisphere. Yes, the main purpose of my holiday was to visit Hua Mei and her parents Shi Shi and Bai Yun, at the San Diego Zoo. It was trully a dream come true for me.

I first thought of visiting the San Diego panda family in June 2000. Along the way, I changed my mind at least twice - not about seeing pandas "live" but about visiting this particular family. First, I changed it for plans to go to China and see the pandas at their "home", the Wolong Chinese Panda Conservation Reserve. Then, I changed it again for plans to see the newest panda pair in America, Tian Tian and Mei Xiang in Washington, DC. The last change was almost firm until I realised I couldn't get a cheap airfare there. So back I went to Plan A, which was to visit the San Diego panda family. By early March, it was confirmed - I had found a cheap ticket to Los Angeles. From there, it was all systems go - deciding on my itinerary, looking for places to stay, etc.

While visiting the San Diego panda family was the main focus of my holiday, I also found time to see and do other things. In the same way, while the majority of this site lives up to its title and focuses on the pandas, there are pages about other stuff I saw and did on my holiday.

A word about the bamboo background used here and in the Zoo and panda pages

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