If your mental China map holds only Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai, add Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province. Once there, join throngs on all-pedestrian Jinli Ancient Street. Spy on senior citizens doing tai chi in People's Park. Sip tea while watching Sichuan Opera. Taste spicy Sichuan dishes, and don't miss the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding (researchers and cubs pictured in 2013). There, for $330, you can don a plastic smock and hold/hug a young panda while it licks a honey-dipped bamboo stalk. Be warned that air quality is iffy. Be glad that in June, United Airlines plans to start nonstop service between Chengdu and San Francisco.
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