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Instagram attracts Chengdu, China tourism official to visit Morro Bay

Tom Wilmer (left) with Mo Mao at symposium in Chengdu, China
David Laing
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Correspondent Tom Wilmer met Mo Mao at a symposium in Chengdu, China a year ago. After returning home Mo and Tom kept up their friendship via Instagram—and that’s how Mo came to America to visit with Wilmer in Morro Bay. Mo serves as the Municipal Foreign Exchange Project Manager for the city of Chengdu (population 16M) in the Southwestern province of Sichuan adjacent to Tibet.

Thirty year-old Mo is also charged with tourism initiatives to promote Chengdu as a destination.

Panda at Panda Research Center in Chengdu, China
Credit Thomas Wilmer
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Panda at Panda Research Center in Chengdu, China
Mo Mao (left) from Chengdu, China visits with Tom Wilmer at Morro Bay State Park
Credit Simo Nylander
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Mo Mao (left) from Chengdu, China visits with Tom Wilmer at Morro Bay State Park

Mo says it was Wilmer’s Instagram images of kayaking in the Bay with Morro Rock that struck a cord in his wanderlust. 

Sunset kayak on Morro Bay
Credit Thomas Wilmer
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Sunset kayak on Morro Bay

It was the sunset paddles that really got him. He’d comment in his replies, I really must come see where you live and go out kayaking with you. And he did just that.

Join Tom and Mo as they climb Black Hill before heading out to kayak on Morro Bay.

Mo Mao enjoying a kayak on Morro Bay
Credit Thomas Wilmer
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Mo Mao enjoying a kayak on Morro Bay

Follow Mo Mao on Instagram: Mok_mo006

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Culture Editor @360magazine

Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer winner of the Lowell Thomas Award 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013
Credit SATW Foundation
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Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer winner of the Lowell Thomas Award 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013

Tom Wilmer produces on-air content for Issues & Ideas airing over KCBX and is producer and host of the six-time Lowell Thomas award-winning NPR podcast Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer. Recorded live on-location across America and around the world, the podcasts feature the arts, culture, music, nature, history, science, wine & spirits, brewpubs, and the culinary arts--everything from baseball to exploring South Pacific atolls to interviewing the real Santa Claus in the Arctic.
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