One of the coolest things I've seen while here in France surprisingly took place right in the very town I'm staying in. I'm talking about the 1600 Pandas Manifestation that is taking place this year throughout France. As I'm sure we all know, the French love to go on strike. Everyone loves Pandas. Leave it to France to combine the two. On April 1st 2010, La Place de Revolution in Besak was the home of 1600 little panda statues and I loved it.
So many pandas!
The "Panda Strike" is meant to raise awareness for wildlife preservation. The 1600 pandas, which were all hand made with paper maché and sponge painted (also by hand), represent the estimated 1600 pandas remaining in the world today. This campaign is being put on all throughout France, obviously including the city of Besançon where I am living right now. It was definitely quite the sight to see.
You were also able to buy the pandas at 50 euros each. While I really wanted to take home a panda, I really was curious if they had extra pandas to replace the ones that were bought... Now I didn't count them, but if someone buys one you don't have 1600 pandas anymore...I suppose we will never know. While I didn't buy a panda (I'm not even sure I'd have been able to return to the USA with it) I did buy a t shirt and a "I Panda my Planet" bracelet. Sadly, the bracelet is really just a ribbon, but it still claims to "panda" its planet.
These guards are the real reason I don't have a panda statue in my life right now.
In actuality, I really wanted to pull the "cute American girl" card to get a panda to take home. I never actually tried although I did get them to let Amy, another American girl, and I to take pictures in with the pandas. And while I'm currently writing from Brussels, and have spent the last three days in Paris, this event still stands out as one of the very best I've seen in my time here.
Come to the USA for me sometime little Pandas!
Il ne reste que 1600 pandas dans le monde. Moi inclus!