Blessed Extinction

Trip Start Sep 08, 2010
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of China  , Sichuan,
Saturday, November 20, 2010

It has been a day sandwiched between two drivel-boxes; individuals whose
incessant talking becomes their defining character trait and I’m looking at them
and thinking, “The more you talk to me, the less interesting you become.”
This morning we visited the center for the breeding programme of the giant
panda. We went to see the panda – the posterboy of the conservation movement and
one of China’s most important national symbols. The sacred, the bewitching, the
apparently unbearably cute panda bear. And this was to one of the most important
cogs of the international breeding programme and saving the species from
extinction.
During our visit the following topics, among many others, were discussed by our
(needless to say, American) companions:
 

the transport problems facing downtown Denver including the questionable effects of the investment in a light-rail system
the appalling congestion in Vancouver
thirty years of skiing in Whistler
the different cultural nuances between downhill telemark and cross-country skiing
the rainforest in Borneo
the reasons behind the USA’s failure to adopt the metric system over the imperial
the range and lifespan for the battery of an electric car
the technologies imported from around the globe to facilitate the construction of China’s high-speed rail network
the untrustworthy women of Shanghai
whether a billion is a million million or a hundred thousand million
the Blue Mosque & Hagia Sophia in Istanbul
the Hindu island of Bali in Indonesia
the monoculture of palm oil plantations
the acquisition of national bonds to artificially support a favourable exchange rate
the annual rainfall in Seattle

 
To reiterate, these ‘conversations’ were conducted whilst we were in the
presence of a handful of the last remaining giant pandas in the world. No wonder
they are so keen to become extinct.

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