June 19, 2008

Panda Man

My life as a travel writer is much like that of the Giant Panda - sitting in a field of bamboo, surrounded by his preferred diet even though it yields next to no nutritional value.

Over time the Panda Man grows fat, mostly from inertia than from a lavish diet. In the absence of true predators it's hard to stay lean, the only real competition for the bland diet of bamboo is other Panda Men.

Some aspects of size do confer strength however. It is unwise to provoke the panda unless you have the speed to run away.

Pandas are very much adored from a distance, even though on close quarters the grubby brown tinge of their white fur and stinky faecal habits become more apparent.

Ironically pandas are solitary animals that enjoy a vast home range and reconnect with their species once a year for potential mating rituals. The modern panda, devoid of natural habitat and confined to enclosures, becomes dependent upon the social interaction with the hand that feeds them.

Panda Man is not an island either, bearing no wish to be cast out into the forest.

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