Edinburgh zoo is getting pandas!
I think the staff at the zoo will be rubbing their hands with glee now that the deal has been finalised. They sent their polar bear (the only one in the UK) up north to give it a bigger enclosure and I get the impression the zoo has been a bit rubbish in recent years. When I was doing the CELTA, Maria in my group used the zoo's tourist information leaflet as her authentic material, and the place seems to have a lot less to it than it did when I used to go as a child. Two pandas ought to bring in the crowds. Everybody loves pandas.
I'm taking it as a sign that I shouldn't go back to Asia. Or that I don't need to. I keep thinking about how easy it would be to just get a teaching job in Japan (at least, it seems pretty easy) and then I could just lounge around in Japan for another few years. But no, we're getting pandas. It is not necessary to go back.
I saw pandas once in a zoo/adventure theme park in Wakayama Prefecture. It was expensive to get there on the train (it was nestled in the deep south of the prefecture), expensive to get into the park, and then the food on offer was mostly awful. The park was okay. We rode about in a panda car (that is, a car shaped like a panda) and fed giraffes by hand. Also, there were baby pandas, which are the best kind of panda.
We're getting a breeding pair, though, so it's possible that in time, with patience and panda porn, we'll have our own baby pandas.
Though all panda babies born to couples abroad remain property of the Communist Party of China, Beijing.