whistlestop caboose

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www.zidao.com Apprentice harmonizer, for sheer fun. Journeywoman writer, for work and pleasure. Starting point was Iowa, current stopping point on this journey is Switzerland, with frequent pauses around the world to watch and listen to the crowd, and occasionally make comments.

Tulips 2006 for Gran ellengwallace's Tulips 2006 for Gran photoset

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bearably cowable

Familiarity breeds love or loathing. This we travel, to bring fresh winds of emotion to our lives. Plastic, decorated cows: i first saw them in chicago where they appeared to me to be true American kitsch. LINK Then they appeared in Switzerland, home to cows PIX and more cows PIX. Last year the Tribune de Geneve ran a decorated cows photo contest, by which point I was getting tired of Barbie cows. I went to a wedding in South Africa soon after and fell in love with a plastic cow because she gave me several minutes of great peoplewatching time. I had to rethink my attitude towards decorated cows.

Two weeks ago I was photographing a small square in downtown Vancouver, Canada, squinting into the viewfinder on a bright day. I suddenly realized that the streak of white in the middle was a bear, a giant plastic bear. In front of the tourism office - very cute, I thought. I walked around town, saw more and more of the bears, and began to really like them. They are the stars in a Vancouver Lyons Club fundraising project which ends this week with an auction. (Now where will I put the bear I win? The bathroom? Veranda?)

I met a woman on the bus who asked where I was from and we discovered we had two things in common, that we are Europeans and that we both had sons starting school at the University of British Columbia that day. "I hate those bears," she muttered as our bus passed an especially pretty green one. "I am so sick of them!"

I found them very bearable. I wonder if she would find a Heidi pal pink and yellow flowered Swiss plastic cow very cowable. Just a question of perspective, I suppose.


Blogger maki said...

I believe the cows originally appeared in Zürich...even the cows on parade site vaguely acknowledges that the originator of the Chicago cows "got inspiration" from a trip to Switzerland.

Last year, we had decorated teddy bears all over Zürich...they were awfully cute.

(there was one that didn't get to appear on the street because it was deemed inappropriate...one dressed in let's say, dominatrix gear complete with a whip..but she has since gone onto fame appearing in stores and gay pride parades and such.)

2:18 AM  
Blogger whistlestop caboose said...

I'm sure you're right - more on cows and bears very soon! Hee-hee, I kind of like the idea of Zurich's cow that didn't quite make it.

3:57 PM  

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