Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Poop for Profit

Read an article in the paper this morning about how the Chinese are converting panda poop into souvenirs and making a profit. Seems it's big enough news that Business Week picked it up.

I hate to disillusion the enterprising Chinese, but poop for profit is nothing new.

When I was a tender young girl of 19, I took off on a grand adventure; I hitchhiked to Alaska. Did I mention that I was also very stupid?

The Canadians wouldn't let me across the border as a hitchhiker, so I flew red-eye standby and arrived in Fairbanks late one mid-summer evening. Having spent most of my money on the plane ticket, I hitchhiked from the airport to a campground where I spent the night.

I had heard of "Land of the Midnight Sun", but hadn't fully understood what it meant. I kept waking up through the night thinking it was morning because it was light and wondering why I was still so groggy. When my watch told me it actually was morning, I crawled from my tent to face the day and ended up staring at a big pile of droppings.

My still fuzzy mind was boggled. I'd seen rabbit poo before, and this looked just like rabbit poo, only bigger. And in a great big heap. What weird kind of rabbits lived in Alaska that used communal poo heaps? Was it snowshoe hares or some other kind of bunny?

Eventually, of course, I found out that it was moose poop. Received a good little bit of ridicule from the fellow who enlightened me, but how the heck was I supposed to know about moose scatology when I'd never seen a moose.

The Alaskans, being every bit as resourceful as the Chinese, have been hawking moose turds to tourists for decades. They make earrings and necklaces out of it as well as "Genuine Alaskan Moose" (two pellets, pipe cleaners, two google eyes, a slice of tree branch for a base and glue it all together.) Talkeetna, Alaska has a Moose Dropping Festival every summer.

If this has sparked a mad desire in you to own such a precious gem, you can buy them on-line from Grizzly's Gifts in Anchorage, Alaska.

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