Some people are easily entertained–which may explain why residents of the small southern French town of Céret are enraptured by the mysterious voyage of a plastic penguin these days.
Officials of Céret, a burgh of around 7,500 people in the Pyrenees, say locals are regularly consulting a blog featuring photographs and messages recounting the travels of the three foot plastic creature calling itself “Pingu”. The penguin was one of four stolen from the town’s Arctic-themed Christmas display in late December. It finally turned up on its own blog Jan. 10, with pictures and posts of its wanderings around France. Tourist shots of the critter show it in Marseille, visiting Champagne country before a statue of Dom Perignon, and at the gates of Disneyland outside of Paris.
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Large circulation French papers have picked up local press accounts of the attention the ambulant decoration has generated around Céret.. Though the ruse isn’t terribly novel—in the 2001 movie “Amelie”, a garden gnome sends home snapshots of itself touring global monuments—it may yet keep Céret residents sufficiently enthralled until the bird’s promised return sometime before a local celebration in late May.
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“We don’t know who’s behind this thing,” Céret deputy mayor Jean-Pierre Piquemal told AFP, “but it’s good he’s maintaining the suspense.”