At the airport they will be greeted by our Prime Minister, Elio Di Rupo, who last year personally negotiated the couple's departure with the Chinese authorities. He will be accompanied by several other governments members, as well as the Chinese Ambassador to Belgium. The airport's fire brigade will bring a special salute and escort Hua Hua and Xing Hui to their personal vehicle. The partners will travel in separate cars, to avoid them both being injured or killed if their vehicle were to encounter an accident.
The special convoy will be escorted by four motorized police. The drive will take little over an hour. At their destination the couple will be given separate rooms and requested to remain in quarantine for about a month. They will have ample time to recover from their long journey before being introduced to ... the hoards of tourists who will be visiting Pairi Daiza the animal park near Mons, where they will residing for the next fifteen years.
Because Hua Hua and Xing Hui are two giants pandas which have been been lend by China to Belgium. They are part of the international breeding program.
Their coming to Belgium almost caused a national incident last year when our Prime Minister who's also mayor of Mons, personally intervened to get the pandas to Pairi Daiza (in French speaking Belgium) instead of the city zoo of Antwerp (in Flandres). Today the almost 'royal' welcome the animals are given, is considered over the top. The trade unions of the motorized police find the whole set up a blow in the face, as the police is suffering from lack of funds and requisitioning four policemen on a Sunday is considered as sheer waste.
Or how the symbol of the WWF can cause havoc in a small country!
Nevertheless, welcome to Hua Hua and Xing Hui. Hope you'll love your stay in Belgium and may you have many little panda babies ... with a Belgian passport!