Giant Rubber Ducky, Where Did You Go?

by L. Turner

A solemn ducky lament is playing for Florentijn Hofman's giant rubber duck, lost in Guiyang, China to floodwaters that unmoored it from its metal resting place and sent it swimming soulfully away on Wednesday, according to the Want China Times. The Virginian-Pilot reported on the duck's unplanned journey because a similar duck by the same artist was displayed in Norfolk, Virginia earlier this year.

Back then, everything was sunshine and roses. The duck's 40-foot-tall, sunny-yellow visage rose above the city like a beacon. In China, the duck's height soared even higher, topping out at 54 feet, the Pilot reports. Like childhood, it seemed like an age of innocence. But it turns out the Guiyang duck's journey was fraught from the beginning.

The duck had a rough go of it even before it started merrily bobbing along on its platform in the Nanming River on July 4. In Taiwan it deflated after perhaps being snared by an eagle's claw. It wasn't the first time the duck deflated; the same thing happened in Hong Kong last year. Seeing a deflated duck lapping the waters of Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor did not apparently warm the hearts of duck enthusiasts.

But despite all that, the duck and all of its fully-inflated bulk — one tons duck, ten tons giant metal platform — still arrived in Guiyang ready to thrill passersby and make a great backdrop for selfies.

Then came the flood.

The ducky coordinator, Yan Jianxin, told The Wall Street Journal it happened fast.

The duck flopped over and was flushed away really quickly by the torrential flood. It disappeared right in front of me in several seconds.
Lintao Zhang/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Duck one minute. Next minute, no duck. How many seconds does it take to lose a duck? Only several.

Yan, the Journal reports, also had a plea for his duck:

If you live along the river and see an 18-meter tall big yellow duck, please call 5961027.
Lintao Zhang/Getty Images News/Getty Images

In the event that the duck is not found, there is apparently another duck in Taiwan — referred to in news reports as "the back-up duck" — lying in wait for its chance at ducky stardom. But fame comes with its risks. Being a giant rubber duck is not all fun and games and selfies. Being a giant rubber duck is sometimes eagle claws and floods.

ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

O Giant Rubber Ducky, where hast thou swam?