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Lavender gardener job has sweet smell of success
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A tourism destination in Zhaoqing city, Guangdong province, is looking to put itself on the map by emulating the recent success of Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

The large lavender garden in the Panlongxia ecology area of the city is offering two high-paying jobs to women from across the globe - a similar idea to the recent competition for the 'best job in the world' in which applicants vied for the chance to be caretaker of a paradise island.

The Panlongxia lavender gardens cover more than 200,000 sq m and are the largest lavender gardens in South China.

"We will recruit two ladies to be our special gardeners," said Liu Liang, a director of Panlongxia ecology tourism region. "Their titles are 'lavender angels'."

Liu said each lady will earn as much as 20,000 yuan (US$2,941) each week, and live in a five-star hotel. Applicants have until Thursday to apply.

Women between 18 and 25 and taller than 163 cm can sign up through any branch of the Guangdong Nanhu International Travel Service Co Ltd.

"We will choose the 100 strongest contestants from all applicants first, and then we will take pictures of them in the lavender garden in Panlongxia," said Zeng Yi, a publicity officer of Nanhu International Travel. "We will paste all their photos on the 21.cn.com website and let the public to choose the top 20." The 20 women will then participate in a televised selection campaign.

"The winners should look good, be familiar with environmental protection and be passionate about ecology and lavender," Zeng said.

He denied that the exercise was a simple beauty contest.

"We hope to choose two girls to help us promote the image of the lavender garden."

The lavender angels' mission will include the making of promotional videos and guiding visitors.

"We welcome all ladies who meet our criteria to sign up for the event; including overseas women," Zeng said. The two ladies will work during the peak tourism months of June, July and August.

"The working condition and salary is quite attractive," said He Shan, a girl in Guangzhou.

"But I wonder if it is a trick to attract people's attention to the lavender garden. I think the event will be more convincing if the organizer signs a contract with contestants and winners in advance."

(China Daily May 12, 2009)

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