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Showing posts with label Animals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Animals. Show all posts

Monday, October 21, 2019

Very Fu Cats at Hanlin in Xuzhou

Hanlin (翰林) is a small neighborhood in Xuzhou with buildings from the Ming and Qing Dynasties. It stands out from surrounding historical areas because it hasn't been transformed into a polished tourist site requiring a ticket and people still live in several of the buildings. It also has some non-human inhabitants.

When I briefly visited this afternoon, several cats were examining the food options set out on the ground, which included various meat leftovers



The white cat didn't seem to find selection to be all that fortunate and merely observed. None of the cats showed any interest in the nearby likely-not-as-fortunate chickens tethered to a tree.

two chickens tethered to a tree


One of the three small dogs in a cage a bit farther away did express interest in me. I didn't get closer since it seemed a bit overprotective of the chickens.

After I finished looking at the old buildings in the area, I noticed two of the cats were now settled in somewhere a bit comfier for a rest and a cleaning.

two cats resting on a pile of orange and blue materials


And that is all for today from Hanlin.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

A Few National Day Night Scenes in Xuzhou

Last night at a central shopping district in Xuzhou some people took selfies with a dog.

two young women taking a selfie with a dog and Chinese flags


Some people took dogs on a walk.

woman pushing two small dogs sitting on a wheelchair


Some people stopped to watch the day's earlier events in Beijing on a large screen.

Xi Jinping on large outdoor video display


Some people played basketball.

people playing basket in front of a shopping center


And some people waited in line for 9-inch pizzas.

line of people waiting for 9 inch pizza



On this National Day of the People's Republic of China much seemed as it would be on a busy Saturday night, though there a few more patriotic touches than usual.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Reason for a Drink: Baijiu Kegs and a Cat in Xuzhou, China

When you stumble upon a convenience store in Xuzhou . . .

The 艾尚烟酒便利 convenience store in Xuzhou, Jiangsu
Noticed after finishing a tasty local-style dinner


selling Anhui Yingjia Distillery baijiu from kegs . . .

man pouring baijiu from a keg
Definitely not sane for a keg stand


*and* they have a cat, . . .

a white cat in a convenience store
Seemed friendly but quite shy


how can you not buy a least a little bit of the recommended 45% alcohol baijiu?

half a jin of Yingjia baijiu
A generous half a jin (about one quarter of a kilogram or a little more than half a pound) of baijiu


I must say, as far as baijiu goes I found it to be pretty decent and, of course, many worlds better than imitation Bomb erguotou baijiu— better than the real stuff too. Thanks to the cat for convincing me to expand my horizons.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Needing Sleep: Four (or Five) Chinese Cities in Two Days

Early Tuesday morning I was surprised when my phone's alarm woke me up at 5:10 a.m. It was supposed to wake me up a 5:00 a.m. Presumably I had slept through the first round of the alarm, and it had tried again.

Those 10 minutes mattered a lot. So I ended up taking a taxi to the Nanning East Railway Station instead of the subway. The taxi cost less than expected, just 35 yuan (a little less than U.S. $5 at the moment), and I arrived at the station with just enough time to pick up a sausage mcmuffin with egg for breakfast.

After about three hours on a high-speed train, I arrived at the Guangzhou South Railway Station.

Guangzhou South Railway Station departure hall


Less than 15 minutes later I boarded another high-speed train, and in little more than an hour I arrived in Zhuhai. Not long after checking into my hotel there, I crossed the border to Macau by foot. Soon I was at favorite cafe for a grilled onion pork chop bun where I noticed a Hong Kong channel was broadcasting a police news conference.

Hong Kong police news conference on TV at a Macau cafe


The sound was off but text on the screen indicated it was about the responsibilities of off duty Hong Kong police. Presumably this was in response to the protest-related news which broke the day before about the issuing of extendable batons to off duty police.

Later in the day, I spotted an animal that taxonomically baffled me for a very brief moment. But then I realized it was just your everyday Macanese duck-dog.

dog wearing a duck bill muzzle


Honestly, the animal attracted my attention to such a degree at the time I didn't even notice the "Do not sit on the staircase to avoid blocking" sign above the sitting-on-the-step woman until now. This raises the question of why, presumably, people like to sit there. Could it be related to the duck-dog?

As this animal experience suggests, as usual I enjoyed my time in Macau. I would've happily stayed longer, but that evening I had to cross the border back to Zhuhai.

young man wearing an "Obey Obey Obey" shirt


After a successful crossing where I learned a key fact from an immigration officer, I was at my favorite place for post-midnight razor clams.

yummy razor clams


I didn't sleep much that night. Actually, I'm not sure I really slept at all. In any case, at 5:30 a.m. I boarded a shared van to Zhuhai's airport.

Soon after arrival, I noticed my plane was already at its gate. So that was nice.

China Southern Airlines airplane at gate at Zhuhai Airport


Since I had plenty of time to spare, I ordered a grilled cheese & ham sandwich at a popular Hong Kong chain restaurant.

grilled ham & cheese sandwich cut unusually (for the US)

I'm not clear why they cut the sandwich that way. I probably shouldn't, but I'm still pondering it.


Anyway, soon I was in the sky and presented with an airplane snack.


Not so thrilling flight snack

The steamed bun on the far left was stuffed with some sort of meat-like substance. I will just say I have eaten many, many different types of steamed buns in China, and this one may have been the worst. But at least the turtle shell herbal jelly was decent enough, though I wondered whether it actually had any turtle shell in it.

Whatever the case, the flight was otherwise uneventful, which I mostly count as a very good thing.

After about 2 hours in the air, I found myself much farther north in China than I have been in nearly two years. Yet incredibly I am still in what they call the south.

So I would say in two days I was in four cities, though if you want to count Guangzhou (I wouldn't) you could say five. I need to sleep now. A lot. Once that happens, at some point I hope to mention the fourth (or fifth) city.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Unreal Seaside Life in Guangxi

Today in Nanning I had a number of experiences with nature I rather enjoyed. This experience probably wouldn't count though:

Diorama with dolphins and egrets at the Guangxi Planning Exhibition Hall
Diorama at the Guangxi Planning Exhibition Hall in Nanning


I think that one bird might be looking at me on porpoise, despite the dolphins.

OK, another post, another day. I egret there there haven't been more lately.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

A Brief Look at Yulin's First Crispy Skin (Dog) Meat Restaurant

Yulin's First Crispy Skin Meat Restaurant on both sides of Xinmin Road

While walking around Yulin on a Wednesday in May I stumbled upon a restaurant which has locations on both sides of Xinmen Road (新民路) at the intersection with Jiangbin Road (江滨路). The signs indicated the name of the restaurant was Yulin's First Crispy Skin Meat Restaurant (玉林第一家脆皮肉馆).



In many parts of China the Chinese character for "meat" (肉) without any specific indication of the animal would suggest the restaurant features pork. But Yulin isn't one of those parts, and it is common, though not universal (for example, a dog meat restaurant with Budweiser advertising), for restaurants that feature dog meat (狗肉) to not explicitly indicate the animal involved in their name. Soon I had little doubt that this was a dog meat restaurant, though, since there were several locations where they were carving dog meat outside.

men bringing out cooked dogs to be carved


The restaurant's website is more explicit and uses the name Yulin's First Crispy Dog Meat Restaurant (玉林第一家脆皮狗肉馆).

Yulin's First Crispy Skin Meat Restaurant website explicitly using "dog meat" in its name


And the website also provides info about their dog meat.

information about dog meat


It was probably too early for big crowds at the time, but the plentiful outdoor seating in addition to the seating inside the restaurants indicated they were prepared for them.

outdoor tables at Yulin's First Crispy Skin Meat Restaurant


I later learned that the intersection where I found this restaurant is not so surprisingly a popular location for people to celebrate the Yulin Lychee and Dog Meat Festival in June.

So some simple points that are relevant in general and will provide some context for a story I will tell about my experiences at that festival:
  • The restaurant is one of many signs that dog meat is plainly available year round in Yulin.
  • Of course, the restaurant having two locations at the same intersection and the ample seating suggests it is (or at least was) doing quite a bit of business. And it is far from the only dog meat restaurant in Yulin.
  • The hanging dog meat at outdoor carving tables shows the degree of openness about eating dog meat.

cooked dogs hanging at an outdoor carving table at Yulin's First Crispy Skin Meat Restaurant

  • At no point was I asked not to take photos. I never even had a sense there was concern. In fact, the photo above captures a moment during which one woman who works at the restaurant was laughing about my interest. She soon jovially invited me to order some dog meat. I declined, politely saying I was already full. Later, based on my actions she apparently recognized I was wondering whether the locations on both sides of the street were truly the same restaurant. It's not something I see everyday and imitators aren't exactly uncommon in China. She helpfully approached and said they were indeed the same restaurant.

I wasn't surprised to find a big dog meat restaurant in Yulin. And I wasn't at all surprised to see dog meat hanging outside. These are both things I've seen plenty of times elsewhere in China. But what happened during my next visit to this location and what followed did surprise me.

I definitely didn't take as many photographs. More about that later.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

This Dog's For You: Budweiser Advertising at a Dog Meat Restaurant in Yulin

Tomorrow is a special day in Yulin, Guangxi — the first and biggest day of the Yulin Lychee and Dog Meat Festival. And for the first time, I will be observing the festival person. I hope to better provide some important context that I feel much past reporting in Western media about the festival lacked. So there will certainly be multiple posts here in the future about dogs in Yulin, the festival, and the more general culture of eating dog meat in China.

To get the ball rolling, in the spirit of highlighting the everyday side of eating dog meat in China I will first share a photo of one of the easy-to-find restaurants which feature or serve dog meat in Yulin year round like many (many) other restaurants I have seen across China — no festival required. So here is the Camphorwood Dog Meat Restaurant (樟木狗肉管) on Dabei Road:

Camphorwood Dog Meat Restaurant (樟木狗肉管) in Yulin, Guangxi


Restaurant signs with advertising for alcohol — typically baijiu or beer — are a common sight in (at least some parts of) China, and the Camphorwood Dog Meat Restaurant didn't pass up on this practice which at the very least helps save money on signs.

So if you want to wash down your dog meat with a cold (or outdoor / room temperature) American Budweiser beer, Camphorwood might be the perfect place.

Budweiser themed sign for the Camphorwood Dog Meat Restaurant


The signs with Budweiser advertising would really be something if they included Budweiser's retired dog mascot Spuds MacKenzie.

Regardless, the Budweiser slogan on the sign says, "Be Your True Self". So fear not if you don't want dog meat. According to the sign you can get assorted cow or pig innards & meat there too — also with a Bud.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Watched By a Gigantic Panda in Yulin

I am working on a post about the opening of a new shopping mall in Yulin, Guangxi, which speaks to a variety of issues in China. While I don't share a lot of video, in this case I feel it is quite useful for communicating some what occurred. However, uploading the video across the Great Firewall will require more effort and time.

So for now, I will just say my recent time at this new mall has helped me gain appreciation for the fact that even after all of these years in China I'm still not sure what to think when a gigantic panda intently stares . . .


gigantic panda costume


stares . . .

Panda staring at me


. . . stares, I say, at me.

panda thinking nothing but murder


Good times. After this, the world only become more unusual when the panda danced on the stage. The moves were at times, shall we say, intense for a creature of such a size. Or really any size. At least the panda was distracted from me. I hope.

More later.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

A Bird Falling From the Sky in Macau

A few days ago while walking down a pedestrian lane off of Largo Maia de Magalhães in Macau's Taipa Village, I froze when I unexpectedly saw something small fall straight down from above 15 feet directly in front me. The object landed with a clearly audible thud and cracking sound.

I continued forward, and to my surprise found a small bird — I believe a sparrow.

dead sparrow on the ground


Although there were some high ledges on a nearby building, straight above was only sky. Perhaps the bird had experienced a heart attack while flying. On closer inspection, one of the bird's legs slowly moved and it slowly opened and closed its eyes a couple of times. I am not an expert on birds, but given how it had hit the ground and its current condition I felt confident I was witnessing its final moments of life or postmortem reflexes.

In either case, it felt wrong to just leave the bird in the middle of an area where there were many pedestrians who could unwittingly step on it. So I picked up the bird. It didn't react. I then looked for the most fitting nearby location.

After relocating the bird and noticing similar birds flying around, I went to a nearby public restroom that I knew had soap and washed my hands. I then returned to the quieter side of a tree to take one last photo of the bird that I had seen come out of the sky for its last time.

dead sparrow next to a tree

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

An Interspecies Confrontation in Wuzhou

small dog barking at a cat in a defensive posture


I witnessed the interaction in the above photo while walking in Wuzhou this afternoon. Most of the time, the cat, which wore a collar, stood its ground in a defensive posture while the dog yapped at it. Although the cat didn't seem to be in serious danger, I later tried blocking the dog a few times to give the cat a chance to more safely flee. The cat didn't take advantage of the opportunity, so I left life as it was on the otherwise peaceful street.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

A Chair Tied to Two Chickens in Wuzhou

I didn't ask them, but presumably these two chickens in Wuzhou just didn't want anybody to take their chair.

two chickens tied to a chair in Wuzhou
At Juren Road (居仁路)

Perhaps the free range chair on the street has it better.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Identified: A Paris Peacock Swallowtail on a Mountain in Wuzhou

I don't often see butterflies. I far more rarely take decent photos of them. But the other day one butterfly on Baiyun Mountain in Wuzhou was kind enough to pose (ever so briefly) for a few.

I have come up fruitless many times trying to more specifically identify unusual (to me) insects in Asia. Sometimes I have asked for help here, including with some beetles I saw around West Lake in Fuzhou, Fujian, that still remain a mystery to me. But this time a friend who saw the photos saved the day and said she thought it was a Paris peacock, a species of swallowtail butterfly. The pictures and description in the Wikipedia entry look like an excellent match, so I consider this case closed.

And now, the photos of a Paris peacock swallowtail I saw during yet an another unexpected hike up a mountain (more about that attempt to reach the top of a tower another day):


Paris peacock swallowtail butterfly on Baiyun Mountain in Wuzhou, China


Paris peacock swallowtail butterfly in Wuzhou, China


Paris peacock swallowtail butterfly in Wuzhou, China

Friday, February 8, 2019

A Watching Bird in Mong Kok

Having another pair of eyes is often useful . . .

bird watching a watch fixer at the Fa Yuen Market in Mong Kok, Hong Kong
At the Fa Yuen Street Market in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

Friday, January 11, 2019

Hu Jintao Looking at a Fish

A piece about a site in Zhongshan I had planned to post yesterday turned out to be more challenging to put together than expected. I think I finally sorted out the loose ends which had bothered me, but I won't get around to finishing it today.

Instead, today I will share a photo that tangentially relates to the future post.

Photo's caption:
"2004年12月21日,时任中共中央总书记,国家主席,中央军委主席胡锦涛视察中山市食品水产进出口集团,时任中央政治局委员,广东省委书记张德江等陪同"


The photo in the above photo is displayed at Zhongshan's Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. According to the caption, it was taken in 2004 and captures a moment as Hu Jintao (far right), then general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and president of China, inspected the Zhongshan Foodstuffs and Aquatic Import & Export Group Co., Ltd. The caption doesn't say anything about whether the visit was a success, but with all those smiles it looks like at least this part went quite well, at least for the non-fish entities.

I now see that the photo relates in yet another rather tangential fashion to the unfinished future post. So I will add that it includes another exciting photo of a past Chinese leader displayed at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall and has an indirect fish theme. Most importantly, I can now rest in peace knowing that I have a "Hu Jintao Looking at a Fish" post.

Monday, November 19, 2018

A Snail's Pace in Zhongshan

small snail
A small friendly snail in Zhongshan


Posting has been lighter than usual lately, and by "lately" I mean for a while — which raises the question of what counts as "usual" in this case. Anyway, planning to change that soon — the usual.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Unexpected Animals in Two Photos of Scenes in Zhongshan

Twice today in Zhongshan I decided to take photos of a scene only to be surprised by the appearance of animals. In the first case, after taking a photo I noticed that two cats were sitting in the alley. In the second case, a man walked his dog by a large xiangqi sculpture. The previous posts featured two dogs, which also made an unexpected appearance while I took photos of a scene, and a cat. So fate seems to demand I share two photos from today that I probably wouldn't have otherwise thought to pair together.


two cats sitting in Julong Zhong (巨龙中) alley
At Julong Zhong (巨龙中)


man walking a dog by a xiangqi sculpture at the Dragon Boat Cultural Park (龙舟文化公园) in Zhongshan
At the Dragon Boat Cultural Park (龙舟文化公园)

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Keeping an Eye Out for the Dogs in Zhongshan

The previous post consisted solely of a photo of a friendly cat I met at night in an alley in Zhongshan.

For some balance, I will share a photo including two dogs I encountered on another night in Zhongshan.

But the cat theme continues nonetheless . . .

dog walking by a mural of a large cat