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

Sunday, September 9, 2018

(Person in) Bear (Suit) Frightens Young Woman at a Shopping Center in Ganzhou, China

After hearing a startled scream at the the Zhonglian Shopping Center (中联商城) today, I saw a bear making sudden sharp movements with its arms approaching two young women. Of course I did the only thing possible and captured several moments which followed during which the young women refused the bear's offering and fled.

person in bear suit handing out flyers


young woman hiding behind her friend from a person in a bear suit


young woman jumping away from a person in a bear suit in Ganzhou


Fortunately, nobody was injured (and nobody was in any real danger). The two young women walked away laughing at times. They also made sure the bear didn't follow them. The bear left them alone after that, though, and appeared frustrated in this instance it had failed its primary task — handing out flyers.

The aggressive approach the person used wouldn't at all be common or accepted for a person in normal attire, but putting on a costume can open doors for performance. I have seen similar suited tactics before in China and have wondered how much of it is the result of the person genuinely believing it could be effective versus the person simply desiring to entertain themselves or others while performing a potentially monotonous or frustrating job.

In any case, as I left the shopping center I now had new question in mind. What would occur if this bear teamed up with Ganzhou's dancing Tyrannosaurus?

Friday, August 3, 2018

Unlucky Duckies in Huizhou

Today on a street in Huizhou, Guangdong, I saw a bunch of a ducks restrained in a truck.

ducks restrained in a truck


I don't speak duck, but some of them sounded as if they were complaining. If so, it would be hard to blame them. I didn't stick around to see if I could learn their fate, but I feel safe guessing it isn't anything they'd be happy about.

For a more cheerful, or at least more free, duck story, there's my confrontation last year with a mighty duck in Xiapu, Fujian.

Monday, July 30, 2018

A Cat and Dog Debate the Best Peppers for Steaks in a Restaurant Chain Ad in China

Houcaller (豪客来) is a widespread Western-style steak restaurant chain in China, and I have seen it, and some imitators, in numerous cities. A recent promotion of theirs recently caught my eye as I was passing a bus stop in Shenzhen.

Houcaller ad for red pepper and black pepper steaks


The ad features a red pepper steak with bones and black pepper steak without bones. The ad asks who is more correct in their tastes. The cat apparently prefers the red pepper steak and the dog prefers the other. I would have associated a preference for bones more with dogs, but maybe the black pepper would win them over after all.

Beside the dog is a Chinese phrase which can be interpreted as "Dare to be black" or "Of course, black". But it's also a bit of pun, presumably intended, because in slang the phrase means "dare to mock yourself".

I haven't tried either of these steaks, so I can't help settle this debate. I think the last, and perhaps only, time I went to a Houcaller was about 8 years ago far to the north in Anyang, Henan. It was a fascinating experience. I'll save that short story for another day. No cats or dogs were involved.

Friday, July 13, 2018

A Bubble Wrap Cat and Uploads

Yesterday I spent a lot of time troubleshooting why sometimes websites loaded at decent speeds yet I couldn't upload anything. As I am in mainland China, I wondered if the Great Firewall had something to do with it, since I was using a VPN to access blocked sites.

So . . .

I have one photo I took in Shenzhen which I managed to upload as a test.

cat sitting next to a large roll of bubble wrap


Yes, that it is a cat proudly standing next to a fine roll of bubble wrap.

Yes, I had to walk to the elevator lobby with my laptop to make this happen.

Yes, it is more complicated than that.

Maybe this post will publish. Maybe it won't. But that cat will have plenty of bubble wrap regardless.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

From Donkey to Cat: The Selection at a Butcher Shop in Yunfu

A variety of shops line historic Jiefang Road in Yunfu, Guangdong province. One which especially caught my eye sells meat.

butcher shop with signs indicating it sells goat, donkey, rabbit, dog, and cat meat


It was specifically the selection of meat available listed on its signs that I found notable. I have seen all of these types of meat sold and on restaurant menus in China before, but seeing them all together listed so prominently isn't a daily event for me.

The first meat listed is identified with the Chinese character 羊 (yáng), which can refer to sheep or goats (and some other animals as well). Given how I have found the term used in many parts of Guangdong province, including in Jieyang, I presume it refers to goat.

Donkey meat is next, which I saw on the menu at a restaurant in Huizhou — another city in Guangdong province.

Then comes rabbit meat, which I most strongly associate with Zigong in Sichuan province since it is especially popular there. A couple of relevant dishes I had in Zigong appear in a post where I offer spicy evidence that family-sized portions of rice are quite common in parts of China.

Next up is dog meat. I have seen this for sale in many regions. A post including photos of seven restaurants in Mudanjiang, Heilongjiang province, that feature dog meat comes to mind.

The last item listed, cat meat, is the one I come across the least in China. I don't have any relevant posts about it. I have photos of various sightings though — potential material for a future post.

While it significantly differs from what is available at typical grocery stores, I wouldn't consider this selection of meats especially exotic for Guangdong. In terms of what I have personally come across, the winner for that is probably a live animal market I visited a number of times in Shaoguan — more material for a future post. The bamboo rats did not look happy.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Green and Red at Zhishan Park in Taipei

Some paths and insects for today, all from Zhishan Park:


bamboo covered path at Zhishan Park in Taipei



tree covered path at Zhishan Park in Taipei



Chinese lanterns along a stairway with traditional Chinese designs at Zhishan Park in Taipei



red bugs at Zhishan Park in Taipei


If you can identify the red insects, I'd appreciate being enlightened. I feel like they deserve a name. And maybe you can give some other red insects I once saw in Fuzhou a try as well.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Leaping Cat Bridge: A Black Feline Braves the Heights in Taiwan

black cat on a stairway landing
Cropped photo of a daring cat


Today after crossing a bridge connecting Taipei City and New Taipei City, a black cat caused me to pause before I went down a stairway — the only way to reach ground level from this section of the bridge.

black cat on a stairway landing


Needless to say, the cat also saw me. After a couple of photos, I began to slowly descend the stairs. I figured either the cat would allow me to greet it / pass by or it would head down the stairs in front of me.

Of course, the cat did something else. It jumped onto the concrete wall bordering the stair landing. I froze, fearing the cat would try to reach a supporting structure of the bridge requiring a leap at a perilous height.

Of course, the cat leaped nonetheless. It didn't give itself much of a margin but still landed safely on the other side and settled down.

black cat on a high supporting structure for a bridge


Quite relieved not to have witnessed a catastrophe (pun not intended), wanting to keep things that way, and not seeing anything I could do to help at the moment, I made my way down the rest of the stairs.

Later as I stood across the street from the stairs, I heard a young voice from above exclaim "Māomī!" — "Kitty!" in Mandarin Chinese. When I looked up I saw a boy standing at the top of the stairs who was soon joined by numerous other school children. It wasn't clear what the children would do, but at least the cat was in a safe location, relatively speaking.

Or so I thought.

In fact, the cat had already returned to the stairway. And before any of the children went down the stairs, it made the same leap to the bridge again.

Expecting another return to the stairway, I waited as the cat remained out of view. After about seven minutes of nobody using the stairs, the cat came into view and prepared itself.

black cat about to jump from a bridge at a high height


Then, it leaped.

black cat jumping from a from a bridge to a stairway at a high height


That's a photo worth cropping.

closeup of a black cat jumping from a from a bridge to a stairway at a high height


The End.

Ok, not the end. I'm pleased to report the cat made it safely back to the stairs. Here's another cropped photo with a bit of proof:

black cat on the ledge of a stairway at a high height


And now some speculation . . .

The cat appeared to been have been ear tipped, suggesting it is a stray. Given what I have seen elsewhere in Taipei, where stray cats aren't uncommon, I wouldn't be surprised if somebody is feeding the cat regularly at the stairway landing around the time of day I arrived. Perhaps they first encountered the cat there and a ritual began. If so, the downside to this act of kindness is that as the cat waits for the person (food) to arrive it avoids other people by repeatedly making a dangerous leap.

The cat apparently feels confident enough in its abilities. But as an online video search easily indicates, cats aren't perfect. And at some point as the cat ages, it won't be able to leap as well. Will the cat know to retire from its bridge adventures before then? That would be quite a height for a cat, no matter how many lives it has, to fall, and the ground far below is unforgiving concrete.

One potential downside to sharing this story is that people who can figure out the exact location may be inspired to engage in some leaping-kitty tourism and approach the cat on the stair landing hoping to see a jump up close. So please, refrain. This will only add to the number of times the cat is tempted to take a substantial risk.

To be clear, I don't know whether or not the cat is a regular on these stairs — hopefully not. But if you or somebody you know are cat-experienced and interested in further exploring the situation with the aim to help if need be, feel free to contact me (see the sidebar of the website; go here if currently viewing the mobile version). I can help you pin down the exact location and also share the time of day when I saw the cat. Assuming it could require multiple regular visits, I'm not able to undertake the deed, especially since I expect to be departing Taipei soon.

If more high leaps are in store, though, may they all be good ones. Whatever the future holds for the cat, I might feel more confident in the answer if I later see another cat at such heights and think to myself "You're not really going to jump there, are you?"

Monday, January 15, 2018

Watching Out for Snakes in Taipei

When today at the edge of the Shuangxi Riverside Park in Taipei I saw a sign warning of snakes, admittedly I doubted any would cause me a problem.

"Watch Out for Snakes" sign in Shilin, Taipei


But later at the nearby Huiji Temple (惠濟宮) I realized perhaps I got lucky.

stone carving of scene of three men fleeing a very large snake in a tree


Consider yourself warned.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

A Friendship Through Bars for Two Pigeons in Taipei

man with two pigeons, one in a cage

Today near the Taipei Metro Shuanglian Station, I saw a man with two pigeons in rather different states of confinement. One pigeon was in a cage while the other walked around next to the cage.

Soon the man became aware of my interest, and I asked about the pigeons. He explained that the smaller pigeon outside of the cage has a home at the top of a building just across the road. The larger pigeon in the cage was his. He said the pigeons were friends and this was not their first meeting.

Even when I approached very near, the freely roaming pigeon didn't leave. However, I worried my presence might be making it nervous, which would be a shame since the man was setting out food. So I refrained from asking more questions and left the pigeon friends alone to do whatever it is pigeons do under such conditions.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

A Few Scenes from Gudesi Road in Wuhan

Unlike Qingfen Road in Wuhan, Gudesi Road (古德寺路) is labeled on both Google Maps and Baidu Map. However, both maps are missing sections of the street and Baidu Map mistakenly labels a connecting street with the name. In any case, there aren't as many shops on Gudesi Road as there are on Qingfen Road, but plenty of life can still be found there.

Gudesi Road (古德寺路) in Wuhan


Gudesi Road (古德寺路) in Wuhan


And if you are lucky, you may meet a rather friendly dog.

dog sitting on Gudesi Road (古德寺路) in Wuhan


friendly dog Gudesi Road (古德寺路) in Wuhan


While Gudesi Road wouldn't seem remarkable to most people in China, the temple it is named after is another story. More about that later.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Dinosaurs (and Lamborghinis) Featured in a Promotion at City of Dreams in Macau

Admittedly, I would have a tough time deciding if given the chance to choose one of these:

Lamborghinis and Tyrannosaurus sculpture display at City of Dreams Macau


back of yellow Lamborghini on display at City of Dreams Macau


Lamborghini and Triceratops sculpture display at City of Dreams Macau


But after much consideration, I suspect in the end I would go with the Tyrannosaurus. Unfortunately, winning one of the dinosaur sculptures did not appear to be a possibility in the "Unlock the Power" promotional campaign at the City of Dreams casino resort in Macau:
Promotional car keys will be distributed at prominent locations around Macau, including ferry terminals, border gates and shuttle-bus stops, giving lucky guests the chance to win a Lamborghini. Keys can also be obtained by visiting City of Dreams, or by playing the mobile app game. The WeChat-based competition allows players to race a supercar by using their “engine voice” to propel the car around the track – the louder you roar, the faster you go! The more keys entrants can accumulate, the more chances they will have to win a Lamborghini.

Guests at City of Dreams can also participate in a daily instant game to be in with a chance of scooping the grand prize by spending at any of the resort’s many shopping, dining, entertainment or hospitality outlets during the campaign period, and enter the stage game that will take place every Thursday to Sunday at 8pm. The entrants drawn to play the game will have the chance to drive home a Lamborghini, or to receive HKD2 million [about U.S. $250,000] in cash.
I haven't played the mobile game, which can be downloaded from either Google Play or Apple's App Store, so my engine voice remains untested. I also didn't watch a stage game, so I can't report whether it too involved using one's engine voice.

As far as the dinosaurs, without further explanation the press release states they "personify the Italian supercar". I am not aware of any evidence indicating dinosaurs had good engine voices though.

Anyway, after yet another look . . .

view from above of Lamborghinis and Tyrannosaurus sculpture display at City of Dreams Macau


Lamborghini and Triceratops sculpture display at City of Dreams Macau


I must say, maybe I would go with the Triceratops after all.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A Bird Photobomb, an Upcoming National Congress, and the Great Firewall

Two years ago I shared photos which included dragonflies making unexpected appearances: one in Zhuhai and another in Changsha. Today I had a similar experience involving a bird. As before, I appreciated the flyby. So here is a view of Zhongshan from behind Xishan Temple (西山寺):

view of Zhongshan from behind Xishan Temple (西山寺) in Zhongshan, China


The bird timed things wonderfully. The photo also catches a moment when the wind was helping the flag put on a good display.

Speaking of that flag . . .

The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China opens in eight days. This means all sorts of things. One of those is that China may make it more difficult to use VPNs to get through the Great Firewall, which appeared to happen five years ago during the 18th National Congress. At least I was able to post a photo of bridge in Changsha while briefly commenting on my VPN woes.

Possibly related, over the past twelve hours or so I have had an unusually difficult time setting up a functional VPN connection. I also see chatter indicating some others are having problems as well. Whether this represents something broader connected to the upcoming National Congress isn't clear though. I will be saying more here about VPNs in China soon, assuming I can . . .

On a related programmatic note, if I am not able to use a VPN I won't be able to post from mainland China. So I will take this moment to say that if things soon go quiet here for an extended period of time, it is likely due to the Great Firewall extending its reach. Hopefully I will be back soon.

Now you know.

And bird.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Pork Delivery in Zhuhai

On the day after Typhoon Hato hit, I saw something in Zhuhai which may have been connected to the typhoon in some way, but it was also something I wouldn't be shocked to see most other days. That said, it isn't something I see often, and for a moment it took my thoughts away from all of the storm damage I had just seen and walked through.

A pig carcass unexpectedly zooming past on an electric bicycle can have such an effect.





The feet dragging on the ground took it up a notch. But at least the pig carcass didn't appear to be at risk of completely falling to ground as what happened on a grander scale last year in Florida:
At least four pig carcasses, which were not secured properly, splattered onto the roadway, creating a gruesome scene captured by WTVT-Ch. 13's helicopter camera. It also backed up traffic for miles starting around 8 a.m. as emergency crews worked to clean up the remains, blocking the northbound right and center lanes.

As the Fox 13 helicopter roamed overhead while streaming a live feed to Facebook, Floridians totally freaked out online.
I didn't notice anybody freaking out over the passing carcass in Zhuhai. Had it splattered onto the street, though, it might have gained a little more attention.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Two Bengbu Cats for International Cat Day

It has just come to my attention that today in International Cat Day. With the exception of pet stores & markets, I haven't seen many cats in Bengbu. But I did see a few today. One was in a small store and froze upon seeing me. After some staring, it darted for cover. Elsewhere, I saw a kitten in a tiny cage that had just been sold to a man. Perhaps the man knew it was International Cat Day. The kitten probably did not.

I don't have any photos of the cats I happened to see today, but in the spirit of the day I can share two photos of cats I saw earlier in Bengbu.

Here is a kitten in a small convenience store:

kitten in Bengbu, China


I later learned the kitten is only present when it is brought by a woman who sometimes works there.

Here is a cat outside late at night:

white cat outside in Bengbu, China


Of note, there are several pet stores along this stretch. The cat ran off when I approached closer.

And that concludes this blog's observance of International Cat Day.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Dog Powered Scooter

small dog pulls a boy riding a scooter
Early this year at the Funing Cultural Park (福宁文化公园) in Xiapu, Fujian

Posting lately has been lighter than I intended as I have been taking advantage of the opportunity to disconnect a bit. Tomorrow I will be back to traveling, hopefully at faster than dog-pulled speeds. And, somewhat ironically, that should mean more regular posting soon.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Story of Mangosteens, Wood Canes, and a Stealthy Thief in Guiyang

On a recent sunny day in Guiyang, some people sold fruit along a road leading to an entrance to Qianling Mountain Park. One woman sold mangos and mangosteens.

woman selling mangos and mangosteens alongside a street in Guiyang


Despite their similar names in English, the two fruits look very different, taste very different, and aren't closely related. Their names aren't at all similar in Mandarin Chinese. Still, the pairing caught my attention.

After taking a few photos, a man behind me got my attention and expressed amusement over my interest in the fruit seller. He also opportunistically asked if I was interested in buying one of the wood canes he was selling. I wasn't, although I knew one could soon come in handy for defensive purposes. After a brief friendly chat, the man was happy when I asked to take his photo.

man selling wood canes in Guiyang


I then decided to buy some mangosteens from the woman. After the bargaining was over — mangosteens aren't cheap — I had three promising-looking purple orbs. I gave one of the mangosteens to the man. He initially refused but soon cheerfully accepted the fruit. Mangosteens are really good.

I attached the clear plastic bag holding the two remaining mangosteens to my camera bag and headed into the park.

After checking out a zoo in the park, I cracked open one of the mangosteens. I wanted to make sure I enjoyed it before it was possibly stolen. Already there had been several attempts — some involving direct confrontations and others involving stealthier strategies. I had expected this since the fruit were so clearly visible. One needs to be aware of such things when roaming around Qianling Mountain Park.

Then just when all seemed clear I felt a very strong pull on my camera bag. As people yelled, I spun around reacting as quickly as I could. I knew a mangosteen was at stake here. It was all a blur, but at the end I had maintained possession of my camera bag despite the strap somehow disconnecting. And to my surprise the plastic bag remained attached as well.

The culprit quickly fled to a tree for safety. From there the monkey looked at me . . .

monkey in a tree in Guiyang


Looked at me while eating its prize.

monkey eating a stolen mangosteen in Guiyang


Well done, monkey. You succeeded where many had failed. And your reward was a glorious mangosteen.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Taking a Cat for a Walk in Guiyang

Rapid changes of scenery led to some recent quietness here. More about that soon. In the meantime, here is a cat enjoying a park in Guiyang.

person walking a cat on a leash in Guiyang


Seeing somebody walk a cat, in China or elsewhere, is a rather rare experience for me. The cat was handling it like a pro. I was curious as to what would happen if the cat encountered any of the many free-roaming monkeys in the park, but I continued heading in the opposite direction.

More about those monkeys too someday.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Fury-Tailed Bike Rider in Guangzhou

Tonight near Liwan Lake Park in Guangzhou, people excitedly pointed at an animal riding in a bike basket. A dog or a cat wouldn't usually cause such a strong reaction. But this was something truly unexpected — a squirrel.

Bicycle-riding squirrel wearing a shirt in Guangzhou, China


Unlike in the U.S., I very rarely see urban squirrels in China despite having visited more than a hundred city parks. I would almost have been as surprised to see a squirrel in the nearby park as to see one wearing a shirt in the U.S. Wild squirrels do exist in China though. And thanks to humans they sometimes gain too much weight.

So I could personally appreciate the amazement. This was the first time anywhere I petted a bike-riding squirrel wearing a shirt.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Tin Hau Temple Tiger in Stanley, Hong Kong

At the Tin Hau Temple in Stanley, Hong Kong, I didn't witness any temple cleansings. But I did see something I didn't expect to find.

tiger skin at Tin Hau Temple in Stanley, Hong Kong


informational sign about the tiger skin at Tin Hau Temple in Stanley, Hong Kong


Accord to Geoffrey Charles Emerson in his book covering a part of the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, "Hong Kong Internment, 1942-1945: Life in the Japanese Civilian Camp at Stanley":
In May 1942 one of the most unusual events of the internment years occurred. Although hardly an event of great importance, it is of great interest. For weeks there had been rumours in the Camp that a tiger was roaming around at night. As rumours were always prevalent, most internees refused to believe such a "preposterous" tale. Therefore, it came as great surprise when a male tiger weighing more than 200 pounds was killed just outside the Camp by a part of Japanese gendarmes, Chinese and Indian guards. The Hongkong News of 21 May 1942 reported that the tiger weighed about 240 pounds, was three feet high and six feet long with a nineteen-inch tail. Some of the Indian guards reported that they had also seen the tiger's mate and two cubs, but these were never found.

One of the internees, who had been a butcher with the Dairy Farm Company in Hong Kong before the war, was taken out of the Camp to skin the tiger. After being stuffed, it was put on exhibition in the city and attracted many viewers. The meat was not wasted, either, as The Hongkong News reported on 27 June that "thanks to the generosity of a Nipponese officer, some officials of the Hong Kong Race Club were recently given the rare treat of having a feast of tiger meat. The meat, which was as tender and delicious as beef, was from the tiger shot at Stanley.
No live tigers approached me in the area, though there were a few domestic cats. So I just had a salad by the beach.