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

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.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Two Cleansings at a Hong Kong Temple

Like other Man Mo Temples in Hong Kong, the Man Mo Temple in Tai Po is dedicated to the God of Literature (Man) and the God of War (Mo). During my brief visit to the spiritual location I had the luck to witness two acts of cleansing.

cat cleaning itself in front of the Man Mo Temple in Tai To, Hong Kong



woman spraying water with a hose to clean the Man Mo Temple in Tai Po, Hong Kong


I don't know how often these cleansings occur, but some tranquility contrasting with the lively market on the street should be easy to find.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Two Lunar New Year Chickens in China

If you didn't already know, the displays in Macau might make you aware of the zodiac symbol for the new lunar new year. There is far less debate over what to call it in English than there was for the recent Year of the Sheep/Goat/Etc. The Chinese character for the symbol, 鸡, isn't sex-specific and is typically translated as "chicken", which also isn't sex-specific. But most people go with the male-specific "Year of the Rooster".

It is often hard to definitively say whether the numerous displays for the holiday don't actually include hens, female chickens, instead of roosters. But I can at least say I have seen many depictions of chickens lately. An especially large one fittingly stood near a KFC at a shopping center in Jieyang.

large inflatable chicken in Jieyang, Guangdong


Another stood at an entrance to the Zhuhai Port Plaza in Zhuhai.

entrance to Zhuhai Port Plaza


Captain American Chicken deserves a closeup.

Captain America rooster statue at the Zhuhai Port Plaza


Happy Year of the Rooster, folks.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Another Encounter with a Territorial Duck in Xiapu

There has been a goose carried in a bag, baskets of chickens and ducks, a cage of ducks, a roaming chicken on an ancient street, and a chicken on a far more recently built sidewalk. To conclude this recent series of fowl posts, I couldn't do any better than a return to the duck with an inscrutable stare.

Three days after first encountering the duck, I returned to the same location. I didn't see it around the same store as before, so I walked to a neighboring area where several people were shelling a large amount of oysters. There amongst the empty oyster shells I spotted the formidable duck.

Like before, the duck saw me. Unlike the timid chicken nearby, the duck was ready for confrontation. Immediately following us making eye contact, the duck marched straight towards me with the determination only a mad duck on a mission can have.

duck walking towards me from an area with many oyster shells


In other words, it did briefly stop midway to check out something of interest on the ground.

Now much closer, the duck hissed at me and then settled into position just a few feet away where it ruffled its feathers.

duck with ruffled feathers standing on nets


Then it moved to another nearby location, and I dared to get a little closer. The duck gave me a look indicating I was lucky it wasn't more like some of its dinosaur relatives.

duck giving me the evil eye


A powerful display of wing flapping followed.

duck flapping its wings


My expertise in duck identification and behavior, based upon skimming a few webpages, leads me to conclude the duck, likely of a non-quacking variety, was defending its territory.

Fortunate for my physical well-being, things did not escalate further. In fact, after the displays of might, the duck switched to the seemingly nonthreatening act of preening itself, even when I was close enough to touch it.

duck preening


I felt like a barrier had fallen. Perhaps I had gained the duck's acceptance. Or maybe the duck felt it had sufficiently made its point.

Since I didn't expect to return to this location in the near future, if ever, I assumed this would be my last opportunity to spend time with the impressive duck — now my favorite in Xiapu. I wished the moment could last longer, but, alas, I soon had to bid farewell.

The duck didn't shed a single tear.

victorious duck

Monday, January 16, 2017

A Chicken's Interrupted Meal in Xiapu

While looking for a duck I had encountered before, in the same area I saw a chicken enjoying a fine meal.

chicken next to a bowl of rice


After the chicken noticed me noticing it, which happened quickly, it made some odd clucks and then decided to leave. The situation had a "chicken just wanted to enjoy a nice meal and then a human had to ruin it by watching" sort of feeling.

To the dismay of some and the joy of others, the recent series of posts about chicken, ducks, and geese will come to an end soon with the next post: the story of my second and likely last encounter with a special duck in Xiapu.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Chicken Walking on an Old Street in Dajing

On an ancient street in Dajing Village I saw another example of freely roaming fowl in Xiapu County, this time a chicken.

chicken on Zhongjie in Dajing, Xiapu


No staredowns were involved, but the chicken still displayed some bravery. Soon it was walking towards me.

chicken walking towards me in Dajing


Why did the chicken walk right by me? Perhaps the answer is the same as the one for a more popular chicken-related question.

Not far from here, I heard what sounded like a person saying "Hello!" repeatedly in a peculiar voice. I discovered it was a freely roaming rooster with a rather unusual crow. After we made eye contact and I started recording, he became quiet and shyly walked away. So, sad to say, I have no video to share of the incredible event.

Someday I will share more about Dajing, an often beautiful 80 minute bus ride from Xiapu's most urban area. Lately I have been more focused on thinking through and writing another piece, which partly explains my recent penchant for short, simple posts about fowl. Plus, birds are dinosaurs.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Peaceful Staredown with a Duck in Xiapu

Not all fowl I have seen in Xiapu were constrained, whether by bags, baskets, or cages. I saw one lucky duck as night fell while I walked past a convenience store. The location struck me as unusual for a duck, so I stopped for a more extended look.

And the duck stopped to look at me.

duck standing in front of the entrance to a convenience store in Xiapu, Fujian, China


We both seemed to be unsure as to what would happen next. After about a minute, the duck took a few steps and then stopped again.

It kept looking at me. And I kept looking at it.

Concerned this might turn out like a Wallace and Gromit horror scene, I decided to continue onward in my original direction. But it was quickly getting darker, so I soon decided to head back. I crossed paths with the duck again and risked a closer look.

Of course, the duck looked at me.

duck in Xiapu, China


Thus concludes the dramatic story of my encounter with an unruffled duck.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Choosing a Duck in Xiapu

In addition to bags and baskets, while walking the streets of Xiapu I have seen fowl contained in cages as well. One photo of a relevant example involving ducks came out blurrier than I expected, because just as I was about to take it a woman reached into the cage.

woman reaching into a cage with ducks


The ducks did their best to avoid her grasp, but there wasn't much they could do. They were sitting ducks, even if not literally.

Very soon the woman was examining the duck of her choice.

woman examining a live duck


After the inspection, she took the duck elsewhere. Although leaving a cage sounds like a good thing in general, I assumed this was a case of out of the frying pan into the fire. Perhaps I should have stuck around to learn its fate, but I ducked out, which seems a bit ironic now.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Baskets of Chickens and Ducks in Xiapu

They say don't put all your eggs in one basket. They don't say what to do after they hatch, other than that it is OK to count your chickens then.

baskets full of live chicken and ducks on a street in Xiapu, China.
On Hewei Street (河尾街) in Xiapu, Fujian

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Goose to Go in Xiapu

Today near a narrow alley leading towards the entrance and exit of one of Xiapu's bus stations I heard a familiar but unexpected honking sound. I looked around trying to locate the source. Fortunately I wasn't on a wild goose chase, and I quickly found it. For a short period of time I was able to have a gander. Soon the honker, now much quieter, was carried away, and I wondered about its fate. As with some of its kind I saw at a live bird market far away in Yueyang, Hunan, I would guess its goose is cooked.

woman carrying a bag with a love goose sticking out its head

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Two Cats in Dalian

Posting photos of a dog wearing a dinosaur outfit and a dog with pigeons in Dalian has led to some critical feedback. It can be summed up as "Where are the cats?" Based on previous experience, I shouldn't be surprised.

So . . . this photo includes a cat I saw at Olympic Square in Dalian:

black cat hiding behind bushes at Olympic Square in Dalian

The cat apparently didn't want to be seen.

And this photo includes a cat I saw at Tuanjie Street in Dalian:

cat sitting next to a railing at Tuanjie Street in Dalian

The cat apparently didn't mind being seen. It did mind me trying to get close.

I hope these photos have brought some Dalian-style animal balance to the world. Onto other matters next.

Friday, November 18, 2016

A Dog Not Looking for Pigeons or Criticism in Dalian

For better or worse, I only saw one small dog in Dalian wearing a dinosaur outfit. I did see other dogs in the city, though, including one dog peacefully coexisting with many pigeons at Zhongshan Square.

small dog standing next to many pigeons at Zhongshan Square in Dalian, China


The dog was friendly when approached and minded its own business. Nonetheless, with clear disgust on her face a woman with a child bluntly asked the dog's owner why the dog was so fat. The owner appeared to be taken aback by the question.

I didn't catch the mumbled reply, and I wonder what sort of answer the woman was expecting. I will admit part of me wishes the owner had said with a straight face, "She likes eating the pigeons."

Dalian Dinosaur Dog Spotted

I may have spent too much time reading about U.S. politics this evening. So to clear my mind, and perhaps yours as well, here is a colorfully-dressed dog I noticed (and which noticed me) one recent afternoon in Dalian, a city in Liaoning province to the south of Shenyang.

small dog wearing a polkadot dinosaur outfit in Dalian, China

The Stegosaurus-like plates led me to assume the dog was wearing a dinosaur outfit. I wish the hood had been extended so its full glory was on display, but you don't always get what you want. At least I had the opportunity to cross paths with the dinodog.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Mudanjiang Wanda Plaza: A Few Observations of Stores, Food, and Fun

Mudanjiang Wanda Plaza Shopping Mall
The Mudanjiang Wanda Plaza Shopping Mall

Several years ago I posted about the Kaifu Wanda Plaza in Changsha, Hunan. Since then I have seen a number of Wanda Plazas in other cites across China. Most recently, I visited the Mudanjiang Wanda Plaza in Mudanjiang, Heilongjiang. The 144th Wanda Plaza in China opened a few months ago and includes a shopping mall, apartments, and office space. I won't be doing a comprehensive overview, but I will share some of my impressions during a brief visit to the shopping mall.

When I looked at the mall map, the most curious thing was an "Apple" store. I doubted Mudanjiang had an Apple Store and was not the least bit surprised when I discovered it referred to an Apple authorized reseller.

Authorized Apple reseller store in the Mudanjiang Wanda Plaza


Well, the store claims it is an authorized reseller. At the moment I don't see any mention of it in Apple's online search tool for authorized resellers in China.

Elsewhere in the mall, I saw an Adidas Kids store.

adidas kids store in the Mudanjiang Wanda Plaza


The online Adidas reseller tool isn't working for me, so I can't comment more on that topic. I didn't see an Adidas-imitating Adisco shoes store in the mall though.

I also did not see any entertainment like the Toyota promotion I saw at the Kaifu Wanda Plaza. But I did see a promotion which featured some children in a fun competition.

children competing in a game on a stage inside the Mudanjiang Wanda Plaza


I have seen Zoo Coffee, a Korean animal-themed coffeehouse chain, at other Wanda Plazas. None here, but Zebra coffee is available.

Zebra coffee shop at the Mudanjiang Wanda Plaza


There are many options for food, including three familiar Western chains: Dairy Queen, Pizza Hut, and Burger King.

Dairy Queen at the Mudanjiang Wanda Plaza


Pizza Hut at the Mudanjiang Wanda Plaza



Burger King at the Mudanjiang Wanda Plaza


Pizza Hut and Burger King have prime locations at one of the main entrances. The Burger King is notable in part because Mudanjiang does not have a single McDonald's. This may be the first time I was in a Chinese city with a Burger King but not a McDonald's.

The third floor of the mall is full of other restaurants. Several offer buffets, including one with something of an Alps theme.

Alps Pizza Buffet at the Mudanjiang Wanda Plaza


There is also, as usual for a mall, a Sichuan option.

Sichuan-style restaurant at the Mudanjiang Wanda Plaza


Several restaurants, such as Pig Boeuf, sport a trendy style which has seemingly grown popular in parts of China.

Pig Boeuf at the Mudanjiang Wanda Plaza


Pig Boeuf had a nice family standing out front.

humanoid pig family statues at the Mudanjiang Wanda Plaza


Apparently these humanoid pigs are meant to encourage people to eat pork. If they have the opposite effect, a nearby vegetarian restaurant might be a good option.

vegetarian restaurant at the Mudanjiang Wanda Plaza


I wouldn't call Mudanjiang a vegetarian-friendly place, so seeing this restaurant at the Wanda Plaza was a bit of a surprise. When I looked inside I saw that unlike other restaurants it had zero customers. Instead, employees including two chefs were sitting at a table looking extremely bored. Too bad.

Finally, to close out this odd set of observations from the Mudanjiang Wanda Plaza on a happier note, I will share my favorite: a man and presumably his daughter taking a ride through the mall on an electric dinosaur kiddie car.

father and daughter riding an electric dinosaur kiddie car at the Mudanjiang Wanda Plaza


Now that is a great way to mall.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Mooncakes Go to the Dogs

In past years I have shared Mid-Autumn Festival scenes in Macau from locations such as Taipa Village, Portas do Cerco, and Largo do Senado. Mid-Autumn Festival isn't until September 15 this year, but signs of preparation for the holiday are already visible, such as in Largo do Senado.

preparations for Mid-Autumn festival in Macau


In addition to lanterns, mooncakes are a popular way to celebrate the holiday. I saw a sign in Macau indicating that they won't be restricted to only humans.

sign for Mid-Autumn Festival mooncakes for dogs and cats


Although they perhaps aren't a familiar aspect of the holiday to many in China, pet mooncakes aren't a new thing and other brands are out there. Mooncake flavors listed on this sign include carrot salmon, Aussie beef flavor, tuna cheese, and chicken, pumpkin & sweet potato. All are listed as acceptable for dogs. Only the the tuna cheese is listed as cat friendly.

I don't know what will happen if you try to give a carrot salmon mooncake to a cat. I also don't know if a human would like them. People may want to take extra care when selecting which box of mooncakes to regift.