Sunday, February 21, 2016

Heading Downstream in Jieyang

Today in Jieyang I didn't see a goat.

But I did see a boat.

boat speeding down the Rongjiang North River in Jieyang
Speeding down the Rongjiang North River

Saturday, February 20, 2016

A Question, a Fire, and a Repeat Sighting: One More Goat Post

Yesterday was my first day in a while not to see a goat in Jieyang. But thanks to two readers, it wasn't an entirely goat-free day for me, though, so I will briefly return to the goat topic.

One reader asked "What's with all the goats?" To be clear, Jieyang isn't overflowing with goats. The examples I have shared were isolated incidents during days when I covered much ground. After showing a goat-milking photo to one local, she said she didn't think it was common. That's been my impression as well. But I have seen far more goat milking on Jieyang's urban streets than anywhere else in China.

The other reader shared some rather unfortunate goat-related news. 300 goats recently burned to death on a truck which caught fire near its destination in Liuzhou, Guangxi. I won't be sharing the graphic photos of the fire and its aftermath, but Shanghaiist has them. The incident is terrible regardless, but I wonder where the goats were headed. I doubt it was a petting zoo.

To end this post on a cheerier note (not a high bar there), I will sneak in another photo of goats on wheels, this one from today. It provides more food for thought regarding the goats' diets. One goat was munching on the tarp covering its cart.

Five goats on a parked motorbike tricycle cart. One goat is eating the tarp on top of the cart.

The tarp was one of several clues including the vehicle, the broom, the bucket, and, of course, the five goats which give me the confidence to declare these are the same five goats I saw speeding down the road earlier this week. As far as I can tell, this is my first repeat sighting. I will take it as further encouragement to move onto other topics.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Chinese State Media Tweet About Xi Jinping's Special Visits

The Chinese Communist Party's People's Daily received an important visitor today. They were inspired to report it on Twitter, which is blocked in China.

People's Daily wasn't the only state-media organization in China to receive a visit from Xi today and tweet about it. Xinhua made appropriate use of quotation marks in one of its tweets.

They also shared a heart-touching moment.

In its excitement, CCTV didn't feel inhibited to declare "exclusive" on something which happened within their own studio.

CCTV really loves inspections after all.

Unsurprisingly, there was a bit of commentary on Twitter.

Of course, none of this is a joke.

If these tweets aren't enough to satisfy, one can head to Medium where David Bandurski translated a portion of a poem about Xi's visit written by a deputy editor at Xinhua. Bandurski described it as a "steaming heap of sycophancy". That is also not a joke.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Undoubtedly Trashy: Goats Eating in Jieyang

I thought I might be on my way to a goat-free day, but, of course, this afternoon I came across some goats yet again in Jieyang. A older man had just bought some fresh goat milk and appeared amused when I photographed the goats. We spoke briefly and thinking about the ambiguity of the Chinese character 羊 (yáng) regarding sheep, goats, and other Caprinae I inquired about the name of these fine animals. Not to my surprise, he went with 羊 (yáng) on its own.

What most caught my attention about these particular goats wasn't their number (only two) or their mode of transportation (walking with their human). I earlier mentioned that while buyers like the man I met today could be assured of the source and freshness of their goat milk, there were still unanswered questions which could be of concern such as those pertaining to the goats' diets. So I watched silently as one of the goats munched on . . . something.

goat eating trash on the ground in Jieyang, China

And with that food for thought, I think it can be said not only has the recent goats-on-wheels series come to a close for the time being but now the broader goat series as well.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Signs of Goat Meat in Jieyang

As was evident with the previous lunar year's zodiac symbol, the Chinese character 羊 (yáng) can refer to sheep, goats, rams, and other related animals. Professor of Chinese Language and Literature Victor Mair uses the term "ovicaprid" when translating instances of 羊 (yáng) which are ambiguous. "Caprinae" may work as well. My earlier idea to go with "Year of the Yang" never took off.

Although adding a preceding Chinese character provides more clarity, it is still common in China to see 羊 (yáng) without one. For example, a man I recently saw selling goat milk in Chaozhou evidently felt that no additional character was needed. But at a market in Jieyang I passed through the other day, I saw several instances of 山羊 (shānyáng), which typically refers to goats.

sign for goat meat (山羊肉) in Jieyang, China

sign for goat meat (山羊肉) in Jieyang, China

They weren't selling milk like the vendors with goats on tricycle carts I saw nearby. The third character in these signs means "meat".

Elsewhere in Jieyang, I saw a restaurant sign which used 羊 (yáng) alone, once again with the meat character following. During my earlier days in China I would have assumed this meant sheep meat was on the menu. Given how I have seen the character used elsewhere in this region, though, I wasn't shocked to see a picture of a goat below.

restaurant sign with goat meat (羊肉) mentioned in Jieyang, China

So what do they write in Jieyang when referring to sheep? I haven't explored this fascinating issue, but I did see one man selling sheep meat who didn't write anything at all. The head and skin did seem to communicate enough on their own though.

meat for sale hanging above a sheep head and a sheep skin nearby

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Undoubtedly Unexpected: A New Goat Cart Record

I hadn't planned on a series of posts about unexpected goat sightings in Chaozhou and in Jieyang. I figured the last post about the motorbike tricycle cart with an impressive five goats would be hard to top and looked forward to moving onto other matters. So even though I saw an electric/pedal-powered tricycle cart with five goats yesterday in an urban area of Jieyang . . .

five goats on an electric tricycle cart in Jieyang

and saw a milking for a customer . . .

milking a goat on a tricycle cart in Jieyang

I probably wouldn't have shared more goat photos today.

But nearby on Ronghu Road, I came across something which made me feel, yes, another goats-on-wheels post was clearly justified.

seven goats on a motorbike tricycle cart in Jieyang

One cart. Seven glorious goats.

Barring seeing something like a school bus filled with goats, which at this point I wouldn't discount, this should conclude the series. I will have something to say, though, about a fate for goats in Jieyang less grand, at least from a goat's perspective, than being milked or riding carts.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Undoubtedly More Goats: On Wheels and On Foot in Jieyang

While taking a series of photographs of a scene at Jinxianmen Avenue in Jieyang yesterday, something else deserving to be captured caught my attention. I was ready with my camera, but unfortunately the arrangement of vehicles on the road was not conducive to a clear shot. But as the vehicle of note sped away there was a break, and I caught the moment.

motorbike tricycle cart with 5 goats in Jieyang

After briefly looking at the small image on my camera, I thought it was a motorbike tricycle cart with four goats — topping the previous carts with goats in Jieyang and in Chaozhou. When I later looked at the photo, I realized it was something even greater, as can be more easily seen in a cropped version of the photo.

motorbike tricycle cart with 5 goats in Jieyang

Yes, make that five goats — all with a view.

The goat appearances didn't stop there. Today near Donghu Road while I had been thinking about matters other than goats, four more goats passed by. And for the first time in my life, I was surprised to see goats because they were not on a motorbike tricycle cart.

woman walking with four goats in Jieyang

Like before, all of these goats were spotted in urban areas. These are exciting days indeed.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Undoubtedly Authentic: More Mobile Fresh Milk in Guangdong

Chaozhou and Jieyang, bordering cities in eastern Guangdong province, share much in common. So after recently seeing fresh goat milk for sale in Chaozhou, I wasn't entirely surprised to see a similar arrangement yesterday at a street intersection in Jieyang.

motorbike tricycle cart with a goat

Like the milk seller in Chaozhou, the tricycle cart carried three goats (in the above photo two of the goats are off the cart mostly out of view). Unlike the milk seller in Chaozhou, the tricycle cart had a motorcycle front end.

Nearby, another seller offered offered milk from a more common source.

motorbike tricycle-cart with a cow

While there, I was fortunate enough to witness a milking for a customer's order.
man milking a cow on a motorbike tricycle cart

Having grown up in an area with many farms, I have seen plenty of cows before. I haven't seen many on motorized tricycle carts in the middle of urban areas though.

With concerns about fake products and past milk scandals on the minds of many in China, even inspiring cross-border trips for milk products, it is easy to think of reasons why this option would appeal to some people. Questions remain pertaining to the milk's quality, including ones about the animal's diet, but there is no doubt about its source, its freshness, or whether anything was added after it left the animal.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Monday, February 8, 2016

Rooster Hoping For Something Better During the Year of the Monkey

A neglected portion of Fenghuangzhou Park (凤凰洲公园) in Chaozhou holds statues for all the animals of the Chinese zodiac. Yesterday, on the last day of the Year of the Yang, the goat statue stood proud.

goat statue at Fenghuangzhou Park in Chaozhou

Hanging out nearby was the statue for the new lunar year's animal.

monkey statue at Fenghuangzhou Park in Chaozhou

I'm don't know what is planned for this portion of the park. It seems to hold some potential despite its curious current state. But hopefully they at least address one mishap before next year — the Year of the Rooster.

knocked-over rooster statue at at Fenghuangzhou Park in Chaozhou

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Last Goats During This Year of the Yang

Not only did I see three goats yesterday, three goats saw me.

three goats

And a girl petted one of them.

girl petting one of three goats on a tricycle cart

They weren't part of a mobile petting zoo though. Instead, the man who had biked them there was selling fresh goat milk.

tricycle cart with three goats and sign indicating goat milk is for sale

It seemed to be an auspicious sign to see goats on the second to last day of the Chinese lunar new year. There was much debate over which animal was represented by 羊 (yáng) — the Chinese word for the year's zodiac symbol. It can refer to a range of animals related to sheep and goats, and additional characters are sometimes used to remove any ambiguity. In this case, though, the seller apparently felt that 羊 would be understood as "goat", not so surprising since we were in Chaozhou — a city in southern China. Of course, if there was any doubt, the nearby goats cleared things up.

Although I had questions about the whether the milk was safe, I figured I couldn't pass up the opportunity to end the year in such a fitting fashion. So I told the man I was interested in making a purchase. After discussing the amount of milk I wanted, he asked what I intended to do with it. After I told him I planned to simply drink it as is, he explained that wouldn't be a great idea.

The man with the goats had spoken. And he had passed up a sale in order not to bring me any harm. I thanked him and left milkless but appreciative I didn't end the year on an unpleasant note.