Archive for the ‘animals’ Category

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Spring Break

April 8, 2017

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

white blossoming tree

Normally we travel during spring break. We had planned to stay in Shanghai and explore some more of the many historical sites here. However, there was a death in the family that necessitated DaddyBird taking a flight to the states. I would have gone, too, had it not been for the fact I was in the midst of food poisoning. I stayed home to recover and to cat-sit.

white cat and tabby cat

Cat sitting can involve the neighborhood strays, too.

a white cat and an orange tabby

This is Smudge and Zippy. I usually feed them on my way to work each morning.

IMG_3311

This is Scamp. I usually run into her on the way home. She doesn’t care much for being petted. Last time, she didn’t seem very hungry or interested in eating, but she rolled over to show me her tummy. However, she didn’t want it rubbed much. She is a tease.

a beige corgy mix dog

This is The Dog. I don’t know what it’s name is. It belongs to a member of the apartment staff. It runs around the compound unattended and is the bane of my existence. It wants to play with the stray cats, or chase them if they will run, but the cats are not too excited about that. I suppose it is cute, for a dog, but I have never been a dog person.

My big adventure this week was going to the US Consulate to renew my passport. The website has all the information and forms one needs and if one reads all the instructions and has everything prepared, it goes quickly and easily. It is a bit astonishing to witness people who did not read those instructions, whether it is the guy at the door that did not make an appointment and cannot get in or the guy who did not bring a photo or does not know his China address. He, of course, is in a big hurry and is stressed out.

I encountered this fun statue in a pleasant little park.

historical building combining Western and Chinese style

A quick photo taken out the rainy taxi window of the Chinese YMCA building, one of my favorites. It was built in 1934 and combines Western and Chinese style.

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Chinese New Year!

January 31, 2017

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

Our experience of Chinese New Year in Shanghai (2015) involved an amazing amount of fireworks. It started about a week or so before the actual date and kept right on going for another week or so after. The actual eve of the New Year the fireworks sounded like a war zone and went on for at least an hour. Fireworks were invented in China, as you may know, and they are  integral to Chinese culture. Fireworks are used to celebrate everything, all year round. It is not like it is in the States where there are very limited types of fireworks that are available to the public and they are only sold for a limited time prior to the 4th of July. The fireworks sold to the Chinese public are big ones that shoot up into the air and make a great deal of noise.

Click here for video from 2015 (Be forewarned, it is loud.)

Unfortunately, during the Gregorian calendar New Year’s celebration 2016, many people were killed and injured in a crowd incident. As a result, fireworks are now banned in most of Shanghai, even for New Year. It has been a very quiet year. Therefore, this year we traveled up to Jaiding which is outside the banned zone to see some fireworks.

There is another tradition, a very long television show. I do not know exactly what time the show starts, but it runs right up to midnight. We watched several hours of it. It involves a variety of performances – singing, dancing, comedians, and skits. Some of the grander performances are done on location in various cities – Harbing, Shanghai, Beijing, etc. It was quite spectacular and interesting even though we do not understand a word.

The next morning we went into the center of old town Jaiding to the Daoist temple and Quixia ancient garden. We arrived in the afternoon. It appeared that we missed the crowds who had been there earlier to make prayers and offerings to start the year off right.

We spent a little time in the garden and checked on the kittens we had seen four months ago on our previous visit.

Not a lot has changed except size.

One of the greatest features of Chinese gardens, in my opinion, are the cave structures. I am very jealous of the kids who grew up in playing in these gardens and caves.

I made Daddybird watch my bag while I walked through. A young family with a little boy came along and debated whether to go through. The boy wanted to do it, but was unsure, so Daddybird encouraged them to go. Carpe diem! The boy came back by and said “thank you.”

We called it a day, took the bus to the metro station and then home.

To see all pictures, click here. To review our previous visit to the garden to compare foliage and cats, click here.

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Oliver the Loud, Eater of Steel Wool

November 16, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

You may have noticed that there has been a nearly month long gap in posting to this blog. One reason is that we were a bit preoccupied with our dear cat Oliver who had major surgery. He is quirky, funny, loving, charming, and loud, but he is not the smartest penny in the coin purse when it comes to aluminum foil. He thinks it is tasty, so we endeavor to keep it out of reach. This has worked for over five years.

Unbeknownst to us, there was a steel wool scrubber lurking under the kitchen cupboard, left by a previous tenant. Oliver found this one day, proceeded to play with it quietly in the kitchen, tear it apart and eat some of it. Long story short, this resulted in a three inch piece of steel wool becoming lodged in his intestine. The answer to that was major surgery to remove it.

white cat with plastic cone and belly suture

Surgery always carries the possibility of not making it through, so we worried a bit. After surgery, there was the possibility of infection, so more worry about that. There was also the ridiculous number of pills we were supposed to shove down his throat. If you haven’t tried to administer pills to a cat, count yourself lucky. By the second week, he became complacent enough to swallow them without too much fuss.

As with his experience in quarantine, Oliver was majorly stressed just by being in the vet clinic, so they resorted to giving him Valium just so he would relax enough to eat food. Once he was home again, he was much happier.

man with white cat laying on his shoulders

DaddyBird had to play nursemaid for two weeks – minding feedings, litter box activities, medications, and supervised “baths”.

Happily, it all worked out and Oliver is back to his old self. He was in the vet clinic for five days. The interesting by product was seeing how lost Bert was without him. We have always assumed that Bert puts up with Oliver, but he was very lonesome without his buddy. Everything is back to normal now, for both.

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Changfeng Park and Aquarium

November 15, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

One Saturday in October, our school hosted a staff day trip to Changfeng Park and Aquarium. It was an interesting experience.

green pond surrounded by trees

It is a beautiful park with lakes, ponds, trees, and lots of peaceful spots.

paddle boats on a lake

After everyone gathered for a group picture, we took a long walk around the park to the seal and beluga whale show.

two whales and two men swimming in a water arena

After that show, we walked all the way back to where we started to enter the aquarium which is literally under the lake.

aquarium tank with anemone and sea horse

The aquarium displays seemed to be very good, but the crushing crowd made it impossible to really enjoy the experience.

glass tunnel filled with people

It was the worst crowd experience we have had so far. It was especially fun to have the children pushing me from behind. If we go again, it will have to be on an off day like a rainy or extremely cold day, when other people don’t think to go to the park.

Click here to see the rest of the pictures.

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Shanghai Zoo

September 6, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

carved archway of the zoo depicting elephants

Last Sunday, we went to the zoo, despite the weather prediction of 60% chance of rain. Not one drop of rain, but it was a pleasant afternoon anyway.

a lizard

There were reptiles and snakes and fish. This fellow was quite a poser.

a pond with people in boats like bumper cars

There were several ponds. This one has bumper boats which looks like fun.

open lawn area and large deciduous trees

Large wide open green park areas. Notice how crowded the park is.

mother and baby chimpanzees

There were two baby chimpanzees as well as other young ones.

brown bear standing on hind legs

The brown bear was quite the beggar. He was talented at catching the food tossed to him before it hit the ground.

giant panda eating bamboo

And, of course, we saw the Giant Pandas.

DaddyBird had read some reviews online that said the zoo was depressing, but we do not agree. There is room for improvement – mostly the fault of visitors. There is too much garbage in the exhibits and park areas. There were coins in the alligator exhibit. I do not know if people think it is lucky somehow. The zoo certainly has plenty of space and room for additional exhibits. We didn’t see everything, so will probably go back and take anyone who visits us.

restaurant sign

We headed across the street to Dumpling King of North China for some very lovely dumplings.

bowl of 18 dumplings

 

We had leek and egg dumplings and pork dumplings. The menu was bilingual, so no surprises this time. Yummy and recommended if you are ever near the Shanghai Zoo.

As usual, there are more pictures – click here.

There is also a panda video – click here.

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Old Esfai

May 3, 2014

Posted by Kanga Please do not reblog.

On our way home from Dubai one day while it was still light out (which is rare for us), we took the Esfai turn off to see what there is to see.

light colored feral donkey

Feral donkeys are common in the mountains and usually travel in multiples of two. This one is unusually pale in color and seems to have a foal in the oven, so to speak.

dark brown feral donkey

I assume her traveling companion is the sire. They have had a bounteous year with the winter rains resulting in more grasses and bushes to eat.

ruins of a stone house

We briefly explored the remains of the old village. There are newer modern houses further up the valley, but these are more interesting to us. Many of the structures had double rock walls – large rocks on the outsides of the wall with gravel filling the gap between. Very strong, I should think.

rock wall made of two rows of large stones with smaller stones filling the gap between

Here’s a closer view, although the filler rocks in this one are larger than gravel.

large green bush

This bush is proof of the wet winter. It is about a meter high.

stone house ruins in the foreground, hills in the background

For all the pictures, click here.

If it seems odd to you that this would be in Ras Al Khaimah, that is because the emirates are not necessarily contiguous. RAK is actually in two large, but separate areas. This map shows the layout of the emirates fairly well. We drive through Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, and Sharjah to get to Dubai.

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Drive to Al Ain Zoo

January 12, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

Our road trip to the Al Ain Zoo started with a camel in the road in the Maleha area.

two SUVs stopped for a blonde camel in the road

He was honked off the road and sauntered off to find a tasty bush.

blonde camel on side of the road

Then on to the Al Ain Zoo. We arrived just as everyone else was leaving. The zoo is open until 8 pm, but the sun goes down around 6:45 pm these days. We had about an hour of light left. Hyenas are scary in the daylight and even worse in the dark.

flamingoes

The zoo is quite nice and has good exhibit facilities.

oryx and gazelles

Above are oryx and gazelles. These are native animals. The oryx was hunted to the edge of extinction, but breeding programs are bringing them back.

white tiger

Unless you like massive crowds of people, it would be best to go late in the day, like we did, or on a week day not during school breaks, although you might still have to deal with school field trip students. In other words, prepare for a crowd experience.