Archives for posts with tag: wild animals

Up, up, up at normal time and 45 minutes of yoga – today it is mostly standing and balance poses with a good measure of hamstring stretches thrown in, might as well, as long as I’m in the exercise clothes and all.

Stretches feel amazing after all those stairs yesterday, thankfully, I’m not sore.

Looks like another rainy, grey, overcast sort of day out there. No matter, you think I’m going to let a little thing like the weather get in my way, man, I’m in Hong Kong! Bring it on!

If Hong Kong had a monsoon today I would put on my rain gear and go play in the puddles.

And tell you all about it.

Pack up the ole’ netbook as I realize I haven’t any writing in coffee shops – today, I could become a “coffee shop writer”, doesn’t that sound awesome?

I even know where there is a coffee shop that noted “WiFi” on a sign, it is just down the street from my hotel.

Ah! Here we go, today is ginseng and honey tea with some kind of chicken sandwich – yep, mostly protein and carbs, some greens, but enough to make anyone happy.

And I’m ready, ready, ready.

Oops. When they say “WiFi Available” what they mean is “you bring your own WiFi and we won’t object to you bringing your computers in here and doing all that stuff you do as long as you buy something”.

And there it is: culture clash.

Finish off breakfast and take another walkabout.

Now, I know my way it will be a breeze getting back to the hotel and checking out on time.

So I take a walk, see things from the perspective of early morning on a Sunday. Man, there are a lot of tourists around this place, looking at things, looking at maps, getting lost, getting found. It’s all good, they support the local economy and all that stuff, so I smile, nod and say “Welcome!” telepathically.

Yes, I know I don’t have telepathy.

Yes, I realize I don’t live here.

Still.

After a two and half hour walk-around – Hong Kong is doing fine this Sunday morning, everything passed bexspection, thank you – it’s back to the hotel to chill out before checking out.

I stretch out on the bed, listen to the sounds of the city rising up through the window and breath deeply. Hong Kong.

From check out, it is into a cab and check in to the next hotel – the cost and free WiFi was too alluring to pass up.

No, it isn’t as nice as the first place.

No, it isn’t anywhere near the same area.

Yes, this does mean I will get lost again. Thank you for reminding me.

Up, down, hairpin turns, dips, skids, bumps, twists, up, down, up, up, up! And suddenly – hotel.

I’m thankful, ‘cuz I was just about to reach for my dimenhydrinate.

Yes, I do keep some nearby at all times. If you knew people who get sick on merry-go-rounds you would too.

No, so far, I haven’t been motion sick at all. This cab ride was close.

The hotel isn’t far away from the other hotel, but seems like a long way – it is the elevation gain, I’m sure.

I discovered about those super tall buildings! Maybe they are “normal-sized” buildings, but as Hong Kong is built on the side of a mountain, they all start at different elevations – some at lower elevations, some at higher elevations. See what you learn when you use the powers of observations.

You know, even taking this into account, some of these buildings still seem pretty tall to me. I can’t be that small, can I?

Check-in is a breeze yay! And treat myself to a couple of hours of catching up on emails, Facebook (seriously, now I have to “catch-up on this? I think I’ve made a grave error with this, still nice to be in touch…), replying to comments and reading and commenting on blogs.

Yes, I know I’m in Hong Kong and still reading and commenting on blogs. This is just how I roll, ok?

Find an email send last night by my “tour guide” from yesterday inviting me along on a tour. Stupid, stupid me, should have checked email sooner, missed out on a great opportunity.

Email back and cross my fingers, give it two hours to hear a reply.

Oh, two and half hours.

They pass as I upload, read and comment.

Then, it is time to go back into the world.

After printing out the etickets for the flights that is – gotta make sure my plans are actually, you know, planning the way they are supposed to.

Business Centre – I do a bit of on the fly trouble shooting for the person trying to help me do these print outs – when it asks for login information, you better provide login information. We both learn something new – him, you need login information, me, everywhere in the world people have the same issues with computers.

They have the same issues with elevators are well. Did I tell you the amount of people who got on the elevator when it was going the wrong way? Seriously, I keep telling people which way the elevator is going and they keep pressing the buttons as it that is going to change it.

No, it isn’t a language thing, I told two people who were speaking English and they were still dumb about it.

Yes, I run into this sort of thing all the time in TO too.

Yes, there is an easy solution.

Look at the arrows, people! That is what they are there for.

Yes, sometimes I get confused too. When this happens I make like I’m sightseeing and say “Wow! Is this what the basement looks like, I’m going to have to come back here! And now, back to my room on the 20th floor!”.

No, I’m sure no one finds that funny.

Ok, now I have my print outs, so I’m ready for the next part.

But, I’m not done with you yet, Hong Kong.

Back out into the world and I’m going to see if I can get back down to the piers, I’m in a mood to do some serious boat-watching.

Yes, I know you would rather shop.

No, I’m not shopping “for you”.

Look, my Adventure, my way.

I mean, if that is alright with you.

Go out the door, turn left, walk, walk, walk, jay-walk (if you don’t do a little jay-walking in Hong Kong, you will be stuck in one place the rest of your life, I still hate it), walk, walk, walk – hey!

I find another playground. They are everywhere!

Which is pretty cool.

Down some stairs, right turn, up a few stairs, cross another street, a left, a left and –

Bird sanctuary?

What is this doing here?

Hmm. Interesting.

And really, really mellow.

Families hanging out, looking at birds, walking through the tranquil, park. There is a herb garden just over there and –

Oops. I’m not in a bird sanctuary. I’m in a zoo.

Drat. Double drat.

The birds look happy, but I give the mammals a pass. I’ve never seen happy mammals in cages and even though Hong Kong is a great place, I can’t imagine they would be happy in cages here either.

So, me = exit stage left.

Yes, I realize I’m not on stage, it is just an expression, ok?

Go down some stairs.

Down, down, down.

Try not to think too hard about the fact that at some point, I’m going to have to go back up…

Down, down, down, there goes my old street, past the shop I’m had breakfast at, down, down, down.

I am a torrential down pour, I am running water, skipping, falling down the stairs in a spontaneous, urban waterfall, I gush forth into the streets of Hong Kong.

I pour pity on those tourists who are looking at maps and it feels like home.

I drip into the streets and find my way almost immediately to –

What?

What?!

What is going on here? People with noise makers, shouting, yelling, words of support, look down.

Hey! It is the Hong Kong Marathon! Or something, on the street below there are people running. Like they are in a Marathon or something. Cool.

Had I known there was a marathon happening today I would have…done everything exactly the same way…hmm.

After snapping a few pics (look, I promise at some point to upload everything, ok?) I’m off, walking along the catwalk, the pedestrian bridges.

And something is going on here.

People, mostly women are building these little cities and houses using cardboard boxes. I think there is going to be a protest later. They don’t look angry or upset or anything. They look pretty content and really, really well-prepared.

No idea what is up with that.

Take some turns and ups and downs and I guess all this walking is using a lot of energy, so grab a snack and look for somewhere to eat.

Panic. Somehow I’ve managed to wander into the most crowded, most chaotic shopping scene ever. People yelling, talking, shouting, carrying tons of bags, bumping into me, the concept of personal space is lost, lost!

Blood pressure rises, heart rate is furious – thumpthumpthumpthump – fear floods my mouth and all I can smell is peoplepeoplepeople, humanity.

Ok, I can do this.

Take a right and find myself on an escalator going up, up, up. Less crowded here, but still loud and my ears are tingling. If one more person bumps into me…

Blank out, I’ve either passed out cold or – nope! It is all good, the survival instincts kick in and navigate as a hot knife through butter to get out and away from the throng.

Yes, I realize I just used a boring cliché to describe my escape.

I would have said “like a hot knife through a Baked Alaska” but I wasn’t sure if you’ve ever had one. And the last time my mum made one, the knife wasn’t hot enough, so it kind of got stuck.

Look, you and I both know what I mean here, so lets just leave it at that, I mean, sorry about the cliché and all.

Where I am?

Yes, I know, Hong Kong, I mean in what I’m trying to tell you.

Yes. I’m away from the crowd and I’m lost. Again. I haven’t been here before.

I re-commit to it, pass a fountain, pass the Post Office and it looks like I’m just a little late to go to the Stamp Museum –

Yes, I like stamps. Get over it ok? They are tiny pieces of art. That you can lick.

Yes, I realize I just endorsed licking art. You want to make something of it?

That is what I thought.

Then I find –

You know what I find? The place I can get a ticket to take the “Big Bus Tour of Hong Kong”! What a totally touristy thing to do! Here I was looking for a place to sit and eat my snack and then, here it is, I can eat my snack, while I sit on the bus!

Talk to the super-nice ticket seller and purchase my ticket for the very next tour, in 16 minutes, how is that for timing?

On the bus, I get a bottle of water and earphones to hear the commentary.

I chose a seat on the open, top-level, ‘cuz, well, why not? Not in the front seats, that would be silly. And cold. But just behind the stairs a couple of seats back.

A lady sits right in front of me and as she is taller than me (like that is some great accomplishment), I figure turn about it fair play, I change seat and sit right behind the door, right in front of her.

No, I don’t like playing that way, but sometimes people need to be taught a few things, you know.

No, it probably isn’t my responsibility to teach them.

But, seeing through things, including people, is not a super power I possess. And man, I paid for this tour, you know.

I think I tick her off ‘cuz she moves and sits with her friends. Which is where she should have sat in the first place, right? They are your friends, lady, you sit with them, be social, enjoy the ride.

They are also seated behind my original seat, so that would have avoided this whole seat-drama thing.

I’m on a roller-coaster ride!

Whoosh! Up, down, up, up, up – swwwwoooooop! Hairpin turns, bumps, bunny hills, spins, twirls.

I think I know where the idea for roller-coasters came from – the streets of Hong Kong.

So much to see, so much to smell, so much to hear –

Wait a minute! My commentary isn’t working. I try the one next to it and behind. Nope, not working in English. Instead, I enjoy the views and ignore that there may be any kind of cultural or historical significance.

Sorry, if you are looking to learn something about Hong Kong, I can’t help you.

My snack was pretty tasty though – a turkey stuffed brioche. Which seems wrong in concept, but tasty in execution.

An hour and half later and we are done, done, done.

Off the bus, time to…well, time to eat.

I guess all these stairs are eating up my precious calories and fat. Still a bit concerned about the rate I’m shrinking, those trousers that were tight when I got them are looser now.

Up side: those trousers I bought tight are looser now.

I start the walk.

Up the stairs.

Turn right.

Up stairs.

Go straight, up a slope.

(Did you know each slope in Hong Kong is “registered”, seriously, they each have their own registration number. With the Slope Department. I kid you not.)

And, I’m not to make it –

These stairs are going to be the death –

Hang on! Dinner time. I see a place that has a “local” feel and they have duck on the menu.

Stop, eat – roast duck with noodles and bok choi. Yum-yum.

I think the staff can’t figure out what I’m doing – I’m eating dinner! – but, I’ve chosen well, very well. Locals are in and out and this is a super-popular , super-cheap place. Oh, yum.

Once finished, it is back – up the stairs.

Then, just when I’m about to pack it in –

?

?!

??!!

They have an escalator?

They have an escalator in the middle of the city that goes to the “mid-levels”. My hotel is in the “mid-levels”

I hop one.

If we lived in Hong Kong and I lived in the lower levels and you lived in the mid-levels and you invited me to tea, I could hop on and take an escalator to come see you!

Yes, I realize I just invited myself to tea to your imaginary home in Hong Kong.

Yes, some people are pretty rude.

Yes, I am one of those people.

Up the escalator, up the escalator.

I’m going to ride this thing to the end! I will take an escalator to the top of Hong Kong and look down on all the people!

The escalator ends.

I guess they don’t go to the top.

So.

Where I am?

Where is my hotel?

Hmmm. I think, I think it is up there.

More stairs and these ones are nearly the end of me. Legs saying “What on earth – stop that!” and thighs screaming “Nonononononononooooo!”

I’m totally lost and it is dark and the path I’m on just ends no where.

Ok.

I’m not going to panic.

Walk back along the path and down the last set of stairs. Hail a cab and pray that I will be understood.

Lucky me. Cab driver speaks perfect English and knows my hotel, no matter that I’ve given the wrong street number.

We are there in no time.

Cheap too.

And you know how much I like cheap.

I’m home safe.

Wow.

Hong Kong, what a day, what a city, what a day.

It is true. I love Hong Kong.

An escalator in the middle of a city – someone was thinking!

Did I tell you what those people building the cardboard cities were doing? Can you guess? Sunday is shopping day in Hong Kong – some of them shopped, some of them set up “home base” and once done, they all gathered and played cards, had tea, something to eat, played bingo, I thought people knew how to shop in North America, we don’t know nothin’.

Yes, I would even hate shopping like this. Sorry, that is how I roll…

 

 

 

Ack! Woke up to a winter wonderland – snow everywhere. Streets un-plowed, car under a pile and driveway pure white. With some animal tracks – ooh! coolest thing about winter – you can see where the wild animals have visited! Hello wild animals!

Why are you guys investigating my car? If you want to drive it somewhere, let me know – I’m sure we can arrange something.

Treated myself to a lie-in, week-end, so up at 7am – still wasn’t going to be enough. I had to dig to get out.

Quickie email to climbing partner – lets push back climbing until I get out. No worries! Climbing parter partied last night until the wee hours of the morn, while she sleeps off her party-time, I apply myself to the great winter sport of shoveling.

One hour. Swept the walk twice. Cleared the car 3 times. Plows are late on week-end! What about those of us who, you know, do things on the week-end. There are things to climb, people! Things to climb!

Trains are on-time, surprisingly, manage too, to avoid getting hit by that crazy person driving the pick-up truck. Dude, the streets haven’t been plowed yet, slow down, it is slippy out there. Truck totally ran the red light ‘cuz he couldn’t stop. Bad truck driver!

Parking lot is un-plowed too.

No book this morning – so caught up on one of the free papers. Interview with Christopher Plummer.

Of course I had to read.

Yeah, I still have a bit of crush on him. *sigh*

And how did I manage to miss the Oprah show with the cast of Sound of Music being reunited? Seriously, what was I doing that day?

Yeah, I read the book – and yes, the real story was nothing like the movie. You know, I saw their home in Stowe, Vermont years and years ago. It was the treat that mum surprised me with when we on vacation there. In the summer. Go figure.

After shoveling, climbing was hard. And painful. Made it up a 5.10-, on my favourite wall – plenty of interesting footwork and intelligent moves. I love that wall, it always features plenty of travelling from side to side as well as up. The start is usually pretty cool, the route features an archway where people enter the main gym, so you often start on one side and have to climb through the arch or else start on the other side, grab the other side and then climb through the arch as you ascend. Great test of strength, flexibility and intelligence. I love that wall.

(I don’t think I explained the moves very well. It is like entering a door, only climbing through it rather than walking through it. You can go through side-ways or through the top of the arch. Or you can grab around it with your hands and feet on both sides. My fav moves involve starting on the back-side and climbing through the arch to grab holds blindly on the front-side.)

Really happy to be doing 5.10-s again, even though it really hurts!

Total failure on the next climb – 5.9. I couldn’t even reach the first hold. Most of my tries I couldn’t even let go and reach for it. My climbing partner pities me and says “At least reach for the hold, then you can stop.”

I one-hand my next attempt on the two-hand hold and stretch left arm in the general direction of the hold. I think I’m wrong footed. And wrong brained – my body does not go where I wanted – it wanted to stay on the ground. I laugh uproariously and my climbing partner shakes her head and laughs with me. Lucky me, the other climbers don’t mind that I’m an idiot about these things – at this point I think it is probably pretty obvious that I’m still having “fear of heights” issues. A few look over and smile at me and laugh a bit too.

She lets me off the rope. Beginning to feel the shoveling.

We get in two more – 5.8 and 5.9. They go ok for me. The 5.8 I try for fast and furious, swing like a monkey! – to make up for the total failure of the climb before – and save some energy. 5.9 – I do perfectly. Start with the left foot for a left-hand hold and I’m up quickly and gracefully. Feels good.

Even better ‘cuz my climbing partner promised that after I made it up we could go for lunch!

Sushi, miso soup and tea is lunch. We haven’t been in…man, almost two months. Two months away from our fav sushi place. There outta be a law…Lucky, lucky us! We haven’t been forgotten!! We get comp-ed an order of edamame – I have to eat more than half, my climbing partner’s fingers are sore…oh well, I know my responsibilities.

Miso hits the spot – warms me up and relaxes everything. I’m willing to shovel if someone brings me miso soup at the end of it.

Back home, change clothes and do laundry. Hmm, lovely, everything nice and clean and warm. Is there anything better than clean sheets and clean PJs?

Goal to get up early in the am and do some chores that couldn’t bring myself to tackle today – water plants, dishes etc etc.

Going down the stairs earlier – smell the fireplace. Waves of warm-ness from winters passed perk up the body and the brain.

Haha – eyelids growing heavy, time for bed…

Morning = rough start. Cleaning was on the agenda, but got totally side-tracked. Michael Enright has a show about Euthanasia with a very interesting panel. Comment that caught my attention was about compassion and about how the issue is less about us having a right to a “good death” or being legally permitted to choose how we die and more about the compassion we extend to others who are suffering, in pain and dying.

Riveted by the different points of view and the thoughtfulness of the panelists.

Didn’t help me at all get any closer to the answer, about what we should do, about what the law should be. As always, raised more questions in my brain.

Sometimes, most times, I just wish to be a more intelligent person, filled with more compassion, with an ability to love more to have these answers. Unfortunately, these are my personal limits.

I should be more compassionate.

Compassion definition, from www.dictionary.com:

“compassion

–noun

1. a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

–verb (used with object)

2. Archaic . to compassionate.”

It sounds a little painful, but I’m willing.

I think that as my heart grows, as I become happier that I will also become sadder as well, it is like the heart needs to go as deep down as it goes up. Depth of sorrow for heights of happiness?

Phone rang – suddenly I found myself with a challenge. Friend of mine (hello! yes, look I’m writing about you!) told me about a party she found herself at last night and holding an elephant bag.

(I note that what I heard was “Elephant Bag.” I thought the design of the bag was called “Elephant” – I imagine a baggy, slouchy kind of bag in light grey, a little tough, wearable, rugged, with a bit of distressed/worn finish. I am dumb.)

My friend clarified – it was made of elephant hide.

I need a moment.

*deep breath*

Ok.

The material the bag is made of is elephant hide, like elephant skin.

I really thought that Canada had laws against the import of elephant hide, elephant tusk (AKA ivory) for sure (?), but hide? Who knows?

So, she asked me to do some research for her, find out if elephant hide is legal in Canada and what is the moral stance on this. And share it with her. I accepted and told her I would write about it, here.

Morally, I’m no use. I can barely get my brain around the basics.

So, legality.

Unfortunately, for me, a quick search of this issue lead me to sites endorsing the hunt of large game (read: big, wild animals) and taxidermy. I will not give links to these sites as I do not wish to be seen as endorsing the hunt of animals as trophies. I clarify: I do not endorse the killing of animals for the purposes of trophies.

It looks like, from what I found, that elephant hide import to Canada is a-ok.

And that makes me feel…disappointed. And a little sad. And hoping that someone can tell me I’m wrong.

Tell me I’m wrong.

Perhaps it is because I feel in love with three elephants?

First love – Babar. Green suit, wisdom, manners and deportment me = growing-up to marry Babar. We would rule the elephants together. I would be the perfect step-mom to his children – Alexander, Flora and Pom. It was destiny. I would become an elephant.

Note: this was after I thought I would become a cat but before I decided I would marry Kermit the Frog instead – sure Babar was royalty, but Kermit was in show biz!

Additional note: Probably explains some of my relationships-gone wrong, how can anyone compete with a green-suit-wearing-King-of-the- Elephants?

Then I discovered Jumbo. Wow! A real elephant of wild imaginings. Jumbo died long before I was around, but wow! Imagine a mammal that big! Wild animals indeed. And we created a new word just for him – how sexy is that!

Of course, the last elephant is Dumbo. How cute! How could I not fall in love with that?

I fail at this challenge.

What I can say is this – just because something is legal, does not make is moral. Just because something is legal and economically acceptable does not mean that you have to be ok with it.

Yes, when we are unsure about things we should ask questions. If we find behaviours and actions questionable, we should ask, regardless of who it offends. We need to challenge things outside of our comfort zone.

Just because I found no evidence that Canada is not-ok with elephant hide, doesn’t mean personally that I am ok with it. Having loved elephants and having wanted to become an elephant I am not ok with it.

I think these questions – how we treat other animals, other beings on this earth, in this universe, how we define “beings” and “humans” and “animals” is important.

I wish I was smarter for you, more intelligent, so I could prove that this was morally bad or at least “not good”, that elephants and all animals deserve special consideration in our actions and behaviours.

I’m not.

I’m sorry, I’m not.

Rough start to the morning.

Up-side: Yoga was really good. It is changing me. My deep tissues are changing. My heart is changing.

Sometimes I feel like I’m becoming something else. A cat. A frog. A plough. A crescent moon.

Today I am becoming an elephant.

Sometimes the things that are most salient bubble up through the thoughts aft.

Playing music yesterday, post-book, could I feel my brain chemistry changing?  Could I feel those chemical going “pop, pop, sizzle” in my brain, between my neurons and synapses? Did they feel like dancing?  Did I want to raise my voice in song?

Yes.

Yes. I did.

I don’t know if is possible, but playing music, it felt like…well, like the world is filled with possibilities.  And there I was, right in the middle.

Is this extasis?

The book made me feel ok about not liking the first “Lord of the Rings movie.  I commented to a friend about them once that there wasn’t enough music in it, in the book they are always singing and walking or singing and sitting around the fire or listening someone else sing etc.  She said to me that if they put all the songs in the movie would be a musical – “Exactly.”

Musicals sometimes have a bad rep, but I love them. Some people hate them ‘cuz “people don’t go around bursting out into song at every little thing”.

Of course they do!

I feel like I’ve made my life back into a musical.

Bring on the jazz hands!

In other news, a white Siberian tiger killed it’s owner, during feeding time.

I’m not sure what to think about this. Cougars are hunting down people in the wild and others are keeping tigers as pets.  I mean, sometimes my house cat was a little wild and aggressive when I fed her or kept her ball of yarn away from her or wanted to do something other than sit around and pet her.

They are wild animals, man, wild animals.

Is it possible to be too happy?

Many people I met tell me how nice I am or how pleasant or how cheerful or how much fun to talk to or how lovely my smile is or how they do see people smile like that all the time.

So, I wonder, I am too happy when I met people and talk to them?

I hope that we can be as happy as our hearts can take before they break.  I hope that no one limits our happiness or tells us that there is such a thing as being “too happy”.

The stupidest thing I did today was go outside with a colleague, without a coat, hat, scarf, mitts, fleece, in little silky top with short sleeves to show my colleague that I was having problems with a parking code.  It was about minus 10, but a wet minus ten.  We thought it might be the machine, so we went to another one, just to be sure.  It wasn’t the machines!  It was the code!

No worries, I think I’m almost thawed.

Home late tonight, I’ve been learning things.  A little knowledge is a dangerous thing and it can make you late for dinner too.