Poo at the zoo

Subtitled:  The End

So I went to the zoo. It is also a botanical garden and is set on a hill. There is a train station right outside the gate, very convenient. And the entrance fee is only a couple of dollars U.S. Quite the bargain. I noticed there was a sign (in English) by the maps that stated you could request a map in either English or Japanese. Why they aren’t in the rack is beyond me. Anyway, so I asked in Mandarin for an English-language map, since I do happen to know the word for “map” (地圖). Continue reading

I yam what I yam

So I noticed there was a vegetarian restaurant right by the train station.  It looked good, but I went and checked out a couple of other places before going in.  When I did finally enter, the guy greeted me with, “I saw you hanging around out there and wondered when you were coming in.”

Me:  Dude.  You lived in the United States, didn’t you?

He had indeed.  Continue reading

Science Education Center

Here I am at the massive Science Education Center.  It cost a measly $4 U.S. to get in.  I could spend all day there (but I didn’t, because I was hungry and didn’t want to eat at the food court).


First I visited an exhibit about genetics and DNA.  Fortunately the exhibit was in both English and Chinese.  Otherwise I never would have learned the word for DNA in Chinese.  It is apparently 脫氧核糖核酸, in case you ever want to drop it into conversation. Continue reading



Because of course you need to know what I ate.  Up top on the left is just a regular old Fuji apple.  The bottom is a 蓮霧 (wax apple), and to the right is the star fruit.  This is the first time I’ve ever eaten the wax apple.

Here’s another photograph of the wax apple:


Night market

The night markets here are great, especially if you are hungry.  I was hungry.  Imagine dozens of booths of delicious foodstuffs, plus everything else you might imagine.  I passed one that seemed to be mostly car parts, as far as I could tell.


I didn’t buy any car parts.  I did buy some of these.  They are some kind of crumbly bread thing with a thin layer of apple-tasting innards.  Much harder/crisper than you might expect.  When you bite into them, delicious crumbs explode everywhere.  Obviously, best eaten outside.


Lots of people in the park in the early morning.  Many groups of older people doing tai chi and exercising (one group appears to favor the Bee Gees).  Although the temperature and the humidity are quite high, runners are mostly wearing long pants and jackets.  No pictures of any people, sorry.  I don’t usually photograph folks except at a great distance.  Once I got followed around in China by an ardent photographer of the American variety.  The stinkeye didn’t work on him.  Somewhere there’s an album with pictures of me labeled “native Chinese in natural habitat.”


Should have studied harder

So I went to the train station and was pleasantly surprised to see multiple language options for the transit maps.  Then I looked a little closer and saw that I could choose between Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.  I took Chinese, Japanese and Spanish, figuring that I could puzzle it out from all three.  They are all a little different.  The Chinese map is the most helpful, with a large fold-out that includes a street map.  The Japanese map appears to be outdated and there are a few train stations missing.  (!) Continue reading

Here I am

This flower fell and hit me on the head.  Hard to tell scale from the picture, but it is really big, maybe 7-8″ long.  There are a bunch of these trees all throughout the city.  The trees are very big as well.  Here’s a bad picture of one.


Gone fishing.

My posts are going to be sporadic for a while, as I am dealing with multiple emergencies.  These folks are in bad shape.  One is in a nursing home and the other is in the hospital.  It is clear neither will be able to live independently again.  I’ve been trying to keep a handle on their bills.  Their apartment has to be cleaned out.  And I think I might have some difficulty establishing myself as guardian for them.  Somebody who is never around took them a couple of years ago to get power of attorney and wills.  I found out why so many old people get scammed.  Because you can make them sign anything.

I have to explain terrible, heart-wrenching things in a language that no longer comes to my tongue.  Because one will be leaving the other soon.  Because they will never again share a home or a bed.

At the nursing home and at the hospital, they keep asking me where is the rest of the family.  They all know my name.  They’ve all heard about me.  They ask Isn’t there anybody else?

Lazy blogger

The food poisoning edition.

Dharun Ravi found guilty on all 15 counts, including some of the “bias intimidation” charges:   I thought this guy was a fool to turn down a plea deal that included no jail time.  He’s just the kind of brown the majority wants to hate:  cocky, smart and wealthy.  Plus he’s not a citizen.

I’m not sure I understand the distinctions in the bias intimidation charges, although I listened to the jury verdict.  It seems to hinge on intent.   Sounds like the jury did not believe Ravi intended to intimidate Clementi or M.B., but Clementi reasonably felt he was being intimidated because of sexual orientation.

Whatever.  This wasn’t just some college prank.  And I wish I could feel sorry for the guy, but somehow I just can’t.

Lost his family at 5, reconnects through Google:   So this five-year-old accidentally rode a train hundreds of miles away from his home village, got lost and ended up in orphanage.  Then he got adopted by Tasmanians.  He continued to search for his village and family by scanning Google Earth for something that looked familiar.  Twenty-five years later, he reunited.

The Chicago Tribune featured the stories of several adopted persons who were able to request their original birth certificates under the recently-changed law.  The most heartbreaking?  Tom McGregor found his read “does not desire name on certificate” on the line where his mother’s name should have been.

Their son went missing in 2004.  Is the boy now in Child Protective Services their Miguel?  They took DNA tests to ascertain parentage, but the mom has been told that the reunion could take months.

More than a year ago, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled this adoption case had to go back to trial.  Meanwhile, Encarnacion Bail Romero has not been able to see her little boy.  I’ve got more to say about this.  None of it is good.

He just wanted some skittles and a bottle of iced tea.  Now 17-year-old Trayvon Martin is dead.  Okay, I know Florida has a “stand your ground” law.  But the killer got out of his car to confront Martin, who was walking home from a convenience store with his treats.   The killer hasn’t even been charged yet.  And his father says he’s “Hispanic” plus has loads of black friends.  Uh huh.

And finally, our Filthy Brute Award of the Month goes to Shakesville denizen Deeky.  #MOR<34U