Archive for May, 2009

Senseless slaughter

We come across unusual sights here, many times dealing with different standards of animal treatment.  We will never forget the little stray bird being kept on a leash by the toddler at our favorite noodle shop, nor the boiling vat of water with chicken feet sticking out above the rolling water.

A few days ago Liz walked by our local vegetable/edible animal market, only to be nauseated at the sight of scores of bullfrogs being slaughtered by hand.  Blood was running over the sidewalk, but no one seemed to mind.  People like their food fresh!

Today on my walk down the nearby street known to us local foreigners as ‘bird flu alley,’ an animal peddler was hawking ducks, eels, and a few other kinds of animals for sale.  I arrived as he was skinning a pair of small birds, one halfway finished, the other with its head pinned underneath the man’s sandal.  The operation was carried out with a small pair of scissors over a black tarp to catch most of the entrails.

I was interested to see an animal skinned, as my previous city life relegated my experience of animal flesh to the meat section at Kroger’s.  This little bird had already lost its main appendages, feet, tail, and most of its skin.  As the flaying continued I marveled at the deft experience of the farmer’s hands, reducing an animal to its edible parts.  And then he finished with a last *snip* – and there went the head.

What??  The poor bird had been alive during that whole painful flaying!  I too couldn’t suppress some nausea, and left quickly before the bird’s unlucky partner began his turn.  I couldn’t help but wonder if the live flaying of animals is simply a cultural difference here, but I have to wonder if this incident weren’t a little extreme.  There’s no sense in animal cruelty- what a way to die, having one’s body dismantled while still living to experience it!

Further food for thought as we continue learning about our new home here in Nanjing.

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Losing our bearings

Living in a country with a completely different set of national holidays throws off our calendar sense for the USA.  Only at the end of Monday here did we realize it was Memorial Day- the whole weekend passed here without a single clue that America was celebrating a major national holiday. 

What’s more pressing on our minds is Dragon Boat Festival next weekend. It will be our chance over here for a three day weekend!

Posting by email

Well, we may have figured out a way to bypass the ‘Great Firewall’ for good.  WordPress recently added a way to send blog posts by email, and this is the result!  No more cumbersome proxies. Just a simple email away from updating you with our experiences, and the best part is the pictures come through too!

So, here’s newfound hope that communication will continue unabated into our next year here in Nanjing!

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Finally!

Sorry for the dry spell in our postings. We have been rather busy with things lately, moving house, finding work, and finishing classes. But to top things off, Internet connections have seemed to become more strictly monitored. It is getting harder and harder to access blogs; even the list of working proxy sites has been shrinking. It took about an hour before I found one that worked well enough to make this post. So please keep checking our site- we still continue to have the most interesting experience here in China!

Happy Labor Day!

Here in China, today is labor day – a national holiday. We celebrated the day off by joining all other parents with small children at the local zoo. A large percentage of China’s 1 billion people seemed to be at the zoo with us. Luckily, we are fairly accustomed to the crowds at this point.

To add to the excitement, the zoo has 3 new pandas, and no animal is more exciting to the Chinese than a fat and happy panda. The pandas didn’t disappoint. JM even got interviewed by a reporter for a news article. This is not the first time this has happened, since he is tall and white and very easy to spot in a crowd here (lucky for me, as crowds are common – I haven’t lost him yet).

Leo seemed most interested in the tigers, he even ventured a tentative, “Meow?” in their direction.

We ended the day by celebrating the fact that we officially found a new apartment for next year. The best part is that it’s on the 3rd floor (instead of the 7th) and that means there are only 36 steps to hike up, instead of 96 – yay!