Sunday, July 31, 2011

MONKEY BEACH in Thailand

There's a place in Thailand called Phi Phi Island. It's actually pronounced "Pee-Pee Island," believe it or not. We went on a boat ride to Phi Phi Island and got to visit Monkey Beach along the way.
These monkeys weren't tame and would steal sunglasses, hats, earrings and cellphones and whatever they could grab and run with.
Monkeys were darting around and yanking food out of our hands too. It seems extra bad for a monkey to drink Coke since they probably aren't gonna be brushing their teeth afterwards.
This was a cliff right on the edge of Monkey Beach.

In this picture I appear calm but was very horrified by these tiny monkeys. Who knows what kinds of weird monkey diseases they carried.
I had to beg Mei to stand by the monkeys. She was scared of them too. I told her it was safe, but I didn't really know if it was or not.
We both made it out of there unbitten so I guess it was safe after all. Next time maybe I'll be more brave and approach a monkey. Maybe I'll even touch one. Or not.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

ASIAN FRUIT : The Good, the Bad and the Disgustingly Hideous

This is probably the greatest and most delicious food discovery I've made in all my adult years. This fruit is called "Hong Mao Dan" which translates into Red Hair Egg.

I find them in Chinese groceries once in a blue moon, but they're never as big as these I found in Thailand.

The skin breaks off pretty easily, like peeling an orange. You don't eat that part.

Inside is something which is about the size, shape and texture of an eyeball. Mmmm.... eyes...

It's very sweet and slightly tart, somewhere in the range of strawberry tartness. There's a seed inside. You'll wanna spit that part out. I've been told by my grandpa if I swallow apple seeds an apple tree will start growing out of my belly button. I don't want to chance that! Anyway, these are pretty delicious. I could eat them all day long.

Even though they sell the delicious Hong Mao Dan in Thailand, it is also possible to buy...... (shudder).... THIS!........

DURIAN!!!! (wretch!) Just look at it's prickly evilness!

Look at all of them laying there, like rotting, (gag!) stinking dead animals... (choke!)

I defy anyone to tell me there's a worse smelling fruit in all the universe. Even if there was a fruit called "Granny Smith bung apples flavored with infected pig feces" it couldn't top this. I can smell these things blocks away. When I walk, I mean RUN, past them and I'm blocks away I can still smell them in my clothes. The smell is like a mixture of rotting animal, spoiled and rancid sour fruit, poisonous hair permanent solution, Satan's fart after he ate something he was allergic to, and just some general extra rot thrown in on the side.
Mei and I got some popsicles on a hot day. I got cherry-flavored and she got durian-flavored. I'm not kidding I could not each my popsicle  because I kept smelling durian odor coming off her popsicle. I walked a considerable distance away from her and could still smell it every time I tried to take a bite of my cherry popsicle. Even if you try to man-up and brave something like that it just can not be done. I felt like a failure but I eventually flung my popsicle into the trash, and accepted the fact that I was just going to have to be parched.


These were pretty nifty. These Chinese characters are grown into the skins of the apples. I wonder if they put stickers on the apples, and the apples tanned in the sun, and then the stickers were removed leaving tan lines.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

VLAD THE IMPALA

Wakka wakka!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

UNUSUAL CHINESE STUFF I SAW

I saw these all over China. They were small plastic boxes located in every nook and cranny, every where I went, even on little boats. At first when I saw one I thought it was some kind of funny joke product like you'd find in Spencers: a man in a business suit, in a clenched-fist action pose, with either a robot mask or space helmet. But it wasn't that! It was real!

Inside is a fire escape hood. These were in all the apartment complexes too, located where you'd normally find fire extinguishers. The odd thing was I never saw any fire extinguishers. They never had enough of these though. If there really was a fire only a small percentage of the people would be able to get out alive.

These were popular too. Kung Fu restaurants with Bruce Lee as the mascot. Sadly I didn't get to eat at one. Maybe next time.

See the girl in the white t-shirt in the lower right? What's her shirt say?

Here's another angle. I suspect she doesn't know what it says. Mei says Chinese people like English lettering the way we like Chinese characters. Sometimes Mei will whisper to me when she sees an American with a Chinese character tattoo. She will tell me the meaning and I'm sure the person with the tattoo doesn't know that's what it says. One time it said "smell" and another time it said "hooker." Mei said sometimes it takes a second character to clarify the meaning. Some characters are used for a variety of meanings. It looked cool though in spite of the actual meaning.

Friday, July 15, 2011

FAT DOG, LITTLE DOG

These are my brother-in-law's dogs. We got to see them when we visited him in China last month. These dogs were seriously funny to watch.
They were relentlessly bothered and tormented by us, and they didn't care. They just laid there like stuffed animals.
I know this fat one is a pug but I'm not sure what the little one is.
The fat one could stand up for about a minute, and then he'd slam himself back down onto the floor as if he'd been over exerted.
Look at how lazy they are in this video. Both of them are basically lumps of immobile meat.
video
I want to know what kind of dog this is. They called it a "bear dog". Is it a Pomeranian? I guess not because they said the parents of this dog were only 5 pounds each. He's reeeeeally light. It felt like a puffball with nothing inside when I picked him up.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

ALLIGATORS AT THE GUANGZHOU ZOO IN CHINA

I remember "Yikes" being the first word that came to my mind as I entered the alligator section of the zoo in GuangZhou China. It was just a narrow bridge maybe about four feet above the water.
There was a waist-high railing on the bridge to keep short people from falling into the alligator water, but it only served as something for me to trip over and land in the water more splashy and noticeably.
Everywhere I looked in the small lake was swarming with alligators exactly as dense as you see them in this picture.
Some just stood there and stared as us with their mouths open.
Even though some appeared to be asleep, they weren't. They would snap into a violent frenzy at the slightest motion around them. Any ripple in the water could be possible food and they had to fight the others off to get to it.
This one is just waiting for some kid to fall over the railing. The others are waiting too, but are trying not to be so obvious about it.
See that hunk of pink floating in the air? That's what's left of a chicken on a string. You could buy a dead chicken on a string, on the end of a bamboo fishing pole, and torment the alligators with it. You could bounce chickens on the alligator's tails, or even their heads, and then quickly yank the chickens back up before they were snapped up at shotgun speed by alligator jaws. It was like being on a battlefield. Alligators below and chickens flying past your head from above. And I did get hit with slimy dead chickens while standing on that bridge. Nobody got mad. Everyone understood it was just the standard uncontrollable reaction of mortal terror when alligators rocket-lunge out of the water at your chickens.
When the alligator's jaws slammed shut I think I could feel the concussion of it. Maybe I'm just imagining that part but it sure did seem that way. Look at the bloody mouth on this one. He finally got his chicken.
It was cheap to buy a chicken so I got one and dangled it over the railing. Those alligators are extremely quick. I tried to keep my chicken for as long as I could but they zapped it up in seconds. They pulled pretty violently too. It was a struggle to hang onto the pole. Some kids lost their poles. It's better to lose the pole than to hang onto it and get pulled into the water.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

CHINESE POLICE VEHICLE

Here's a little police vehicle I saw in China. I really love these things a lot. The roundness, and the raised headlights and the grill make it look like something from the 1930s.
As much as I love this car I admit I have no respect for any cop who would drive it. It reminds me of something Cling and Clang would drive on H. R. Pufnstuf, or something 20 clowns would crawl out of at the circus. If I got pulled over for speeding by one of these, it would be all I could do not to pat the cop on the head.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

CHINESE MINI COMIC BOOKS

Mei and I recently returned from a trip to China and Thailand to vacation and visit her family. While we were there I picked up a bunch of stuff, including these tiny old Chinese comics. They're roughly 3 1/2" tall, 5" wide, and of various thicknesses.

Many of them  have famous Disney characters, but I somehow doubt they're approved by Disney. It looks like they re-drew every image from a real Disney comic so the format matched the shape of these little books. Some have beautiful images, and then some are plain horrible.

I saw these books at several book shops in Guang Zhou, China. Some dealers were asking hefty prices for them, like $7 each, while others were selling the same books six for $1. The expensive dealers were firm on their prices too. Usually you can bargain with the dealers, but I couldn't get the expensive dealers to budge an inch on these. They said these books were collectible. Maybe and maybe not. Dealers in the other less expensive shops didn't treat them so seriously. They would fling handfuls into sacks, tearing them in the process as if they were garbage.

Mei told me these same old book shops we visited had been around since she was a little girl. Every single book, not just the comics, in these shops where old, and I wonder if these comics have been sitting on the shelves in there since they were new. Maybe Mei even picked up these exact books and flipped through them when she was a kid.

I grabbed a handful of Tintin comics and every Disney book I saw. There were a lot of famous Japanese characters mixed in too. It was real work to find some actual Chinese-specific character comics. I got a few but the pickin's were slim. I don't think Chinese illustrators draw many comics; I think they spend their time drawing wall art.

Some of these books were photo stories, with screen caps from old movies.

These three seem like actual Chinese characters to me. I'm guessing they are because they're about the Monkey King, who is popular in Chinese folklore. I need to ask Mei to be sure.

Look! Smurfs and Henry Hawk!

This is some kind of adventuring duck character. He fights robots and whatnot, and suspiciously resembles Donald Duck.

I asked Mei if this mean kid was actually cramming a feather duster up his dad's butt, or if I was just looking at it wrong. She said Yes, he's cramming a feather duster up the dad's butt, and the thought of it never phased her.

I'm not too keen on the drawings in this one, but I still like it because it's mostly wordless and I can understand the jokes.

Here are two:

These are all the "Disney" books I found.

Here's a typical inside page. You can see the images have been redrawn to fit the book's format. They aren't awful drawings, but there's something not quite right about them.


This elf character was pretty popular. I found piles and piles of books about him.

These elf comics are about the same size as a wiener dog's nose.

Look inside: Are people committing suicide in this kids comic?

All the comic panels are numbered. I guess that makes sense because I've seen some books in China read from left to right, while others read from right to left, or in columns top to bottom.

Here are some movie photo comics.

This one looks like a non-Asian movie.

There were bunches of kungfu comics. For some reason they were more beat up than all of the other comics, so I only got a few. Maybe the kids were practicing the kungfu moves they saw in mid-read?

THHHWIPP! I wonder if any kids practiced this move.

This was a box set of  six little comics that told one big story.

The covers have big, bright, colorful, fun action. So radiantly colorful in fact, I wonder if there's lead in the ink. Gulp.

Check out the action on the inside. How can you not love that?

I really like that whale painting below.

This is a page from inside the book in the above pic.

I found a bunch of Tintin books but only a few that still had all their pages.

These Tintin books were the thickest in the entire bunch.

I'm not sure if these Tintin comics were redrawn or not. The look pretty close to the originals, just formatted differently.

I bet Lucy wants to squat on these and "mark" them so other dogs know they're her property.

I like the drawings a lot in this one.

The cover of this book is in the last picture below, on the top of the stack on the left.

I probably spent less than $15 on all this! Now if I can learn to read Chinese it will have all been worth it!

I also got a stack of horror comics from Thailand. I'll try to get pics of them to post in the near future. During the next several days I'll be posting more pics from my trip. I hope you guys enjoy seeing it, because there's a lot.
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