Posts Tagged With: lions

NEIGHBORHOOD GANG?

DSC05435 (Copy)

Neighbor and friend, Jan Stewart is the hostess with the mostess. If anything is going on, it is always at her house. I don’t know how she does it. Always throwing a bit of a party together at the last minute, with just the neighborhood “gang” as she refers to us. Never thought I’d be a gang member at this age.

DSC05436 (Copy)

This is the other Jan. A positive thinker and healer, petting Mikey. And I don’t think there is a tattoo among us, unless Mikey has one.

DSC05437 (Copy)

Brian, and Becky listening to Jim expound on something. We all live close to each other.

DSC05438 (Copy)

Karen doesn’t like her picture taken and kind of hid. But, I got her anyway.

DSC05440 (Copy)

We ate outside because the weather was so beautiful.  I just got a new haircut and got skinned, but the gang saluted my birthday.

Jan has a pond where a mountain lion, the coyotes, raccoons, and foxes come to drink. I’m so grateful to her for supplying water to the wild animals that frequent our neighborhood because the creek isn’t flowing.  the power authority has cut off the water that used to flow behind her house. I remember when Big Dick Hogan lived across the street, he used to go up to the flume and kick out a board to keep a small trickle of  water coming down Peppermint Creek. He moved away twenty years ago. So Jan’s pond is essential. I heard the lion squawling as we sat. Jan claims it will come and drink with her quietly sitting on the deck, but not when she has a group of noisy people talking. I think the lion wanted us to leave, so we did. It was a beautiful moon and starlit night. Perfect.Thank you Jan.

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

GOING BACK TO CHINA

My tendency has been to forge through life, swiftly, do everything, don’t allow a stone unturned.  Say yes!  Let’s go, let’s do it.  Influenced by my partner, Jim, my new philosophy is stop and smell the flowers.  While home in Murphys these past weeks, an unfinished travel journal of my trip to China in 2006, nudged me. Jim says this summer promises to be slower paced,so I think I’ll go back to China.

I traveled with my friend, Michal Houston. After a long flight, we landed in Shanghai tired and weary only to be  shuffled to another plane that took us to Beijing. Our assigned room had one bed instead of two as requested. Her name spelling, Michal translated as Michael. Exhausted, we tumbled into bed and straightened it out the next day.

Beijing was in the middle of changing from a Socialist/Market Economy to a Capitalist Economy back in 2006. Beijing is a modern city of  only thirteen million people. I say only seriously because Chinese Cities can be,  and are, much larger than this home to International Government, political,  and financial centers of China. You find modern condos and 200-year-old homes side by side. Sixty per cent of the people in Beijing work for the government, kind of like Washington D.C.

Tiananmen Square is so huge it dwarfs any mall we have in the U.S. Soldiers on guard are always visible. And, surprising to us, we saw “modern” Chinese tourists; older people visiting their own iconic places and young people with cell phones in their ears.  This is the infamous spot where protests during National day 1989 led to the deaths of students and gave China a black eye over their aggressive policies. The poster of  Chairman Mau in the background looks small. In reality it stands  about twenty-five feet high. We have a group photo taken here and get our first taste of the new capitalism with vendors selling post cards and junky trinkets. Some of them starve on the new system and intrude, shove things under your nose, begging you to buy their trinkets and post cards.

One side of the square is this lovely government building and gardens, always statues and memorials from every preceding dynasty that governed China except maybe the Mongolians. Chairman Mau tore down the old city walls and opened things up with a ring road inhabited more and more by modern cars but  still madly outnumbered by eight million bicycles on the roads, the most common form of transportation in Beijing.

China has a love affair with dragons.  Their most favored and positive sign is everywhere in China.  As it turned out, I was born the year of the dragon.

We move on the Forbidden City where we see soldiers congregated in the square and their boots lined up outside of their barracks which were built in 1406 and finished in 1420. The Palace has 9,999 1/2 rooms. Nine is the supreme number. So, there are nine gates, each gate is nine by nine and has nine knobs. You can extrapolate that process through out the Imperial Grounds and Palace. It has served Eleven Emperors.

The “building” is actually one of the nine gates we pass through to reach the palace. The emperor has a resting place inside the gate where he emerged to address his people. He stood on a stair high above them.  This complex is a series of high gates, (stairs up stairs down)  and open space between them.

The walls here are made from 15 thicknesses of bricks to avoid tunneling into the Imperial Grounds.  There are 18 water pots around the grounds one for each of the 18 provinces. (Notice the multiple of nine.)

One side of the palace wall is made up of four panels of huge tiled dragons, approximately twenty feet tall.  Among the palace antiquities, marvelous gold, huge jade carvings, a gold Buddha, marvelous crystal, precious jewelry and marvelous treasures. I’m unsure why no pictures inside the palace. We may not have been allowed flash photography inside.  At one place we passed the shrine (inside) devoted to one of the Emperor’s favorite concubine. She was forced to jump into a well by the eunuchs of the jealous empress. Inside the court-yard we had a Starbucks coffee and cookies. The Starbucks was protested by Chinese activists and removed after our visit.

These  Chinese lions, one with his left foot on the ball, the other with his right foot on the ball have some significance in their stance which I’ve since forgotten. But, what I do remember is there are no lions native to China and  Chinese illustrators drew what a lion looked like from verbal descriptions of those brave explorers from “olden” times. Thus lions have fierceness, clawed feet, a mane and a ferocious face that much resembles a dog.

We went on to visit a couple of grouchy, lethargic Panda bears at a very seedy looking facility and then do not wonder much why there are only 1,000 of them left in captivity and the wild. The Chinese were not very conscious of environmental concerns in 2006.  We  finished our day with a famous Peking duck dinner. (More tomorrow.)

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MGM Grand Hotel/Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

Jim says:

Yesterday Mary and I spent a couple of hours wandering around the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino at the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard (“The Strip”) and Tropicana in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Picture

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia. Click the below link to find out all about the MGM Grand…<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MGM_Grand_Las_Vegas

The purpose of our visit was two-fold. First, we have tickets for Cirque De Soleil – Ka, next Tuesday evening and we wanted to get a general feel for the layout, parking, etc…rather than a first-time visit at night.

The second reason was to see the Lion Habitat with live lions behind thick glass in the casino area. The photography conditions were terrible. First lots of people, then trying to shoot the lions behind glass with lots of reflections and finally the casino was very dark. The following photos are the best I could do under these conditions…

Picture
Picture
Picture
Picture
Picture
Picture
Picture

The read about the Lion Habitat, click this link…

http://www.vegas.com/attractions/on_the_strip/lionhabitat.html

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2011
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.panamaorbust.com

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PERFORMING ANIMAL WELFARE SANCTUARY

Ark 2000, the beautiful gate into the PAWS sanctuary, is a fitting icon for a place that is rescuing animals. This non-profit sanctuary has 100’s of acres of freedom for “discarded” circus animals to retire to the peace and serenity of the land.  Good food, no more tortuous routines at the whip or pick. Restful and good.
There are fences, to be sure, but nothing like the cages of their past. These three Bengal tigers, though hard to photograph through the fencing, play and growl at each other in a friendly way while we watch  from a safe distance.

This old female Bengal yawned on the warm sunny hillside as though to affirm, life here is good.

Richly colored coats of tigers in Calaveras County are so out of place, and beautiful. The lion habitat, nearby, has a huge maned male who couldn’t keep his eyes off the females. They are separated since PAWS is not a zoo. They don’t encourage offspring. The lions and bears managed to  keep clear of the fencing and were not interested in photographers

And at each area, the food and wine are plentiful and delicious. Here Jan Hovey pours Hovey Wine. Steve Hovey has been making wine for over 20 years and is now proudly presenting his expertise under his own name.

This female  Asian elephant has a missing toe on one hind leg and a deformed ankle from long years on a chain. She seemed so happy and comfortable. And it is a cheering sight to see her free at last.

Man’s inhumanity to man is nothing compared to what humans do to animals. This, of course, is not the worst of it. She happily nudges and scratches her trunk on the fencing. Some trees in the sanctuary have steel posts around them to protect them from being pushed over by the pachyderms.

At first the sanctuary did not take in bull elephants. They can be dangerous and are unbelievably strong. They had to increase the fence strength for bulls and now they have two.

At the final buffet and auction area, near the African and Asian elephant barns, we visitors enjoyed dozens of different wines. A wine glass comes with your ticket and you carry it from kiosk to kiosk. Here Margot Osborn pours Chatom wines.

Irish has  Pog Mo Thoin, which is Irish for a mixture of whatever is left over. Well, sort of. It has three varietals and was quite tasty at that.

This marvelous dish of pesto flavored broiled tomatoes with mozarella was stellar, but the caterers, Jeff Newland and ll Fornaio,  prepared pumpkin ravioli to die for.  Of course, the whole luncheon is vegetarian. I keep promising myself to commit to becoming a vegetarian. Living on the road as much as Jim and I do makes it a harder fit.

At the parking lot, is a recycled old derelict put to good use. It reminds us not to stay over long. PAWS, the Performing Animal Welfare Sanctuary has a program where families can visit. This event was adults only. They are very protective of their charges and the employees know them by their names and can identify one from another. They have pictures of the animals with their names and can tell you stories of their muddled past. A great project that we in Calaveras County enjoy along with out of town visitors.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.