A tale of two dogs, pepper spray and a one legged woman

23 12 2008

Only in East Vancouver!

Yesterday at lunch, I was walking back to work from the restaurant and my co-worker and I passed a man and his dog out in front of his apartment block.  The young german shepherd seemed to be enjoying the snow.  We commented that his dog really seemed to love the winter snow.

About 40 feet away we passed a woman clearing the snow from her car. Her dog was around her.   We noticed the dog started running toward the young shepherd.  The woman called her dog back a number of times but dogs will be dogs…  Next there was some barking and some growling…  Things deteriorated. 

The second dog clamped down on the shepherd and the owner of the shepherd was trying to drag his dog back into the apartment.  He was cursing and laying the boots to the other dog.  We had passed the scene a bit by now but had stopped when we heard the noises.  We noticed that the second dog was a pit bull and was not planning on releasing from this other dog’s leg. 

The man’s girlfriend handed him some pepper spray (who would have pepper spray handy like that you ask? – East Van residents, I guess) and he started spraying the pit bull.  No effect.  He wasn’t letting go.  They have a long genetic line telling them to “HOLD ON!”   The woman started to head over from the car to the dogs and we notice that she’s on crutches and only has one leg.  She’s “running” as fast as she can in the foot of fresh snow, and wipes out about 10 feet short of the action.

I decided that I should help.  Things had deteriorated severely by now.  I ran over to help with the dogs.   The fallen woman had been using crutches so I grabbed one of her crutches and gave the dog a few solid whacks to the throat to try and induce a cough reflex.  The shepherd owner was still trying to get his dog in the apartment while peppering the pit bull (note… they don’t care about pepper spray) At the threshold of the apartment, I managed to jam the pit bull’s neck between the door frame and the crutch.  He let go of the other dog long enough for the other dog owner to get his dog into the building.  With the crutch and our feet, we managed to get the pit bull out of the building.  The shepherd owner is laying loose a string of curse words aimed at the dog, the woman… He was not happy.(justifiably so)  He didn’t seem to be overly concerned about the one legged woman on the ground in the snow.  Her dog having happily trotted off to try and wipe the pepper spray off seemed to have forgotten the whole incident even happened.

With pepper spray residue on my hands, I got the woman back her crutch, made sure she was alright and told her that she had better have much better control of her dog in the future.  I didn’t even bother to listen to her answer.  I wanted no more part of this whole mess.  My friend and I decided we had best be on our way before the shepherd owner decided to come back out with something more lethal than pepper spray. 

Definitely an eventful walk back to work from lunch.

Later that afternoon, after having washed my hands 5 or 6 times already,  I rubbed my eye as it was itchy.  Now I know what pepper spray in your eyes feels like!!!  Thank God I work in a lab… It was right over to the eyewash station and a LONG LONG rinse.  The pepper residue stays on you for a LONG time.  When I got home and showered that evening, I could STILL feel the burn where the pepper spray had been on the back of my hands.  Not nice.  (Note to self – Don’t piss off a cop either… they carry pepper spray as well!)

That was my day yesterday.. how was yours? 🙂

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Spending Time in China continued

21 09 2008

After a tortuous night, Monday morning gratefully arrived.  I had woken up at around 0300 and realized that I didn’t feel so great.  Cold sweats, nausea – It seems that something in that curry didn’t agree with me.  The four hours between 0300 and 0700 were punctuated by trying to keep my temperature regulated, trying to make sure I was close enough to the washroom and trying to sleep. In short, I had been to hell. Thankfully by 0800 I was ready to go, albeit a bit weak-legged.  I decided that I desperately needed some breakfast… some congee perhaps.

We went down for breakfast and there wasn’t much being offered.  We chose some beef noodles (Lanzhou is ALL over the beef noodle thing) and some steamed bread twists.  I only ate a bit.

Our colleague came to get us at 0900 and we took a taxi to the office. We got to the office and started unpacking various bits and got to our tasks.  Things looked like they were going to go pretty well.  Lunch was one of the first signs that it could be a long visit.  We had gone to a restaurant near the office and it was PACKED.  There were 3 large ( >10 ) tables and others.  They squeezed us in and my seat was milk crate – Oi Vey!  The smoke was so thick you could taste it in every breath.  I had forgotten that you could smoke anywhere, anytime in China.  They REALLY need to work on that.  We had a meal of fish (with chillis), Potato slices (with chillis), Chinese cabbage (with chillis) and I think something else (with chillis – do you see the trend?)  Way too much food ordered.  We took some back with the idea that we could reheat it at the office if hungry later.

Other than the fact that I basically smoked about a dozen cigarettes sitting in the restaurant, lunch was good (and SPICY).  The rest of the day went pretty unremarkably (wrong outlet for UPS etc, but nothing life shattering)

I took a few pictures on the way home and we went to the Chinese restaurant for dinner this time.  The food was more along the lines of what I am accustomed to in Vancouver. I mean… in the middle of China are you going to go looking for a good hamburger or some serious Chinese food?

That’s all for Monday… perhaps I’ll keep getting caught up as I go along.

Thanks for reading!





Spending time in China

21 09 2008

I’m in China again for work.  I arrived here back on Sunday.  The next few posts will be a bit of a journal.

Saturday/Sunday:

I flew out on AC029 on Saturday.  I particularly chose that flight as Air Canada has put seat back Video on Demand and seat back power into some of their planes and AC029 was one of those planes.  The plane was about 50% full only so I ended up with an aisle seat next to an empty window seat.  Perfect.  I turned the little area into my own little space.  I had my laptop set up on the tray next to me, while being able to eat and view video on my own tray/seat.  The flight was about 11 hours to get to Beijing.  During that time I watched “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” and “88 minutes”.  Both movies were quite good.  The earphones I had brought for listening, unfortunately, had one not working.  It turned out alright as I let my head rest on the right side with the earbud in my left ear.  Sort of half listening/half sleeping.

I arrived in Beijing at the International arrivals.  They shuttle you to your luggage via a train.  Once there, I picked up my bags and cleared customs, happy that I had no visa grief.  My next challenge was to find my way to the domestic terminal and get checked into my flight with China East Airlines to Lanzhou.   The airport staff were very helpful and professional, directing me to my shuttle bus.  The bus ride over to the domestic terminal actually took about 10-15 minutes – I’m glad I wasn’t trying to connect to a tight flight connection!  I got to the check in desk for China Eastern and felt a bit comfortable as I recognized it from when we traveled from Beijing to HK a couple of years ago.  Finally, something recognizable.  First roadblock… English at the counter.  I wanted to know if my colleague had checked in yet.  I asked in English and was met with a blank stare and a bunch of Mandarin.  She did, however find a coworker who could help me and we determined that he checked in and that I could get a seat next to him – Good.  I walked down through security and was grilled a bit about my name (go figure) and then let pass. It was weird.  Upon making my way to the lounge, it was pretty obvious who my Australian colleague was…. the BIG white guy.  He stands 6’4” tall.  Hard to miss in a crowd of Asians.

The flight from Beijing to Lanzhou was VERY bumpy.  I think we had turbulence for about 90% of the trip.  This compounded the fact that China Eastern doesn’t exactly have much leg room – nothing like being strapped in and not able to stretch out.  We arrived a bit early (perhaps it was a tail wind that made it so bumpy?) at 1930 and our Lanzhou colleague was there to meet us.  We grabbed a cab and headed into the hotel on a ride that would take about an hour and take us through mountains, along deserted expressways and onto bumpy roads under construction that made you long for the turbulence of the plane.   

Upon arrival at the hotel, we got our rooms and settled the deposit.  They wanted a small fortune for a deposit.  Almost CAD1000 preauth on a credit card.  We settled into our rooms and went down to the Chinese restaurant for dinner.  No love.  It was closed already.  We headed down to the cafe and had a very tasty curried beef… We were tired… Off to bed.





The Poker Game

20 09 2008

A common sidewalk activity for the senior men is playing poker using a chinese domino deck of cards.  While it may be a bit intense, it certainly becomes a group affair pretty quickly with everyone pitching in ideas as to what the players should have done.

Here’s a game that I felt had some real characters playing





Lanzhou Market Photos

20 09 2008

My apologies to those of you with a slow link, but there’s not to much to write about day to day (I’ll probably come up with some sort of summary though)  I carry my camera around whenever I go walking with the hope that I’ll keep catching the day to day life in Lanzhou.

Chestnuts roasting at the market

An old lady selling apples along the road – she gratefully posed for me

Sidewalk poker game (you can see the curiosity of the two guys in the very back – wondering why two white guys would be photographing a card game)

Squash vendor picking a good one for his client
 

After seeing me shoot the squash vendor, this watermelon vendor was more than happy to pose with his wares

This tofu vendor was encouraged to smile by the other vendors around him.  He was shy at first but then opened up with a big bright smile
 

Farmer negotiating prices with a prospective client

 

My entire Lanzhou photo album can be seen at: http://www.fotothing.com/albums.php?action=viewphotos&albumid=3111

 

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Pop Quiz

19 09 2008

What country has 2 bills with the same number on them that have different values?

 

…..

 

Give up?  China! 

 

I went to one of the local bakery stands tonight to buy some buns for tomorrow.  The four buns came to 4RMB, so I took out a 5 and  handed it to the girl.  She wouldn’t take it.  I pushed it forward again… still no action.  Then I turn to my colleague who is with me and he says,

“You are offering her 50 cents.”

Ouch!!! I turn red and apologize profusely while fumbling for my 5RMB note.

The 50 cent bill and the 5 RMB bill both have 5 as the number on them.  The 50 cent one is smaller. 

Hopefully this will help someone out there avoid the embarrassment I just had .

You may continue with your regular scheduled programming….  😉

 

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Some Pictures from Lanzhou

16 09 2008

I’m in Lanzhou China for work for a couple of weeks.  It’s a very interesting city.

 

Here are some pics from my first couple of days in town:

The view from my hotel room

Chilies drying on the line near where I work

I’m always fascinated by the creative ways people find to transport things here

Some delicious sichuan style pork ribs that we had for lunch at a local restaurant

My colleague, me and the restaurant owner
   

The last picture has an interesting story…  We came into the restaurant to eat lunch and since the owner saw me with my camera, he wanted a picture with us… what the heck…sure.  We took the picture and then continued with lunch.  After lunch I went to pay the bill and he indicates that there is no charge…  So, I guess my photography skills are paying off finally 🙂

Cheers from Lanzhou!








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