<![CDATA[A Crane Among Chickens - Crane Blog]]>Wed, 26 Jul 2017 03:46:46 +0800Weebly<![CDATA[Spam Jam 2015 -- Don't ask.]]>Sun, 10 May 2015 04:04:35 GMThttp://craneamongchickens.com/1/post/2015/05/spam-jam-2015-dont-ask.htmlSpam holds a place dear in the hearts of many Pacific islanders, a legacy of the canned food rations brought to this part of the world by American soldiers during World War II. In Honolulu, the love stays alive through the annual Spam Jam on Waikiki Beach, where local restaurants come up with recipes for using the canned meat -- with varying success.
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Every event has its draw of mascots, as does Spam Jam.
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Catch the wave...of Spam.
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Spam sushi
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What can improve the common hamburger? Why Spam, of course!
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You know Spam is going upscale when Gordon Biersch brewery wants in on the action.
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An enthusiastic display of Spam cupcakes from the Hard Rock Cafe.
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<![CDATA[To serve catkind]]>Fri, 31 May 2013 09:37:10 GMThttp://craneamongchickens.com/1/post/2013/05/to-serve-catkind.htmlAt last, a place where it's not only okay for cats to be on the table, they're SUPPOSED to be on the table. I give you: Calico Cat Cafe.

http://www.stripes.com/military-life/after-hours-an-order-of-fur-with-purr-on-the-side-1.222396
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"Go ahead. Make my day."
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"Cat above you? What cat above you? You're quite mad, you know."
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The fluffy fruit of a cat tree.
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<![CDATA[Myanmar potpourri]]>Mon, 18 Feb 2013 15:18:40 GMThttp://craneamongchickens.com/1/post/2013/02/myanmar-potpourri.html
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I almost stepped on this scorpion when I was walking around Yangon. Not good, as I was wearing sandals. He was in no particular hurry to leave either as I snapped some photos of him. He's about five inches long. You'll understand my hesitation in putting my hand near him to show the size scale, won't you?
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A different kind of scorpion roams the Rangon streets. Ahh, the times they are a changin' in Myanmar.
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Close up of stingers.
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Ok, this up-and-comer mohawker was in Hanoi, not Myanmar. So sue me. He's a nice photo companion with his SE Asian neighbor above.
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This fellow stood watch at the ingress of a place called "Happy World" in Rangon, immediately negating its name.
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<![CDATA[The land of love and stupas]]>Thu, 14 Feb 2013 05:45:23 GMThttp://craneamongchickens.com/1/post/2013/02/the-land-of-love-and-stupas.htmlMyanmar may have been cut off from the rest of the world because of years of economic sanctions, but love flourishes here...and so does Valentines Day. Here are a few glimpses from the streets of Rangon this day:
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<![CDATA[My ally won the war and all I got was this lousy...]]>Wed, 29 Aug 2012 13:41:43 GMThttp://craneamongchickens.com/1/post/2012/08/my-ally-won-the-war-and-all-i-got-was-this-lousy.htmlWhile in the Philippines, I interviewed an old U.S. vet who's lived in the country for years. Married his second Filipina wife after he outlived his first. He said he's always been amazed about America's attitude toward the Philippines, which was still an American colony as World War II broke out. "We fought the Germans and Japanese," he said. "We had the Marshall Plan in Germany and rebuilt the country into one of the strongest economies in the world. We had a similar plan for Japan. And what did we leave the Philippines, which fought beside us and suffered greatly for it? They got our jeeps."

Well, the Philippines have made the most of what they got. They retrofitted those early jeeps into splashy, lengthened buses, which became known as jeepneys. Sixty-five years later the progeny of the original jeepneys still roam the Philippine roads by the thousands. A ride only costs a few cents, and, much to the consternation of other drivers, jeepneys will stop wherever, whenever you want. Traffic be damned. 

Here's a little taste of jeepneys 2012.
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<![CDATA[When we were young, and half naked]]>Mon, 27 Aug 2012 11:24:48 GMThttp://craneamongchickens.com/1/post/2012/08/when-we-were-young-and-half-naked.htmlThe boys below hang around in the waters near the outdoor restaurants on the bay of Zamboanga City, which is in the southern Philippines. They wriggle and generally make a commotion so that onlookers will toss pesos into the water, for which they'll dive in and retrieve. Btw, one U.S. dollar is worth about 42 pesos, so that's a helluva lot of diving to buy anything. And judging by the rib cage of the main dancing boy, he's not getting enough pesos for food.
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<![CDATA[Manila dog madness]]>Fri, 17 Aug 2012 13:37:10 GMThttp://craneamongchickens.com/1/post/2012/08/manila-dog-madness.htmlBelow was one of my first sightings after getting to Manila. I was riding in a car behind, and we were going about 30-mph. The dog kept teetering right and left, but he kept his balance. Lucky for him he has a helmet in case he did fall. A matching helmet with the driver. I got a few seconds of very wobbly video. Probably looks the way the dog felt! (The dog has something shaved into its fur on the side. Looks like a radio-tower beacon.)
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"This town rips the bones from your back; it's a death trap; it's a suicide rap...
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<![CDATA[Hot time in the summer]]>Sun, 12 Aug 2012 13:25:00 GMThttp://craneamongchickens.com/1/post/2012/08/hot-time-in-the-summer.htmlMy town of Akigawa held its summer "matsuri," or festival, recently. It started at noon and ended promptly at 9 p.m. In between were scores of dance and musical performances, capped off with a two-hour parade of mobile shrines and music floats featuring mythical creatures. I have to guess what a lot of it means, but I did get the sense that the whistles being tooted during the closing parade were mimicking the cicadas that start squealing from the trees this time of year. There's almost 10 minutes of video, so settle in with a drink and some snacks.
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Life is so much better with a front seat.
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<![CDATA[An Olympics treat]]>Tue, 07 Aug 2012 14:13:05 GMThttp://craneamongchickens.com/1/post/2012/08/an-olympics-treat.htmlIt's Olympics Fever 2012 in Japan, all the way down to the breaded goods. Here's what the bagel shop named Hoop near my office is offering up: a five-pack representing the Games' rings. Can't wait to try the green tea with white chocolate flavor.  Hoop's staffs are cheer for JAPAN? We all are cheer for JAPAN!!
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<![CDATA['It's a country, not a war']]>Sun, 13 May 2012 10:52:43 GMThttp://craneamongchickens.com/1/post/2012/05/its-a-country-not-a-war.htmlI recently spent three weeks in Vietnam for work and play. I landed in Hanoi and went to the famed Halong Bay, then flew to Danang in the central part of the country. From there I took a train to Hue, the nation's former capital before the French colonized the country. From there I went farther north to Quang Tri Province, which is where the DMZ (demilitarized zone) was during the Vietnam War. 

Despite the horrendous legacy of war left by the U.S. -- millions of pounds of unexploded bombs and Agent Orange contamination that's still causing birth defects in the third generation born since it was dumped there by America -- the Vietnamese seem to have genuine warm feelings about America and Americans. They kind of view it as a moment of madness by the United States.

Too many pictures follow the jump. You've been warned.
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Our boat took us to an enclosed harbor deep in Halong Bay that had several huge caves. I took this photo from inside one of them. We kayaked around this area.


This video shows some folk dancing that was part of a festival in Hue, Vietnam, in April. The last part of the video is a pedicab ride I took over the Perfume River in Hue. This gives you a little sense of what it's like to be on the road in a small Vietnam city. A few seconds into the video a pedicab passes on the left, which looks exactly like the one I was riding.
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The view from a different cave.
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It looks like King Kong is holding up the ceiling of this cave. He's about 70 feet tall.
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A guide called this the cannon of the cave. In fact, there's a hole in the cave ceiling directly above where it's pointing. Tourists likened it to something else.
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Locals live on floating shacks. They mainly make a living by supplying tour boat operators with seafood and water and by hawking bottles of water, beer and soda to tourists kayaking and swimming.
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On a trail in Cat Ba Island National Park. Pure jungle, with all the bugs, muck and moisture you see in the movies.
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Cat Ba Island is the biggest island in Halong Bay, and it has roads and a small town. There are seafood restaurants in the harbor that try to outdo each other at night with neon lights in order to draw customers.
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We stayed one night at a very nice resort on Cat Ba Island. This was the view from the balcony.
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Another view from the balcony.
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A new, small hotel in Cat Ba village. This is Hanoi-style architecture: narrow, high, and heavily influenced by the French.
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This guy was on the shuttle we took to Cat Ba village. The next day we saw him again and he told the tale of coming home late and a bit tipsy to his hotel, when he was attacked by a dog! Really bit him deep in the calf. He was heading back to Hanoi to see a doctor.


The following were photos taken while on boats in Halong Bay. April is one of the many times of the year when it's misty, cloudy and/or rainy there so expect no brilliant-sunshine shots here. More Jack-the-Ripper than Jack Tripper.
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Which mannequin is happiest with her dress selection at this Hanoi clothing shop?
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About a half hour drive outside Hanoi is Snake Village, where for about 100 bucks you can eat a cobra. We passed on it, but we did get to see the cobra as they tried to entice us to eat it. Judging by this sign, apparently the village offers other exotic foods.
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Sunset over the Perfume River in Hue.
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The Citadel in Hue. The grounds were being prepared for a festival.
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A folk-dance performance outside the Citadel.
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An ancient building on the bank of the Perfume River was converted into a giant stage for the festival in Hue.
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Locals don't pay much attention to the scenery on the train from Danang to Hue, but it's breathtaking as it winds along the coast.
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Tam's Surf Shop and Pub is near China Beach in Danang and is a hang-out for visiting Vietnam War vets and expat vets who've made the country their home. Tam was a teenager during the war, and she made a living washing clothes and cooking for Marines.
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