o c a t
. n e t
|Essays · Travelogs · Poetry · Comedy · Art · Digifilm||spring 2007|
Overdue Dog Reports
Hong Kong & China, August 1996,
Someone recently asked--and with good cause--"I don't mean to beat a dead dog, but how are the dogs in China, or Hong Kong, for that matter?"
Hong Kong Dog Report
Then, gradually, these privileged few began to make appearances:
Eventually I realized that I was simply not going to be able to embark on conversation with these Hong Kong dogs, because basically (sigh) I have to admit--I'm below their station.
China Dog Report
My main Chiner dog encounter was while at a rest stop in my hideous overnight sleeper bus ride from Yangshuo to Guangzhou. Near several of the disgustingly stinky Chinese toilets was chained a gigantic dog-creature that looked part German Shepherd, part Wolf, and part Something Even Bigger. I still had my uneaten second ham sammich supplied by the dexterous hands of the kindly Xiao-Yi (or his staff), but I feared slightly for its eat-safety after so many hours in the heat.
So I approached this Dragon Dog to give my offering. First I had to wake the sleeping giant, against the better judgment of Napoleon. A little whistle did the trick. Then I said (for real), "Hello? I give to you, okay?" while gesturing with the sandwich.
I had heard his resounding bark earlier, but this time he remained silent. I tossed my lunch at him and it bounced to within a couple of feet of his chained reach. He could sniff it though. Dang! It's not his fault he's big. There was of course the language barrier to deal with. I spoke no Putonghua, and I think it's a good guess that he spoke little or no English. I very gingerly approached, all the while using my best dog-communication skills to ensure that I was no threat--was a treat-giver instead. He understood. I fetched the farther away bread and tossed it within his reach. He sniffed and liked. Then came the meatier, ham-glued-to-bread-with-cheese half. Now that one, he really liked. I had gained yet another Chinese Communist friend!
And they said only Nixon could go to China!
P.S. Oh, the other day while out walking in Sheung Wan, here on Hong Kong Island, I was able to exercise my One Known Superpower and did make friends with a beautiful little kitty-kat. Her markings were so lovely--rich brown plumes on a black background. I had never seen that pattern before.
David SaiaDavid Saia traveled extensively in Southeast Asia in 1995-96. These travelogs were originally sent out via email to a select group of friends and acquaintances. The collected travelogs, now in manuscript form, are awaiting print publication.