We had another one of those we’re-not-in-Kansas-anymore moments earlier this week as we walked home from our Mandarin lesson. To get from the local university to our apartment, we pass under the freeway, and this week we encountered an enterprising individual in his minivan. He was just parked there with the trunk popped selling fresh milk from the 4 goats lined up where the car seats should have been. People were stopping by as if there was absolutely nothing out of the ordinary about this makeshift roadside milk dispenser. I didn’t have my camera at the time, but I’ll snap a picture next time we pass by.
There’s nothing quite like a hot cup of Q Chunk Fun Milk Tea on a cold, rainy day, right?! What does that even mean? I did try it out. You basically fill the cup a third full of coconut tea flavored sugar and pour boiling water in it. There’s even a little packet of coconut chunks to add in if you want some little chunky surprises coming up through your straw. I left those out.
As I headed out for the morning the above image greeted me. A crowd of locals surrounding a couple of vendors with a tarp covered in starfish, saffron, various types of mushrooms, animal horns, herbs, and tiger paws. The trade of tiger parts has been banned in China and surrounding nations since 1993, yet with the growing affluence, the demand for tiger parts for use in traditional medicine has grown at a frightening pace.
The Environmental Investigation Agency believes that at least one tiger is killed per day for use in traditional medicine, a practice that nearly 60% of China’s citizens partake in. According to Chinese tradition, tiger parts can cure everything from meningitis to insomnia, and these parts are typically soaked in alcohol to produce a wine thought to give strength.
As you may know, China recently celebrated the lunar new year. This year is the year of the tiger, but according to the World Wildlife Foundation, the tiger ranks near the top of 2010′s most endangered species list. With China considering lifting the ban on the trade of tiger parts, 2010 could very well be the beginning of the end for the tiger.