Secret Agent Man

Written by Michael LaRocca

Continued from page 1

We skip ahead to when I'm waiting forrepparttar taxi. I called him maybe one minute before I was ready to go. I said, "I'm ready to leaverepparttar 147528 SPCA." After a pause, I addedrepparttar 147529 code phrase "Cat daughter." Guess what he did? You guessed it... he laughed. "Ten minutes," he told me.

I went outside to wait. Taxis passed by me frequently, trying to give me a ride. With each taxi, I looked in atrepparttar 147530 driver, unsure if I'd recognize my new best friend, then waved him by. As he passed, I could finally see byrepparttar 147531 license number onrepparttar 147532 back that I was correct. I supposed -- I hoped -- if I did try to wave my guy by, he'd just ignore me and stop anyway.

Twelve minutes later, a taxi slowed to a stop beside me, but I knew it wasn't my guy. Then another taxi came barreling up behind this one, Out of Service sign onrepparttar 147533 windshield, honking his horn and flashing his flashers. Immediately I knew. My buddy. He was laughing and smiling as he stopped.

He pointed atrepparttar 147534 cat carrier. "Is she okay?"


He nodded vigorously. "Good, good. How much?"

"Sixty dollars." (That was about eight US dollars.)

"Sixty," he repeated.

"Yes. She only needed a shot."

"Ah, good. She is good cat."

We drove aroundrepparttar 147535 looping roads that lead out of Wan Chai. Then he spoke again.

"I used to live here. Now I live in Sha Tin." Sha Tin is where he'd picked me up. "I get up early every morning. Very early. I live in Sha Tin six years. Your home?"


"How long?"

"A year."

"Oh." He nodded approval. "Very good, Sha Tin. Very nice." By now we were moving rapidly downrepparttar 147536 freeway, away from Wan Chai and toward Sha Tin. He pointed torepparttar 147537 traffic going into Wan Chai. It was bumper to bumper. "Too much traffic."

"Yes." It seems he was using a lot more words than I was, doesn't it?

I finally noticedrepparttar 147538 color of his hair. In my early-morning fog, I had it in my mind that it was gray. It would be consistent withrepparttar 147539 lines of age in his face. But looking atrepparttar 147540 back of his head onrepparttar 147541 way home, I saw that it was a brown-orange color. Dyed. In fact, it even matched one of Picasso's colors. Her other two colors are black and white.

Finally, Sha Tin. He pointed at some buildings, aroundrepparttar 147542 corner from my own apartment complex. "My home. Six years, my home. Is very nice. Wan Chai, no good. Hong Kong, no good. Sha Tin, very good."

We didn't need more English for me to know why he felt that way, which is good because he probably didn't know it. Hong Kong's reputation is one of crowds and traffic andrepparttar 147543 hustle and bustle. Butrepparttar 147544 fact is, that's only inrepparttar 147545 central areas. Out in Sha Tin, we still haverepparttar 147546 high-rise buildings, but it's not nearly so crowded. It's much more relaxed. We even have a park or two, and some very friendly cab drivers.

So what's my point?

Is it that an American, living in Hong Kong and speaking only English, is so desperate for human contact that even a conversation with a cab driver warrants publication?

No, not at all.

It's that people are people everywhere, and that you never know when a total stranger will become a friend, even if it's only for one morning.

Plus, many of us love cats.

Picasso's been with us through five years, two provinces, three cities, and seven Chinese flats. We currently reside in Hangzhou, where I bicycle around on quests for tuna and cat litter while Picasso stays home being beautiful. She's the star of my free weekly newswletter, WHO MOVED MY RICE?, Also, she has a much bigger scratching post now.

Marine Aquarium Do's and Don'ts for beginners

Written by Doug Kamp

Continued from page 1
The Doníts ēDonít overfeed. This is most probably one ofrepparttar most common mistakes for a beginner. Fish always appear hungry and it is very tempting to feed them often but this can cause all sorts or problems Ėrepparttar 147492 most common being poor water quality. If nor corrected this can lead to sickness and death of your fish and inverts in a short time. If you are going to very often then ensure you only feed small amounts and that it all gets eaten immediately. Also test your water quality often (eg test ammonia, nitrite and nitrates at least a couple of times a week). ēDonít overstock you tank. This is also one ofrepparttar 147493 most common mistakes for beginners. Tanks can only successfully support a certain amount of life in them and this is based upon a number of factors. Some of these are volume, surface area, aeration, circulation, filtration (mechanical and biological), maturity, quantity and frequency of water changes, flow, number of fish and inverts etc etc. It is better to start slow and small and build your way up. Talk to your local marine aquarium retailer for advice on stocking levels. ēDonít rushrepparttar 147494 maturation of your new aquarium. This is another one ofrepparttar 147495 most common mistakes for beginners. Sea water is a complex living thing. It contains thousands of elements, compounds, minerals and organisms that are all reacting together. When setting up a new aquarium it takes time to mature enough to sustain higher order living animals such as fish and inverts. Generally it can take up to eight weeks forrepparttar 147496 nitrogen cycle to complete andrepparttar 147497 sea water stabilise enough to allow forrepparttar 147498 addition of fish. A good idea is to stick to one or two hardy fish initially and then slowly add more fish over a period of time, allrepparttar 147499 time keeping a very close eye on water conditions. I would be testing daily for pH, salinity (SG), ammonia, nitrites and nitrates during this phase. After six months or so if everything is going all right I would then consider basic, hardy invertebrates such as soft corals, algaeís, shrimps, anemones, star fish, urchins etc. After these have been living successfully for a while (after about one to two years) I would then considerrepparttar 147500 more sensitive inverts such as stony corals, clams etc. ēDonít mix inhabitants (fish or inverts) without some research of your own and/or advice from your local marine aquarium store - they donít all get on together Ė even if they look weird or wonderful and you just have to have it! ēDonít change any critical aquarium conditions too drastically - stability is your friend. The main ones include salinity (Specific Gravity or SG), pH and temperature. ēDonít use water from your tap without treating it and testing it. Some local water supplies have unwanted chemicals such as copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), Ammonia (NH4), Nitrites (NO2), Nitrates (NO3) and heavy metals in them. They all have chlorine and chloramines in them and need to be removed before being added torepparttar 147501 aquarium (or even mixing salt in - removerepparttar 147502 chlorine first). ēDonít use fly sprays, air fresheners, incense etc inrepparttar 147503 same room as your fish tanks as they may well poison your inhabitants ēDonít userepparttar 147504 cheap types of hydrometers to measure your Specific Gravity (salinity) as they are inherently inaccurate! These include your common floating type (they quite often also contain a thermometer in them as well) andrepparttar 147505 floating needle types that stick to your glass and a little plastic needle floats inrepparttar 147506 water indicating your SG! These types are also affected by temperature and may be giving an incorrect reading is not used correctly. I findrepparttar 147507 most accurate is a refractometer and they are not too expensive (approx $100) ēDonít use only one powerful heater in your aquarium. It may save you a little money but if it breaks (turns off, or even worse gets stuck on) you could lose everything. Preferably use two smaller heaters so that if one breaks you have a back up and if one gets stuck on it wonít cook your fish. Aboutrepparttar 147508 Author Doug Kamp has been keeping aquariums for 30 years,repparttar 147509 last 15 of those being mainly marine aquariums. Doug isrepparttar 147510 proprietor of Aquariums Online which is an online mail order business based in Perth Australia. This article, and others can be found at

Doug Kamp has been keeping aquariums for 30 years, the last 15 of those being mainly marine aquariums. Doug is the proprietor of Aquariums Online which is an online mail order business based in Perth Australia

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