I have a new pet. ‘Cranky’ the land crab. He/she lives at the rear of our apartment property here in Malay, Aklan, Panay, Philippines.
A couple weeks ago, while I was exercising in the ‘garage’ area beneath our 2-bedroom unit, something scurrying caught my eye. It moved fast and silently and was difficult to see. It was Cranky — scooting along the rear property wall, then into a burrow about the size of your fist.
Since then, I have kept an eye out for – and frequently seen – Cranky; a big, blue grey, ugly, bulky-armed, shelled creature who appears to be a long-term resident – though I really have no way of knowing.
The internet says land crabs like Cranky can live for years within miles of a seashore where they can dig down and find moisture. In Cleveland, Ohio – my lifelong ‘freshwater’ home – there are no land crabs.
Still, I have greatly enjoyed tossing snacks down from our second floor rear balcony to the area around Cranky’s hollow.
Sometimes, when the thrown item makes a ‘landing sound’, Cranky will even come out of his house and collect it! More often, when he/she is seen near the opening of the burrow – I find some food: bread, banana, cucumber, pasta, raisins, fish, beans, okra… pretty much anything, and drop it down. Cranky will either grab it immediately, else within a few minutes, take it inside.
In this regard, Cranky is like the menagerie of animals around here. Hungry. Dogs, cats, goats, chickens, cows, birds, lizards… and Wiggles the pig, who lives in a pen adjoining our property and whom I continue to feed with organic refuse thrown from our rooftop.
But truthfully, frequent animal interactions have been one of the most enjoyable aspects of our early retirement travel lifestyle of the past four years. Elephants, Komodo dragons, whale sharks, camels, snakes, frogs, roosters, innumerable dogs, cats, and insects, and the ever-present massive cockroaches; all have provided us with unforgettable and exciting moments.
And here at our current location it is no different. The kittens and puppy (Snow) that were babies when we arrived in mid-March are still fun, but now nearly full-grown. The geckos living on our ceiling are so fat they often fall with a ‘splat’. And the howling neighborhood dogs and crowing roosters are always ready with a 3 a.m. wake-up call (blessedly, our quality widows and bedroom fan block it all out at night).
I guess I mention this because it feels so different and exotic compared to inner-city Cleveland where I own property — although the barking dogs are similar. Honestly, it is a constant and welcome reminder that I am away from that place, that lifestyle, that country, that culture. Forever.
Further, I would also like to respectfully request: if you are one of our ‘local’ readers, here in Philippines, please do not hunt, catch, cook, or eat my friend Cranky the crab (seen below enjoying some pastry). Thank you.
As always, be thankful and generous, happy trails, & more beer.
Life is NOW!