Friday, January 29, 2010

Action Shots!

Max is back in full form! Now that his exoskeleton has hardened, he's been climbing nonstop and enjoying his life once again as a spoiled crab in the Ramirez household. I am so amazed his molting took only 11 days! :)

He's not so shy anymore, too :) See those giant crabs in the background? That's Gigantor (left) and Hercules (right).

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fragrance Nostalgia: GapScent in Heaven

Do any of you remember Gap Heaven?

It is my all-time favorite fragrance! I remember catching a whiff of it from my high school classmate, and I knew right then and there I HAD to get one for myself! Because I couldn't afford to get the huge glass bottle, I opted to buy the ones in small tin cans which I found adorably cute and small enough to fit in my purse. The fragrance is basically "a simple bouquet of pure white blossoms", and spritzing it in between classes was indeed, pure heaven.

Later on I graduated to Gap Dream and Gap Om, but I still nursed a fondness for Gap Heaven. It reminded me so much of high school (which for me is so so long ago). It reminded me of that time of my life when things didn't really matter that much, when I lived in the NOW instead of thinking so much of the future. Carefree is a good way to describe it, weren't everyone's high school days carefree and fun?

Fast forward a few years later and I've purchased many a signature scents, including Victoria's Secret in "Whispering Mist" (another cult favorite which was sadly discontinued), Ralph Spritz Blitz (my summer body spritz which my boyfriend loves to death) and Annick Goutal (for the colder months).

I have almost forgotten Gap Heaven, I tell you, if not for that BOGO that I spotted at SM Cubao last December. Yes folks, the pocket-friendly 50ml body mist was on SALE! And of course, I had to get myself a bottle (or two) of my most coveted scent! I paid Php 595 ($12.00) for 2 50ml bottles and I was stoked! I can't believe these babies are back! I also saw a few 50ml bottles of Gap Dream and Gap So Pink, so I may have to get my hands on those 2 other fabulous scents too.

*sigh* Right now I am in pure GapScent heaven :)

Do you guys have any signature scents you'd like to share? :)

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Sawatdeekha! And Other Stuff I Learned in Bangkok

1. Sawatdeekha! At Bangkok everyone you meet or bump into will greet you "Sawatdeekha" which is a general

greeting that could either mean hello, goodbye, how are you, good morning, good evening, etc. The Thai are so friendly, they were a bit wary of us tourists because we always spoke to them in English. But I daresay that I have encoutered more people who smiled and greeted strangers there, than the people here in Manila who just ignore you completely.

2. Patience. I have always believed that patience is a virtue and I have been working hard at it, since I know I am relatively a very impatient person. But really, nothing beats the patience of Thai cab drivers during rush hour. We all know that traffic is inevitable in all major cities but Thai cab drivers take the cake for being the most patient ones I've met so far.

While on our way to Siam Paragon Mall, we decided to take the cab just for the experience and also because we were tired from walking. Traffic in BKK is a given especially after lunch. And although we were a bit agitated in the cab because it was so traffic and we didn't want to miss our Ocean World schedule, the cab driver was oh so calm and collected! Thai people know that traffic is a FACT and you cannot do anything except to grin and bear it. If it were here in Manila, even a teeny bit of traffic would piss our cab drivers off. Clearly our cab drivers need to practice the art of patience more.

3. Say Thank You. I have worked in the Customer Service industry for 3 years and after handling so many [irate] callers (I worked for a BPO thankyouverymuch), I realized that I needed to be more sensitive to peope in general. I became nicer to people who worked in retail, who served me food at the fastfood joint or restaurant, to the guy who pumped gas into my car, to the [irritating] telemarketer who keeps on calling. Being nicer to people just made my mood and disposition lighter.

This is what I was reminded of when I went to BKK. Not only are the locals friendly, but they are very thankful for your business whether you are a buying clothes at Pratunam, eating streetfood or buying makeup at a posh mall, they will always thank you no matter what.

---

So these are the most important stuff that I've [re]learned while on vacation. Remember, when travelling go HAVE FUN! Forget what you've heard or read, just immerse yourself in the culture and thrill of travelling. Remember:

If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home. 

~James Michener

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Spotted: Max Munching On His Exo!

When I got home at 3:00 AM this morning and checked the ISO tank, I found little Maximus munching on his old exoskeleton.

That's Maximus over at the left hand corner. Notice that the food dish only contains bits and pieces of his old exo (zoom in for a better look), I can't believe I've only been gone for 20 hours and he has eaten 3/4 of the exoskeleton -- apparently he's been eating the whole day!

This, my friends, is the last leg of his molt. A newly-molted hermit crab will munch on his old exoskeleton which is full of protein and calcium in order to regain strength and to further harden his new exoskeleton. In a few days he will be ready to join the rest of the hermit crabs in the original terrarium.

 This is Max taken today at 1:00 PM -- yep, still eating! I added some hermit crab food powder for added nutrients.

Also, I got some empty shells from Kultura in Trinoma last Saturday. They've been cleansed with dechlorinated water and laid out to dry. So far, only 1 hermit crab has transferred to a new shell. I got a pack of these decorative shells for Php 90 which contained various sizes. The ones shown above are the ones that I can use, I still have about 20+ super small and big shells that we displayed around the house because the crabs wouldn't fit in them.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Maximus Update!!!

Over the course of 4 days at Bangkok, I was shopping and enjoying the tours here and there, but at the back of my head I was a bit worried about my hermit crabs. Although I had instructed the caretaker on how to go about caring for them, only a true crab enthusiast can truly understand her crabs. Hee-hee.

Anyhoo, the moment I got home I rushed through the door, greeted my doggies and went upstairs to check my hermies. I counted all 8 of them in the terrarium --- Max was missing! I then dug through the substrate and then found a claw! Oh no!

More digging ensued and I found bits of his tiny body all mangled up! Gasp! The ff thoughts then filled my mind:

    • was he evicted from his shell by one of the larger more aggressive crabs?
    • were the crabs hungry and decided to eat HIM?
    • was the substrate dirty and full of bacteria that he died a slow and painful death?

I was getting dizzy from all the thinking and was blaming myself at the same time because I only left a chunk of carrot 4 days ago and instructed the caretaker to change the water everyday, several times a day (hermies can survive weeks without food as water is more important).

I decided to transfer all the live hermies to another tank with new sand -- maybe it was time to change the substrate. *sigh*. Whilst still thinking and rinsing the old tank with the "empty" shell in it, I turned it over and guess what?!

Little Maximus peeked out and he was all pink! Turns out he MOLTED over the weekend! Hurray! You have NO idea how relieved I am, I thought I was such a bad crab mother :D

I should've seen all the signs --- the constant digging, lethargy, his ashy color, etc. Believe me, even with all the research I've done about crab molting, nothing can prepare you for your first actual crab molt. Molting can last from 4 days to 8 weeks -- I'm excited and impatient to see the new Max!!! I hope I keep my hands to myself and refrain from handling him.

So basically, the bits and pieces that I dug up first was his old exoskeleton:

Now that he has molted, I am just waiting for his new exoskeleton to harden so he can roam around and eat, then I can reintroduce him to the crabitat. Currently he is burrowed under the substrate in an isolation tank :)

You can find out more about molting here. I would just like to share though, that Cannibalism (as discussed on the site) has not been an issue with Max as he molted IN the terrarium with the other crabs in it. The crabs did not disturb him or dig him up or was even the least bit interested in eating him.

Max was only transferred to an isolation tank when I got home and discovered that he had actually molted already.

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Bangkok Snapshopts

Touchdown! We just arrived from the Land of Smiles!

Here are some pictures for you guys. I shall add more once I get back to blogging mode (I have yet to unpack and my eyes are weary from lack of sleep).

So there are just a few pics taken from the almost 300+ 600+ pictures I took of our family vacation. I plan to visit this wonderful country one more time before I move on to other Asian countries. The shopping and the people here are just unforgettable. I shall tell you in detail all about our Bangkok experience in the course of the next few weeks or so. I still have to sort out all the souvenirs and pasalubong I bought :)

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Bangkok Here We Come!

We are all flying to Bangkok this Friday for a little R&R and to shop our hearts out!

I haven't packed my stuff yet but I am as excited as can be!!!

I shall be back next week though so stay tuned;D

Image courtesy of Flickr

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Max & Mort Caught on Cam!

Finally!

You know how challenging it is to take a video of hermit crabs eating? Extremely! Either you just luckily catch them on cam, or you wait for them to do their business. And the waiting thing is the hard part because a simple jerk or hand gesture will make them hide in their shells or burrow. Then you'll have to start all over again.

Anyway, this is a recent video of Maximus eating a slice of carrot taken last night:

And this is Mortimer eating the same slice of carrot after Max and the other crab (with no name) has left. If you'll notice by the 37th second you'll see Max out back drinking water from the bowl.

These guys sure LOVE carrots! I mean, as soon as I placed their food bowl in their crabitat they all crawled toward it. Mort even took a slice and hid beside their climbing tree so he could eat in peace. Sneaky little devil! :p

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Maximus Turns 1 Today!

Yay!

Maximus, my first ever hermit crab turns one today! It has been exactly one month since I acquired him at a bazaar and I am happy to announce that he is doing VERY well in captivity :)

If you remember from the previous posts, Max was was really, really shy. Until I realized that he wasn't really shy per se, but his shell was too big for him and therefore couldn't muster the strength to roam around the crabitat with such a huge load on his back, so to speak. So after 3 shell changes, Max is finally satisfied with his shell home and is happily enjoying his life as a spoiled crab (hee-hee).

Compared to the other hermies, I noticed that little Max does not know how to burrow as he is more of a climber. I've seen him attempt to burrow twice (believe me, I watch my crabs several times a day so I know what they're all up to), but halfway he'd stop and climb the log instead. He's always first on the log and stays on the very top til morning, beating even the larger hermies. This is what I call the "Hermit Crab Totem Pole" with Max on the very top:

But! Good news just in! While about to have lunch at home, I decided to do a roll-call of all the crabs -- I have 8 so I have to make sure they are still all in the terrarium as crab breakouts are quite common. I counted 7 and I couldn't find Max!

Oh where could he be?!

I was trying to keep from panicking while gently moving the substrate around until -- what is this I feel -- I find him underneath all the substrate! Guess what?!

Max was finally able to burrow!!! Hooray! :)

So this day not only marks his 1 month anniversary with me, but it's also to celebrate his first-ever newfound skill --burrowing. I am so proud! :)

Here's how Max looks like today:

I noticed that from a drab grey he is more yellow now, thanks to all the carotene I've been feeding him. His stripes are also more prominent.

I am quite content with my hermit crabs right now (not to mention P-nut my Chihuahau and Micki the Shih Tzu). Basically my plate is full and I think I've got everything covered hermit crab-wise. The only thing I need to research more on is crab molting which I hope won't happen in the near future.

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Sterilizing the Crabitat

I woke up this morning and peeked into the crabitat and realized that I must start the year right by cleaning and sterilizing it. There were bits of crab poop everywhere (thank goodness they are not gross like dog poop). The pic below was taken 3 weeks ago when the substrate was newly-added, notice how white and clean it is?

And this is how it looks like now:

Yuck. Those little black things are the crab poop and leftover food (crabs love to bury their food for safekeeping). So i decided to borrow Mom's strainer and sift through all the bad stuff so I can rinse the sand afterwards.

And ta-daaah! After straining about a kilo of substrate I am left with very fine, dirt-free sand:

It may take 2-3 days before the sand finally dries, so the hermies are camping out in their other terrarium with small smooth pebbles. I also cleaned their climbing log, the "Do Not Enter" sign and the terrarium itself with 100% organic cleanser. I wasn't sure what soap to use (or if I should use soap at all) but I guess the 100% organic handwash I have will work since it does not have all the bad chemicals and all (no pthalates, SLS/SLES, etc.).

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