shanlung (shanlung) wrote,

Tinkerbell revisited - meeting with Tsaoling bird whisperer and quirks of harness design

Since I was banging away at the keyboard until early into the morning, I knew I never be able to wake up that early on my own to see Tink and Yu even if it was for such a yearned for event as meeting my friend Mr Ling, that bird whisperer of Tsaoling.

So I got a man in tuxedo with a bow tie to shake me at an appointed time until I woken and actually placed both my feet on the ground before he left me to struggle to complete the rest of that process. I was worried that if that was not done that way, I would just rolled on back to sleep again.

How can I explain that to you folks. Of a guy in a bow tie coming to shake you gently on the shoulders when you are asleep until you wake up?

Let me begin by telling you of one of the institutions so unique in Taiwan that may be beyond my ability to describe. It is the places that are simply termed as SanWenNahs literally translated into 3 temperature places and opened 24 hours. The SWNs are very luxurious, but their golden age was in the early 90s. A local explained to me many years before that it was the traditional bath houses of ancient China brought over to Taiwan and still maintained close to the manner as practised in the past. Some others said some Japanese influences crept into that during the times when Japan controlled Taiwan until the defeat of the Japanese after the 2nd World War.

Yet another pointed out that SanWenNah is a chinese attempt at trying to incorporate the sauna word into that name. If so, I felt that strange. Admittedly SWN do have saunas like that known in the Western world inside those establishment. But the area of the sauna may be less than one percent of the entire establishment. SWNs are so bizarre that I never would have stepped into one until the evening when a friend dragged me screaming and kicking to try one of them. I was an instant covert after I was shown and taken by the hand through the rituals. I, on my part, converted many unbelievers by the same method, dragging them screaming and kicking the way it was done to me.

I have written even more in a piece that I finally saved in a private file and copied and paste the the starting portion of that above here. It was so getting so lengthy with me so much more left to be written that I might not even have the time to get to harness and Tink and Tsaoling even if I spend another two hours writing just on SWNs. So I gave up , saved that in a private file and complete that should I ever have the time. I suspect I may never finished that at all but that hour and half of writing would be totally wasted if I just deleted all of it. I summarise that in a few lines. You get to soak in wonderful hot spas or medicinal spas and swim in swimming pools usually in landscaped surroundings based on ancient Chinese legends, and saunas too. You then dry yourself and pick a soft cotton kimona of your size and go to what is termed the dry area where restaurants served the best local food with softdrinks and cigarettes free on the house while live music may be played to you. The latest magazines and periodicals (all chinese I am afraid) will be available. Then 5 or so cinemas with soft inclined sofas, or comfortable beds in dormitory style with very dim lights.

Yes, part of the SWNs service you can expect is that you can arrange when you wanted to wake up and that man in tuxedo and bow tie will come and shake you gently on your shoulder until you do.

You pay about 15 US on entry and once you leave, you have to pay again if you want to enter. After staying at a motel near Yu for 4 nights and returning on to sleep, I checked out of the motel deciding to stay at SWNs which cost a lot less and gave so much more especially as I am travelling alone.

So let me get back to Tink and directly related subjects.

I reached Yu's house to see Tinkerbell already wearing the new harness I made so carefully for her last night. I had made some very slight changes in the design. I had increased the size of the loop for the neck very slightly wanting it to be more comfortable. I also increase the size of the loop that the body strap is threaded through just below the breast bone slightly to make it more convenient to thread the body strap through.

All other measurements remained the way as made originally.

I was flabbergasted to see the harness hanging so loosely on Tinkerbell. 3 fingers could be inserted between the strap around the body and the body itself. I checked and satisfied that the harness was still able to hold her safely enough to take her out.

Being eager to get going on the long drive to Tsaoling, I decided that we should start on that trip.

The slight drizzle which was on even as I rode the bike over intensified. The descriptions given on the road to Tsaoling still stand from my the writings of my earlier letters on that Tsaoling and I will not bore you with further repeats. The rain increased in intensity with low clouds closing off the view of the entire mountain range and opening up for brief periods again.
I was partly looking out and enjoying the view that I never seen before in such ways. I was the driver then and had to focus on the road instead of being a passenger with the luxury of looking around without a care if the car was driven off the road. In riding up on motorbike, I had to focus on the road itself and only grudgingly allowed myself sneak glimpses of the surronding beauty before I had to eye the road and focus back on the control in those twisty windy mountain roads.

Not all my mind was on the scenery awesome as that might have been. Part of it was on Tinkerbell. A large part of my attention was on the harness as I tried to go through mentally the sequences of measurements against the original template. As I was doing that with Yu making another harness with me in parallel, I knew I was quite accurate with my measurements. It was inexplicable to me that the new harness could be that loose around the body.

That was so bloody frustrating how I could get so wrong. I had no peace of mind as I wrestle mentally with those steps again and again. I turned and looked at Tink happily bobbing her head and the looseness of the new harness on her.

I gave up, forced a mental blinker on that , and got back to my primary purpose that day of enjoying the trip as a passenger while periodically giving Tink head rubs.

We got to TsaoLing at 11 am. I was very happy to meet my bird whisperer friend Mr Ling and his wife again. I brought together two Taiwanese who had been highlights of my relationship with Tinkerbell and who had never met each other before despite hearing of each other from me.

So the day was raining. Nonetheless, I was surprised that the birds that were left to fly about freely during all my visits to Ling were in cages this time. I was dying to ask why but I bit my tongue to resist asking as that would be very impolite of me to do so in Taiwaness culture. I did not even make any oblique enquiries to fish out the reasons.

I made the formal introduction of Yu and Ling as we settled ourselves around the chinese tea set already out and waiting for us to reach him. As you folks can guess, this meeting was engineered by me partly for Tinkerbell. Good as Yu was with Tinkerbell from me imparting to him all that I could, the meeting with Ling and getting to know the attitude of the bird whisperer and future strengthening of friendship between Ling and Yu can only be better for Tinkerbell as well as it was good for both of them.



They being Taiwanese readily settled into the Taiwaness dialect and chatted very warmly as they got to know each other. Ling was a lot more communicative in Taiwanese than he was with me when we chatted in Chinese making me realised that Taiwanese was his preferred language. I was getting better in Taiwanese and got to understood roughly what was said even though I could not speak well in that dialect. Ling was describing his birds to Yu in greater details than he did to me.

Then I noticed the Chihuahua which was a very recent introduction into Ling's house being left there by his son. Ling and wife got to love that little dog. From the conversations, that dog was too active with the birds and Ling was worried overenthusisastic play by that dog might hurt the birds inadvertently. It was raining rather heavily and the birds were not going to go outdoors in those conditions. I could understand that. With the dog indoor, the birds were not going to be let out. It was a bad matter of timing.

After a wonderful lunch prepared by his wife, we chatted until about 4 pm and left.

I did a bit of a guided tour for Yu taking him to the collapsed mountain side which slipped down during that massive earthquake of 8.5 that hit Taiwan 4 years ago and which created the lake when the river backed up.

In that area, I coached Yu again on recall. Tink was placed 3 meters away and she did a beautiful flight to Yu which was sequentially shot by me. We were delighted at that success despite my proximity as the photographer.



We went to a few other beautiful spots which would have been a pity for him to miss. He enjoyed it. Even though he was living in Chiayi all his life, he never been there and might not have been but for Tinkerbell.

We started on the drive back. That harness looseness still bugged me.

Then it suddenly struck me. I increased the neck loop slightly. I also increased slightly the size of the loop where the body strap thread through near the harness leash. The body of the grey is like an icecream cone, broad near the shoulder which tapered down to the tail. Those slight increasement I made shifted the loop of the body strap slightly lower towards the tail end of the parrot. The body strap being kept at the same zize as before would become more loose as it hung lower down the body.



Tinkerbell Harness above as modified in Tinkerbell Revisited

Correcting that fit was never a problem. I just need to shorten the body strap slightly. But just correcting the fit without understanding the reason might be like replacing a fuse without knowing why it was blown in the first place.

I kicked myself for my stupidity in not figuring that earlier.

We got back, shortened the body strap slightly and that was good again. I was amazed that such slight changes I made in the neck harness had such impact. What if that parrot is slightly larger or slightly smaller with a neck harness of exactly the same size? Hard to imagine that one size fit all of that same type is still the predominant criteria of commercial harness. Maybe they know more of harness than this Idiot here.

After the harness refit, I still had a bit of time. No special dinners or karoke this evening which was a relief. I had more time with Tinkerbell at Yu's house. Since Tink was on top of the cage watching me, I walked over to her to ask her softly to step up. She seemed to stop doing recalls to me or to Yu at home even if she was doing that outside. I explained that every evening I gave her recall exercises as well as point to point flying for 2-3 minutes. Partly to have fun with her and partly to enrich her interactions and partly to further the bond with her. Since she did not recall, at least it was important to work regularly with step ups that she would do.

Tink was in a loving mood and I placed her on my shoulder and gave her lots of head rubs that she enjoyed.

I was sitting down with Yu sitting just 2 meters away from me ninety degree from my direction.

After some sweet talking, I felt Tink to be very close to me. I really felt she understood me, and for some strange reason, decided to try something I never done before not thinking if that was going to work and not caring one way or other either.

I told Tink softly to make daddy happy, very happy, go, fly to uncle Yu. Tink looked at me, turned to look at Yu, flapped off and settled on Yu. The kids, wife , and Yu were so quiet that you could have heard a pin dropped.

Not trusting what I have seen or felt and not caring either, I continued to speak softly to Tink. "Tinkerbell, make daddy happy, very happy. Come, come to daddy". She turned to look at me when I said very happy. At that cue of come to daddy, she took off and landed back on me.

I felt soft and warm as she bowed her head to my collar bone and I rubbed and rubbed and rubbed her head. Thats when I walked her back to the top of her cage to place her there telling her goodnight, rubbing her head again , and that I be seeing her the next day.


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