I should point out today is Friday. Nothing special except it is just before Saturday. And as we all know, day after Saturday is Sunday.
Except on Sunday, I will be heading off to Taroko Gorge and its surroundings. I could ride the bike to the train station and leave it there for a few days till I get back on Friday. Except that a bike left there for such a long time might as well have a notice on it saying "Please steal me".
So I thought it better that I let Yu keep it on Saturday night and he drives me over to the SWN where I stay the night before catching a cab the next morning to the train station. And why I do not just go to the cybercafe and update before taking a cab to the SWN and behave as ancient Roman or ancient Chinese before getting to sleep?
To may aghast, I found that Wu and Shi never ever been to SWN before. But of course, Yu was dragged screaming and kicking to the one here and he is a convert. I therefore need to teach two Taiwanese how to be Taiwanese and all four of us will be going to the SWN tomorrow night where I am honored to wine and dine all of them as well. I told them I am the expert and resident in one and therefore I am not a guest under which guise they made sure I could not pay to those dinners, wines and karokes that I was taken to.
I therefore cannot make the update tomorrow night.
Therefore, this update will be the last until I am back from Taroko, and if I do get back from Taroko. I heard from Yu the Wenshan natural hotspring may be closed as last month, 2 people were badly injured by falling rocks when making their way to that hotspring. I do intend to go there, having been there so many times before. Check my Webshot photos on that Taroko hotspring to see how beautiful that is. Danger adds to spice of life. If it is your time to go, it is your time regardless of all safety that you take. People get injured all the time in beautiful places. Maybe that was just some little storm in teacup done to boost sale of newspapers.
In Taroko,I could not find cybercage the last time I was there. I do not expect to this time either. But who knows. If there are, I may make some reports from there.
And now, back to the events of today.
This morning started with one of the bluest morning I ever seen since I came back for this visit. I normally do not know what I be doing in the day until that day is here. I may make plans, but that is not the same as knowing what I do instead. All that is dependent on the weather and weather man forecast.
So with the sky being so blue, and my waking up relatively early (because I abbreviated so much yesterday and ended so much earlier) , and as I did not see any warnings from weather man , the day must be good.
I decided that I will be riding up to that pavilion beyond Dragon's Eye or LungYen.
I enjoyed riding bike, and especially up the beautiful mountain masiff of Alishan. Tinkerbell truly enjoyed bike rides too. I enjoyed being with her. I could always ride around aimlessly, but having a destination make sense even if that is to a senseless place just because it is in a beautiful location in the middle of nowhere.
So the two of us took off from Yu's factory where I picked her up from.
For such a long ride, I hooked Tink's harness leash to the bike safety line directly instead of threading it between that wooden bike's perch and the bike. Done that way, Tink would not be able to come down to my seat and chew my ciggies. But the sky being blue and as you know, sun shines brightly and hotly in such a sky. I thought Tink might want to get some shade now and then from my arms. In the past, sometimes she positioned herself under my arms to get shade. The negative part about it is that she could get to my ciggies in the pouch. She was a master at this in the past and she showed she did not lose her touch, or her deviousness. She made her way down from her perch to me innocently eyeing one direction. Then she lunged towards my ciggie. I zipped up the kangaroo pouch to have her biting the zippers and spoiling them. I should be chastising her, but really just could not bring myself to do so.
Attempts to fob her off with empty ciggie packs attached to her perch worked sporadically this morning. She was really determined to get to the real ones. There was no way I stop all those troubles from her by chucking her into her carier cage. She could not stand for that if ever she was placed in not of her own voilation and would scream her head away.
More important, now and then, I admit very rarely, she would have moments of incredible sweetness that would make me forgive her a hundred times over. She would siddle to my thigh, and so gently, laid her head on my hand grapping the bike handle. Her eyes were half closed and I could swear she had a smile on her beak. Then she made another lightning grab for the ciggies.
When I thought I was going too fast, I had taken her down to be on my bag between my knees and out of the wind. She would struggle to get herself up on the bar again. Her coming down to my knees must be her choice and no other.
She had many positons when she was on the perch bar. Like Tom Cruise in the move Titanic with her head forward and wings inclined backwards. Or facing backwards perched on one leg and the other leg up with a claw in the mounth. This morning I tried to take photos of that poise. But every time I stop the bike, she stopped doing that. Those pictures in the past of that pose were taken by my wife Joy sitting behind me.
Now and then, she loved to grap the perch bar and beat her wings. I did not know if she was telling me to speed up or trying to life the bike and me up on a magic carpet ride..
Her favourite pose by far is one facing me. In that pose, she often would be
practising her range of sounds, changing their octaves as if she was experimenting. She ran through some of the words she spoke when with me earlier. Her wolf whistles under the coaching of Yu's little daughter were loud and clear. I could not whistle and I tried and made a feeble attempt. Tink looked at me and gave such a beautiful wolf whistle that I could swoon if I was a girl.
That reminded me. Yesterday was the first time I heard from her on this trip. "Tinkerbell, tinkerbell". I always thought it to be strange words she heard so often such as her name or 'step up' were used so seldom by her. Curses were picked up in a jiffy. Yu confessed to me also that he was very careful not to use those words in her hearing. He scolded his wife once to find Tink latching on those words.
I payed particular attention to that favourite pose from TInk when she was on the bike having always thought of that before as not natural and tiring. Then I saw it so clearly today. She was kind of leaning back into the wind and even opening her wings slightly to increase the back presure from the wind. In effect, she was using the on rushing air as a kind of sofa to lean into.
I made periodic stops on the way up to give her a drink and to rest a bit myself.
I always enjoyed my rides to this part. Always with Tink in front, her sometimes incredible displays of love and sweetness that touched deep into my heart and her much more often displays of bitchiness and stubborness as she attempted to snatch ciggies and lighters. Often too, my wife Joy would be riding on the back as well.
I love the sight of that mountain range. On clear days, details could be made out with breathtaking clarity. On hazy days, there would be a misty magic in the blurred lines. This was a part that acted as a gateway to TsaoLing and the JiangHu fossil valley and an little known alternate route to Alishan mountain proper.
After the plains, you get through the town of MeiShan and then you start to climb. First was the coffee district with little coffee shops about a thousand meters above the plains of Chiayi and adjacent counties. You entered an area where betel nut palms were cultivated on a scale too vast for me.
A bit higher, the tea gardens would start. The tea gardens would persist on and on and up and up. THe higher it got, the higher the quality of tea grown.
Then you get into the bamboo groves with their big thick dark green stems and lighter green leaves twirling and shifting with every gust of wind and moss laden embankments. Sometimes the road would break out into strips clinging onto the walls of steep mountain side with wild frondy grass hanging down from the walls above you. I never quite dare to look down on the part below the road as often, they were just sheer drops.
Little temples with coiling dragons around their columns appeared now and then. Bigger temples would have pavilions where you could take a break. We stopped at one of such pavilion and hopefully , the sequential photos of her recall would be nice. There was one I liked. I walked out of the pavilion with Tink still inside and she came to my recall cue flying from out of that pavilion to me.
Then higher up, the Chinese pines and cypress would make their appearance in between bamboo woods.
We got to that pavilion. The weather was still beautiful and I felt it great to be back again. Even better was having Tink with me.
This pavilion was in the process of being built the last few times when we came here. It was almost completed this time but for the burning of construction waste debris.
The lady running the tea shop below that pavilion(not in the western sense, this tea shop sold tea leaves for chinese tea) was delighted to see me again and to hear from me I came back just to see Tink. I left her some photos of Tink flying alongside me when I was running on top for her to remember us by. You can see that in the earlier Webshot folder on Dragon eye pavilion.
I took the stuff and TInk up to enjoy and enjoy the place and our return here. I had bought a packet lunch from Meishan town at the bottom and drinks. Tink had her portion of human food. Her free line was increased to 5-6 meters and she was placed on the table to do eat and do her thing.
This was a fascinating aspect of Tink. In Yu's house, she seldom came to me other than for what I related to you. Yet every times we went out, and after a short while, she would fly to my shoulder and would give me hell if I try to remove her. She was almost as insistent on remaining with me as in removing my ciggies when we were on the bike.
We walked a bit around the top to take photos and was preparing to idle away before we rode down. Then they started to burn construction debris. The smoke was the wrong way. When I saw that plastic wastes were also being burned, I beat a retreat up the side of the mountain to take Tink away from the smoke.
So our return to that nice pavilion was largely spend on the hillside in hot sunshine overlooking it to stay away from the smoke.
Then the sky rapidly started to darken ominvously. I thought my luck was too good to last. One way or other, the rain caught up with us.
Tink got chucked into her carrier cage and I threw on a rain coat to make our way down and back.
During the last night, I did not make much mention of Tink after we got back. I had to buy a pair of shoes last night and left Yu shortly after I brought Tink there.
Tink normally like a time to preen and do her own thing before she chose to notice her lackeys again. So last night, Tink flew up to her basket after the harness was removed. Of course, I did say good night to her and told her I would be seeing her again to be ignored so she could focus herself on her preening.
I stayed on a bit longer this time. After all, at least this time I had to change out of my wet cloths and pants. She did finish her preening periodically looking at me from that basket.
I find it interesting that when outside, her respond to my recalls were so good. And in Yu's place, she was a lot more aloof.
Sweet talking to her, I told her I be going soon, and gave recall. She waited a bit as if thinking about it, took off, flew down in front of me, did a figure of eight turns in front of me, and flew back to her basket on top of her bedroom bookshelf ( I dowry her with bike, TV, PC, all electronic goods I could not use anyway because of different voltage and bookshelf which was her old bedroom and everything else I could persuade Yu to have in addition to Tink direct belongings).
She added insult to injury to proceed to preen as if she never did anything in the last 5 minutes other than to preen herself.
It would be kind of humiliating except that I had long accepted such kind of humilation from Her Grace. I tried a different tack. She seemed not to be taking to sunflower seeds nowadays. I had serious discussions with Yu as to her diet and perhaps restricting her access to human food. So that she could be weaned back to sunflower seeds as delicacy and used to reward her with.
But thats in the future.
I hold up my glass and asked Tink if she wanted a drink and asked her to come here. It was gratifying to have successful recall of her to my arms so she could sip out of my glass. I then got her to step up and I wanted to place her on my shoulder to give her head rubs and get Yu to photo us together.
She took off for that basket again.
I told her I will be going off soon and I like her to come to me so I can give her head rubs before I go. She gave no response. I then told her I have to go after smoking one more ciggie and would she please come before I finish that ciggie. After a while, I looked at her still preening. I then gave an authoratative voice cue of "come here".
She stopped her preening, looked down, and said something I could not catch. Yu was sitting closer to her and appeared stunned. He leaned towards me and aske if I heard. I asked him what did he hear as I could not make out the words. He told me Tink said softly " bu yiow". From time to time in the past, Tink had made replies so uncanny to the context that I felt humbled by her. I was still stunned. Bu yiow are chinese words that meant "do not want" , or NO.
Coincidence maybe, you decide.
Or that she was using Chinese, and telling me she took exception to my threats and perceived bullying of her.
Tink then came off that top basket to make her way to her sleeping shelf just under the basket looking at me. I told her I like to give you headrubs but I need to go soon (to catch up with emails and this blog). She bowed her head as I walked and reached her. Said sweet nothings to her and gave her head and beak rubs. I told her I like some photos of her and asked her give me a kiss as I drew my head close. So you know in what context those shots of me by her sleeping shelf came about.
I then reached out and asked her to steo up. She did that and I brought her to my shoulder and got our photos taken. Even more headrubs were given to her and I said my goodbyes to her. And that we would be going out again tomorrow.