July 3rd, 2005

Tink Revisited - prior to Taroko Gorge

I really did not expect to be online right now. I thought that by this time, I would
be off the train Hualien, rented my bike, and riding into Taroko once again to spend a few
days there.

As with many things in life, small innocuous things have a wide ranging effect.

My watch was 5 minutes late. I never noticed that in the last couple of weeks as
my timetable was not really measured by precise timing.

The previous night, I waited with Yu outside the SWN until Wu and another friend came
and we went in together. Shi did not turn up. He was a prude and when he heard all are naked
in the bath, hot pool , swimming pool , saunas and wet area prior to togging up in kimonos and
dinner, he made himself unavailable. Telling him that it was all guys did not help.

Then when I was in the locker room, I found my handphone battery
was getting very low and I got the SWN to charge the phone.

We did have a great time, and got two more converts even before going into the dinner. Yes,
I decided to release that unfinished account of SWNs as I do not think I ever have the time to
complete that. At least you can see what I written before I aborted it.

The dinner was great as expected in any SWNs. Whenever I wanted to let any foreigner to taste really
good traditional Taiwanese food, I would always take him to a SWN.

I arranged to have my morning call at 615 am to have amble time to catch the train at 737 am. The station
was just 10 minutes or so from the SWN. Then I dally around enjoying one last soak. I looked at my watch
planning quite precisely when I would leave so I need not spend too much time waiting at the station. I chanced to look at one of the many clocks in the SWNs. To my aghast, I realised my watch was running late. I lingered on too long. I rushed out, dried and grapped my stuff from the locker, rushed to the front desk to pay and get
them to call me a taxi. Got to the station just in time with a couple minutes to spare.

As I settled into my seat, yes, during that rush, I forgot my handphone was with the SWN.

So when I got to Hualien late in the afternoon, my priority was to locate a cybercafe in Hualien city to send an email to my wife Joy so she could contact Yu to try to retrieve that handphone from the SWN. Or at least let the SWN know I be back on friday to claim that back.

So since I am here, I might as well bring up to date my blog for Saturday.

Saturday 2nd July

I got up this morning conscious after today, I would not be seeing Tink for a few days. I was a bit worried the night before that I might feel some bit of sadness. Instead, I was feeling good and happy I be seeing her again later in the morning. I even tried to induce a pre-emptive sadness that I be leaving her when I had my breakfast. I remembered how bad it was the last time for me and I did not want to feel that way again. But I just felt comfortable and happy. I felt stupid trying to make myself sad so I would not be sad.

The bike speedometer was not working and I thought I get that repaired first. At the mechanic, I then noticed the lens of the front light was cracked and sealed by plastic cover. I thought I might as well get all those fixed. That took a bit more time then expected.

Getting later to Yu and Tink at his factory did not matter. We went for a long ride yesterday and I wanted an easier time today.

I got this warm feeling when I reached there and saw Tinkerbell on her basket just outside the factory. Yu's little daughter was with him too. Since it was nearing lunch time, he wanted to introduce me to this wonderful little restaurant that specialised serving cold noodles and a local delicacy.

He suggested he would take Tinkerbell with them in his car and I followed them behind. That was ok with me and I thought Tink liked that too,being more comfortable perched in her ring in the car and with Yu's daughter to play with her as well. We did not account for Tinkerbell. As she was asked to step up and taken by Yu to his car, she flew off his hand and landed on my shoulder. We both laughed at her choice of being with me on the bike.

I then gave Yu's daughter my camera. I wondered how we looked like from the viewpoint from an adjacent car. One good thing about digital camera is that so many shots can be taken and culled from. So I told her just to shot away. When I get back to my home PC, I can then finally see what I never saw before.




After that lunch, I decided a short ride to that LangTang reservior and sitting on that wooden platform near the lake side would be nice again. I did not feel particulary energetic and clouds appeared to be building up anyway. I was particularly laid back that day too.

My shoes were still damp from yesterday big soak up in the mountains and I wanted to sun and dry that in the sun which popped out again.

The ride yesterday down from the mountain was interesting and I like to fill in parts I shortened yesterday. As we left the pavilion, it was raining and Tink was placed in carrier. Then after a couple of kilometer, the rain stopped. Wonderful I thought! I stopped the bike, opened the carrier and stuck my hand and cued Tink to step up. She backed away deeper into the carrier. I stuck my hand deeper in and she backed even more not wanting to step up. I thought she liked to be on that perch, but since she was reluctant, that was ok with me too. I then closed the carrier and proceeded down the road. Then a couple km further, the rain resumed, with much greater intensity. I was glad Tink showed better sense than me. I got thoroughly soaked while Tink remained dry in her cage. Then at Dalin on the plains well away from the mountain, the rain stopped and the road was dry as if it never rained there at all. Tinkerbell then screamed and called from her cage. The moment I opened that door, she hopped out and up on my hand, onto my pack and clawed her way up to the perch. She remained there for the one hour it took to get to Yu's house.

Tinkerbell remained near me for that couple of hours we were at the lakeside. She always would have 5-6 meters of line just in case she needed to fly. But she never did other than for short flutters to my shoulder. I wanted to read on and so after a while, she was placed back on the wooden bannister.

From time to time, I walked her about to do a bit of recall flights so she would not be bored. Then a couple of hours after we were there, she flew down to the bench to attack my camera bag. It was amusing at the beginning for me. I thought more memorable reminders to bring back, a badly chewed camera bag. Her attack was with such a determined fanaticism that I moved that camera bag down to the wooden platform and gave her an empty ciggie box. She snatched that box from my hand and dropped it immediatly, flying down to my pack on the bench and fighting it. I thought that was so sweet, more chewed up reminders of her on my backpack. I then placed her on the rail and removed my pack to the platform. She immediately flew to that pack to resume a determined suicidal attack.

I knew the cure. She needed some flight time to burn off energy. I got her up to the wooden rail next to the lake and stepped back to the path. She flew down to the pack. I could see it was stupid of me as the pack and camera case was between me and her and naturally, she might do just that.

Then I placed her nearer to me so that pack and case was no longer in her line of sight. As I gave the recall cue, she jumped yet again down to that pack. Then I placed her on the edge of the bench with the backpack and case well behind her and I stepped back on the path. As I spoke to her, she turned her back on me and poised herself looking at the pack. I knew then that she was just waiting for me to give the recall cue so she could snub me by flying to the pack to attack it. It then dawned on me that perhaps she wanted to go elsewhere.

I then said, "ok, ok, let me pack up. We will ride on the bike to RenYiTang". She then relaxed her pose, fluffed her feathers a couple of times, and then flew to the wooden bannister where she started off from. She fluffed again and proceeded to preen herself. I swore as if she knew she got her point across to me. Knew what I just said to her. I packed up my stuff and gear, walked away to the path, and at first recall cue, she flew immediately to my shoulder, satisfied her lackey learned finally what she wanted.

The bike was not that far, maybe 80 meters or so away. I placed the backpack on her carrier and reached my hand to get her to step up and placed on her perch. I felt something warm and wet on my shoulder as she stepped up. I knew I should have chastised her immediately. I cursed silently instead thinking murderous thoughts of that particular piece of bitchery. She could have pooped when I was packing up. She was a couple of seconds from her perch on that bike that she could have then pooped on. I felt that she was giving me another unspoken and unknown message so bloody deliberately. She looked at me, cocked her head, and resumed her preening.

I started the bike and we rode off. She then did her vocalising of whistles and words and entertaining me all the way to RenYi reservoir lake.

That day was windy. Many people where there and flying so many different kites. Some of those kites were big and elaborate. There was one in particular which was fascinating. It was a modular kind of box kite in a barrel shape with small fins. As it was flying high above, it was also very slowly rotating along it axis of that barrel. Only when it was taken down, I saw the line was attached to the center which must have been a swivel mechanism.

There were too many kites about which I was worried that might spook her if I took her on the dam to fly as usual. We sat by the edge of the lake to watch the kites and fliers and strollers.

Periodically, people would approach us as always. I noticed that they could be generally summarised into 3 groups.

Those who never have parrots would come and talk to the parrot as how cute, ignoring me as if I was just a perch. They then would try to stroke her without asking for permission and a source of irritation for me. They might try to do that from my back which irritate me even more. If they talked to me, it would be to ask if she talked. And another key question from this group would be "Does she shit". On the days I got out from the wrong side of the bed, I would ask them back whether they shit themselves or not.

Then those that had parrots of their own would come and talk to me and say "Tien ah!" or good heaven! Or how could I dare to have her on my shoulder. Or what was her name. A subset of this group would come to tell and tell me that they know how much Tink cost and who go on to say their friends owned greys as well. I always felt very much friendlier to this group who had parrots of their own or knew friends who di while trying to be nice and not too irritated at those who asked if Tink shit or who tried to paw her without asking me.

There were three groups that approached me led by their spokesmen, all who had parrots of their own. Tink would show her recall routines. I would place her away. I then explained in chinese that she would be nervous and needed to settle in a while. My talking away was also more for her to let my voice reassured her while waiting for the right time to initieate recall proper, nornally a minute or so later. That talk also educated them to take their own fids out of the cage regularly to interact and that diet should be more than sunflower seeds.

When she looked at me, I then spoke to her in English and sweet talked her. I was glad I spoke in English to her in a crowd of Taiwanese who could never understand english very well. If they did, the girls might blush, give me a slap, or throw themselves into my arms tearing off their blouses.

At the point she was about to take off, I would ask "are you ready" as a pre recall cue to signal her. Then the recall cue itself would almost be simultaneously as her recall flight to me. If I was alone just with Tink on recall, I would talk to her on anything that struck me, then sweet talk her when she looked at me before the recall itself.

It was getting late and we had to get going. We rode slowly back with her vocalising away or tearing and biting the empty ciggie box I attached to her perch.

I was telling her that I would be away for a short while and regretfully, not taking her with me. That I be back again and be with her.

We reached Yu's apartment and Tink was released from the harness. She flew off to the basket to preen while I packed a few stuff into my small backpack. After a while, her preening over, Tink recognised me again. Yu and I would be leaving the apartment shortly. She listened to my sweet talk but did not seem ready for my recalls. We did not have the time to stay on longer to try that. I told her again I would not be around the next morning or the next few days to be with her and if she let me head rub her. She came lower on her basket and lowered her head and I scratched her softly.

I then rode off on the bike with Yu sitting pillion behind to ride it back later.