Where we both are in Hualien at the mouth of Taroko Gorge staying with friends.
And writing from Internet cafe from 6 pm to 945 pm right now. I would have to leave this Internet cafe at 10 pm as my friend would be back home.
I just did not have the time even to respond to the nice comments writen, amonge them, by Amy, Paulette Kershner and Moccasinlanding. I did not have the time to reply to close friends. Please bear with me. I will reply later.
Being with old friends here in Taiwan, and drinking with them left little time. Then the new company is in touch with me as to details. Among the details would be I would fly back to Singapore on 30 April and then on 2 May at 2amm, I will be flying to Dubai to take up my assignment on 4 May.
Events over last few days with Tinkerbell (19 April Sat - 24 April Thursday when I left Chiayi to go and visit old friends ) compelled me to expand events on 16 April.
16 April Wednesday
In earlier blog entry, I wrote "I created 4 new Tinkerbell harnesses and retired the harness made by Mr Yu." The days before that, it was so easy to get Tink into her harness. I walked up to her holding that harness and she would just fly down to the parrot tower or the heavy cane basket and she would stick her head into the loop. She also knew harness as a precursor in going out with us.
In the making of her new harnesses, I could just make that harness head loop larger than what she had. But in the interest of good fit for her, and as she seemed to have no problems in allowing me to get her harness on, I thought the best way to ensure that good fit was to try it on her. So she flew down to me. I fitted the new harness, both head loop and body straps. Which needed that wee bit of adjusting. So the new harness was removed and suitable adjustments made. I called Tink down again, she was a bit more reluctant. That adjusted harness fitted on, and final adjustment made. Harness was then removed from her. Based on that latest harness size, 3 more harness were made. I called Tink who was even more reluctant to fly to me. She flew out of reach making me walk about the room until she was cornered to wear the latest harness which fitted her very nicely. The harness was then removed.
Then later in that morning, with the weather looking better, I thought we would go to Chiayi Park. I called Tinkerbell down holding her harness. She was very very reluctant to come to me. She flew about the room to all the high perches. Time was getting on. So I thought I will do a very clever ploy.
I placed that harness I was holding very visibly on the table. I told Tinkerbell that no harness at all holding up both my hands showing they were empty. I asked her to fly down to me as I wanted to give her beak rubs. She looked at me, and flew down to the parrot tower and bend her head. I had another harness tucked in my trousers pocket. I reached my hand as to give her beak rub but instead of that, the hand went to pin her on that stand and the other hand drag that harness. She screamed her protests but the harness was on which made me felt rather good.
That was a bad mistake that I had not realised until later events. Especially so when she was so well behaved, with almost instant respond to cues that I thought nothing more of it.
The next two days, with me going to dentistry fixup and days being wet and me doing that earlier update, no harness was worn on Tinkerbell.
18 April Friday evening.
Much of the day was wettish as mentioned earlier. I was doing that updates that you have read.
In the evening Yu organised a dinner at his place with cooking done by his wife. Old friends like the Shi and the Wu and Yu's brother and sister were there. The wives were in the kitchen preparing a slapup dinner and kids were making lots of happy noises. The comings and goings in his place and the easy friendships there were some of the factors why I love Taiwan and the people there so much.
To go with that dinner, Yu brought out this jar of Kaoliang, a harmless looking crystal clear liquor. Big brandy sniffers were filled to 2/3 full and one was pushed into my hand. Ice were brought out and I should have my warning then. The ice cubes dropped into that sniffer sank like stones to the bottom. I swirled that glass as I thought perhaps the shape of the sniffer glass trapped the ice down and not let the ice float up. I added more ice to see them sinking to the bottom and staying there.
I took a sip and I swallowed fire. Then toasts were shouted out, making it compulsory to sip more. With beer, or Scotch, all I needed to do was to take a short walk and I could be back for more. I took that short walk, and again, and again. I was not recovering. They gone on to wine and beer.
I was forced to make my apologies and gone up to my room to sleep it off.
19 April Saturday
Such a beautiful morning it was. Not that it mattered. If you recalled from my earlier blog, I was to go to the hospital dental department to get my dentures. I was told that the dentures were temporary. The dental surgeon hesitated when I asked him on Thursday how long the denture would last, and replied ' a period of time '.
A hospital would frowned on Tinkerbell being there with me even if she was so lovable. So Tink remained at home and she was not harnessed.
So new dentures to replace two of my top left teeth were fitted enabling me to give nice lovely smiles especially to pretty girls.
My wife and I then had lunch and we got back to Yu's house.
I knew later on in the evening, we would all be going to Mr Hsu's place. Another dinner would be prepared there and we would karoke the night away.
There wasnt that much time to take Tinkerbell out. But the day was still looking good and with two wettish days earlier, I thought I would take Tink to just around the neighbourhood to do some recalls.
She refused to fly nicely down to me. So I reached up to her for her to fly away to out of my reach. I spend about 15 minutes chasing her. She even flew to the candy stripped hula hoops that used to keep her off difficult to reach areas. I thought ' oh! she got used to that and perhaps other stuff might have to be used to hex her away from hard to reach areas'. Eventually, by my being a bit quicker, I got her and harnessed her to loud squawks.
She was ok after that. I thought earlier on that she was playing some sort of bloody minded games with me.
I walked out with her in her new beautiful well fitted harness and her work of art of reel/rod assembly. I was proud of her. We went to a field about 200 meters away. She did all recalls very beautifully. The reel with 50 meters of line was more than adequate. I was not going to do those long long recalls of 60-70 meters anymore. I knew Yu was already more than happy with 10 meters recall.
We started with short 5 meters that she was rewarded with sunflower seeds. Than it was 10 meters before we moved on to another part. The maximum we did was 20++ with her from inside an abandoned shed to me outside.
Then we went back.
After she came back, all of us were reluctant to take her out in evenings. We knew karoke last to very late. So Tink was liberated back in her room. Yu's house consist of 3 floors. Ground floor was living room, dining room, kitchen and Yu's bedroom. 2nd floor was palour, kids' studies and bedrooms and Tinkerbell room. Tink room was at the front together with stairway to 3rd floor where we lived.
We went to Mr Hsu's house to have that marvellous dinner. I was still feeling that Kaoliang from night before and I carefully nursed a glass of beer to karoke away.
We came back late. And made our way to our room on 3rd floor passing Tinkerbell room. I looked for her in her sleeping book case but she was not there. Then I saw her perched on the edge of the window sill looking down at the car park. As if she waited and waited for all of us to get back. I spoke softly to her and asked if she wanted head rubs. She bowed her head low into position and got soft gentle head rubs.
I got down to her room later on and was pleased to see her in her bookcase usual sleeping quarters. The next day, Mrs Yu told me she placed her there.
20 April Sunday
This was a very significant day for folks living in Southern Taiwan being the 15th of the 3rd lunar month. The household dieties would be brought to the Kangkou temple to be re-empowered by the Ma-Tsu Goddess of Mercy. There would be a huge crowd of people and lots of firecrackers, much heavy drums and ceremonial instruments. It was not a suitable place to take Tinkerbell to.
I told Tink that as we passed her in her room standing on top of the basket perch on the bookshelf.
We then piled into Mr Yu's car. I could see Tink had flown down to the bottom of the window and looking down at us.
We then went on to pick up others and made our way to that temple. That was the first time I have been there. We passed by many other much bigger temples, but this smaller and less elaborate temple was the important temple. I felt this was perhaps related to the earlier years 6-500 years back when the first emigrants to Taiwan came from China and erected this temple.
The crowd was immense and the noise incredible as you can see from the videos and photos taken of this morning.
We then got back home in the afternoon. I reached Tinkerbell room to find a horrendous mess instead of the neat room I got to know. She dragged the newspaper lining the bottom of the parrot tower to the floor. Baskets and stuff were alll overturned and on the floor. Her box of parrot food were on the floor. I never seen such a mess.
She looked demurely at me from top of her cupboard.
At my call, my wife and the Yus came to her room. To see the result of her tantrum. We all felt so sorry for Tink. Last night she was left at home. And this morning we all went out.
None of us felt anything but tenderness for that little girl. She got her headrubs and beak rubs as we put that toom right. With lots of apologies and explanations in both English and Chinese from all of us.
(Sorry, but have to stop update now at 955 pm 25 Apr)