Photos and videos in
This journal updated from when I left off on 25 April.
The date and time now is 28 April Monday 6 pm. I got back into Taipei
at 4pm after the train ride into Sungshan station and checked into the same hotel we stayed at when we arrived, and went into the same nearby cyber cafe.
Paulette Kershner, Amy, Moccasinlanding, and all readers:
I wished I had written more, as what I wrote was as much for me as for all of you. What I had written I would then never forget. And to write for all of you, I had to take care to make it understandable for you all rather than uploading the terse notes I probably might have otherwise written only for myself. So by being my readers, and by asking the questions and making the comments you have made, you have allowed me to write much better than if I had written just for myself.
I have always loved animals, but it was Tinkerbell that opened my eyes to a whole new world beyond what I thought I had gone into. All the other subsequent creatures, be they kept or wild, have confirmed that they are sentient and deserving of the respect and dignity due to fellow sentients. By writing of the experiences, the knowledge and the fun they have given me, I hope other people might find similar fun with their beasties.
Time unfortunately is a major constraint on what I can write. I read 'Dangerous Liasons', where daily events were meticulously recorded in letters by the hero and heroine or villains as they may be. I felt they must have spent two days writing with both hands and both feet to cram into words what they had done each day. I wondered how they then found the time to live their lives and events of that day.
So to write more of the past into a book, I must preclude my living of life of the future. When I move on into the next chapter, I think I need time to do other things, such as perhaps having Eckkies or a Grey again, or maybe a falcon. They deserve to have time, not to mention my long suffering wife.
Even while I have tried to write as much as I could and to be as current as possible before fading memories erode too much, I have found in retrospect that my expansion of events of 16 April may not have been detailed enough for you all to understand subsequent events.
For example, much of the conversations I had with very interesting people like that Blue Magpies farmer, and the bantering, and the delight I got when he admired a lighter which I eventually forced him to accept as a gift.
Also, conversation with the Chiangs (who rescued Tink) which was about 4 hours long and touched on many other subjects. And, how to plant and care for organic fruit trees mentioned during the long tour conducted by Ms Chao of her farm, and her humour of life.
Then there was the playing of Tinkerbell between Mr Yu and I when we were at Mr Leow's farm as we sent her flying back and forth between the two of us. The delight and warmth that restaurant owners gave us when they saw Tink back with us.
All that had to be culled very sadly by me as I fought to write what I could in the time I had.
I could not cut time from my friends. The open hearted friendships that they offered to me must be reciprocated. The photos taken by my wife might document more than what was written by me.
It is my luck to have lived and known of such good friends in Taiwan. I know this country is very little known and travelled to because of historical events beyond of grasp of any individual.
Chinese from mainland China started to come to Taiwan around 0 AD, becoming more about 1300AD (Mongol invasion) or when other upheavals occurred in China. Then the Dutch came and controlled Taiwan in the 1500s. Koxinga and remnants of the Ming Dynasty fled from Manchus in the 1600s and kicked out the Dutch. Manchus then came and controlled Taiwan. The Japanese took Taiwan as booty from the Opium Wars thereby giving the Chinese in Taiwan the glory and honour of fighting and dying for the Japanese Emperor. The Nationalists came into Taiwan after being kicked out of China by MaoTseTung. Taiwan was then turned into a isolated pariah state after Peking got into the UN, kicking Taiwan out. TV broadcasts of flying ashtrays, files, fists and shoes in the parliament made Taiwan looked like a violent country. But that's limited only to politicians. 99.99% of the people in Taiwan are not like that. The people here are the most friendly and kindly people I have ever known.
I am privileged to open a window into this part of the world to all of you.
If what I have opened seems to be a happier world to you, that is being done deliberately. I believe the world to be more than what CNN or BBC have showed to us. While pain and death might be more newsworthy, life can consist of happy times too. And even if most of what is happening is bad, can there be anything wrong if we take solace and refuge in reading of some happy times?
I might also have not written on other aspects of life. So for all I know, I am like all of you, a bad guy who does good things at times that I then write about. Or I am a good guy who does bad things at times, that I do not then write too much about? More likely, I am a combination of both.
Continuation of Tinkerbell diary
20 April Sunday
None of us felt anything but tenderness for that little girl. She got her headrubs and beak rubs as we put that room right. With lots of apologies and explanations in both English and Chinese from all of us.
There was something so unusual about that but I could not put my finger on it. Then it struck me that Tink seldom accepted headrubs from me, or Yu until night time. She would always pull her head away should you try to give her headrubs during the day. And yet, she was bowing her head in that 'headrub' position and accepting it from Yu and me, and from our wives.
Without question, Tinkerbell had to be taken out by all of us later that day.
I told Mr Yu I would get her into the harness and he left the room.
When I got the harness in my hand, Tink flew off to perch on the baskets on the book cupboard. I took those baskets down to have her flying to other high points. It was getting very embarrassing as I followed her about with her flying out of reach. A few times, I got her to step up on my hand. But she flew off a few seconds later.
I surrendered and told Mr Yu of my problem. He came into Tink's room, talked to her to step up on his hand and then to step up to his shoulder. He took my harness without Tink flying off. He then walked her into a darker room and slipped the harness on.
When the harness was on Tinkerbell, Tink would be a completely different creature even without the line clipped on.
It then dawned on me that what I had done that day in making and trying new harnesses for Tinkerbell that had annoyed her very much. She was used to going out after wearing the harness.
But since that harness was on already, I thought no more about it other than clipping that line and getting ready to go out with the Yus in their car.
The carrier was taken along as later that afternoon, we would all be going to Mr Yu's temple where he would have a meeting followed then by the temple dinner.
We drove to Renyi lake where some food stalls were by the side of the road to have a bit to eat. We all knew too much meat was not good for Tinkerbell. But she really put the guilt into all of us. All of us saw, and knew Tink had been waiting and watching us go out the previous night. She had seen us came back when she perched on the window sill overlooking the road. Then came that royal tantrum where she wrecked her room, overturning stuff when we all went out in the morning and had not taken her.
The Yus would normally take Tink with them when they went to their factory. Even if they did not, Tink would not throw that kind of tantrum. But we guessed the combination of all of us going out and not taking her that morning was too much for her to bear.
We let her have her favourite pork sausage. We made her eat token greens, carrots and corn. Then I took her to fly recalls. In the matter of flights, I seem to be the one she would do the most with. An hour later, we drove off to the temple. My wife and I then took Tink behind the temple to quiet roads for more flights. Tink was most loving. Gently nibbling my ears and munching my hair in between those flights. We talked about an old girl friend of my wife who lived about there. We had last seen her 4 years back. Since the area had changed, we were not certain just where her home was.
We turned into a road and came onto an amazing collection of cactus. They were looked after with tender care by a 80++ year old sweet darling. She was as fascinated by my Tinkerbell as I was with her cacti. She must have had at least 200 cacti of 70 different types. The bulk of those cacti were kept outside her garden. I wondered how long that would have lasted if kept that way in most other parts of the world.
As we both were lost in mutual admiration, a guy came up to my wife saying his daughter had seen Tinkerbell and recognised us and he had not expected that to be true. It turned out that my wife's friend and her husband were neighbours of that 80++ year old sweet darling.
Time passed and we had to go back to the temple. By that time, the Wus and the Hsus were there. We had had dinner together 3 nights in a row. I had got smarter since that bout with kaoliang. I made sure my drinks were liberally watered down this time.
The temple dinners have now become a tri-monthly event, down from the monthly events they had been when I first got to know them. The temple committee had long since accepted me as a special member and I could take Tink to dinner without any complaints at all. After all, it was not as if I was in Chaiyi all the time.
But I had to remain very vigilant to avoid any bad feelings from arising in the first place. Tink was moulting and I was worried her feathers floating about might not endear her to others. She was then stuffed into her carrier and placed at my feet. She was fed morsels by me now and then, and with my finger for her to chew on at other times.
21 April Monday
It was not a good looking morning, with a grey sky and with even greyer patches of sky. But it was not raining even if it threatened to rain.
The Yus had all left the house. All we had to do was to take Tink out and lock the house up.
After that wonderful tantrum and feel good session with Tink, I thought all was forgiven until I tried to harness her. The step ups that I thought I wired permanently into her were wilfully ignored by her. I started to chase her about the room. I ate humble pie and got my wife into the act hoping she would limit the high landing places of Tink. Darling Tink who would never hurt anyone (as I told my wife) lunged at my wife's finger. I told my wife that it was all bluff by Tink. My wife would have none of it and retired from her blocking role.
By sheer persistence (and with thoughts of going to fishing shop to get a big fishing net), I eventually got Tink into the harness. And once in her harness, Tinkerbell was back to being that charming delightful girl, who knew she was going for her nice breakfast of mi-ger or sticky rice with savoury pork and for a ride on her bike again. We had that after dropping in first to say hi to Mr Yu in his factory.
(time taken out at 8pm to go for dinner at LuoherJia night market opposite cybercafe)
(continued after dinner, just enjoying the sights and sounds of night markets here, watching CNN after over 2 weeks of no CNN. Time 1120pm now)
I felt sorry I had to abandon that 80++ sweet darling yesterday and I was going to make it up to her. I had an interest in cactus and succulents with a nice collection which I had given to Mrs Yu who likes plants. I noticed that my sweet darling's big collection lacked the L Williamsi. It so happened that the L Williamsi I had given Mrs Yu had grown and had little buttons. Sweet darling was delighted with the 2 buttons I gave her. She knew what I given to her. She showed me that she had one of that, but that was small and dying.
Her collection had been the awe and inspiration of many living around her. My wife's friend that we visited briefly later was amazed and even more delighted that I could give her neighbour a cactus that she never had before.
We then continued our way to Langtang lake, that being not too far away.
We postponed going to the Zen temple at Sanpaushan as that was too far away even if posters there on lost Tinkerbell needed to be torn down.
We wanted a better test of all safety procedures. The weather was still not looking too good. We told Mr Yu we would probably be back in the early afternoon.
That carrier was taken with us to our usual place on that wooden platform on the lakeside. An extra 5+ meters of line were pulled. The reel lock was set in place. The beautiful work of art of reel and rod now had this line guide close to the reel to ensure the the line flows from and onto the reel. 2 strong rubber bands anchor onto the guide and coil around the reel and line and are angled back, hooking onto the guide. This cannot spring free ever again.
The rod and reel were velcroed with velcro tape to the backpack. Tink became fascinated with the velcro. We were more fascinated by how quickly Tink learned to unvelcro the velcro. She had showed little interest when we used the velcro the first time a few days ago at Chiayi park. But it was different today.
Other owners better pray their wonderful gals and guys are not like Tinkerbell and will not zieeee and unvelcro themselves. Maybe Tink is the current reincarnation of Houdini and not the typical parrot.
We then used a big YingYang carabiner to secure the rod/reel to the backpack. Tink played with that carabiner for a week before, and in flying with that to me in the retrieve recalls she entertained that farmer with Blue Magpies. For good measure, that rod/reel was wedged under the backpack as well.
Tink showed she liked the carrier. She would be on the wooden balustrade and would climb down and into that carrier. And out of the carrier. We then did some recalls. Starting from 5 meters and then to 25 meters. And to me up that flight of steps. Accepting sunflower seeds and beak rubs. Once in a while, head rubs too.
After one such flight, she pulled her skin back. I did not know why she showed discomfort but I took her back to base camp. She immediately went back into her carrier. Only after a while did she come out again.
Then when we felt sleepy, or when we were not going to give her 100% attention, Tink got stuffed into the carrier and the door was latched shut. No squarking from her.
We left for a lunch of beef noodles. Largely so that Tink can enjoy the noodles. With the 80++ grandpop grinning at the sight of Tink again on his table slurping the noodles in. He would always be entertained by Tink's flight recall back to the bike from that table.
After that, Tink was surrendered to Mr Yu in his factory. Who then placed Tink where she could oversee what he and his people do.
Our bones and backs were aching. And we liked the Quohua swimming complex and the series of hot pools, medicinal herbs hot baths, ice cold pools, all kinds of water jets. With open air places to sit and lie around and where one can smoke without being felt to be a leper as in many parts of the world. An entire tasty delicious pineapple cut to pieces for 35NT and helpings of wonderful aromatic fermented toufu with pickled veges made that afternoon 7th heaven.
(breaking off 29 April 1:15 am)
(resumption at 29 April 2pm, after a late breakfast, hunting down an available dental surgeon for emergency and getting back into the cyber cafe. Lucky today is a drizzly day)
We came back in the evening and were with Mr Yu in the living room who had taken Tinkerbell back. Tink was released from her harness and spent time preening away. We knew preening time was sacred to Tink. When she was done, she flew to Mr Yu, then bowed her head for her headrubs. After a while, Yu asked Tink to go to me to her quiet refusal. I helped her to come to me. After a mere 10 seconds or so with me, she lifted her head to look at Yu and then flew to him.
It was as should be. The torch had been passed. It's her life with him. I felt no pain and was very very pleased by that.
I did not think I ever get total closure. That was a good closure and I am very happy with it.
I will not stop loving her, just as I suspect all of you will continue to love her, except this love will be that much sweeter without having the gnawing pain of missing and yearning for her. The pain is largely gone now.
Tinkerbell will be Mr Yu's Tinkerbell. I will be a key figure of her past. I will be a part of her present wherever and whenever I am back with her.
And of course, later on in the evening when I brought Tink to her bedroom of her bookshelf, she bowed her head, and guggled at me when I gave her headrubs. Every so often, she turned her head up to gently nibble on my finger and then resumed her position with her head down for more headrubs. As her lackey, I continued to improve on what was provided.
I noticed the street light shines into her bookshelf. I arranged a bit more shade to block that street light to give her more darkness when she slept.
22 April Tuesday
What a beautiful morning this day started up with. It was a day that promised fine weather and the type of day in which we normally would go to farther places. But it was not to be.
The evening before, the hospital had called to remind me of a dental checkup on the new dentures. I told them it fitted so well that I cancelled the checkup to give me more time with Tink. Then before I went to sleep, I removed that new denture and to my horror, the crown of the tooth that denture clips on to was removed as well. At least this time, the steel pin had not come off the root. I had hopes that perhaps it might not be that bad.
It was difficult, so frustratingly difficult to get Tinkerbell into the harness. I had hoped for a much easier time with Tink this morning but it was not so. Eventually that was done and we took her to leave her with Mr Yu at the factory.
Luckily, I was fitted into the dental department's schedule and my crown was quickly fitted back on. I did say my teeth were bad and I doubt that is the fault of the new dentures. The new dentures were adjusted and fitted back.
The surgeon had xrayed my mouth and pointed a host of problems much earlier. My short time precluded more being done. Some emergency works that he could and was prepared to do would have left my mouth numbed. As you recall I knew I had a series of 3 major dinners in a row, so I nixed that option.
I was happy enough to get out with a lot of the day left.
We went back to the factory to collect Tinkerbell.
Earlier thoughts of going to Zen temple to tear down lost Tinkerbell posters had to be dropped. We decided we let the typhoons, rains and weather to do that.
We went to the railway station to book our tickets to TaiDong. I walked inside with Tinkerbell on my shoulder while my wife went to the counter. None of those station people minded me there. Tinkerbell on shoulder was ok with them as long as she was not a live crab. All live crabs are banned from trains and stations. Ever since a guy brought a sack of live crabs on a train. Some came out and one was stepped on. He wanted 300 NT as compensation for a crab costing 30 NT that the other guy refused to pay. That resulted in fisticuffs. I did not know who won and who lost except all live crabs have been banned from trains and stations since.
We then went back to LangTang lake to where we were yesterday. We bought BianTan, or Japanese Bento (which is written the same), or packet lunches.
Today was much more windy than yesterday. Some of the bamboo stems were broken. At different winds, soft whistling sounds rose, rising and falling with the wind. Maybe that was why another guy was there as well with feet folded over his thighs and deep in some meditations.
We set up the procedures as yesterday. In between flights I decided to make even more spare harnesses for Tinkerbell.
I had an earlier harness made to get exact template from. Then as I was making a harness, my mind went back to that day when I made and fitted Tink harness earlier. It then struck me that perhaps it was not the fitting and refitting that had upset Tinkerbell so much. She did not like that very much.
I then thought it was that trick I played on Tinkerbell at the end. When I told her I was not going to harness her, left the harness visibly on the table, and kept one hidden in my pocket. I told her I wanted to give her beakrubs, and when she came, I grabbed her, laughed at my 'cleverness', and slipped a harness on her feeling all fair in war and love and parroty stuff.
I did not even give her beakrub at that time. I was anguished at what a monster I had been to Tinkerbell on that day.
She was in the carrier as I could not be 100% attentive to her when making harnesses.
I let her out. She was always sweet to me even if I was not her first choice for headrubs in evenings while in living room.
I talked to her of that day. How sorry I was to have pulled that horrid trick on her. How much she would always mean to me. She did not seem to pay me any notice. I walked off with her to do some flights. She did as before, which was always swift and on cue.
We had our lunch. We gave her what would be generous, noodles, rice, veges with a bit of meat. She decided our portions looked better and jumped down from the fence to join us as we ate. She bullied my wife from her noodles with meaty sauce. My wife claimed she had enough. Tink dug into that meaty sauce. After that guilt trip I just had with my realization about how badly I had tricked her, I smiled weakly at Tink and let her dig in. She then decided what I was having was better. I also decided I had had enough. She then chose as she wished between our two bentos.
With walks, flights and the occasional incarceration into the carrier so we could read or have some peace, that day went by too quickly.
Our time with Tinkerbell was coming to an end soon. We would be leaving Chiayi for TaiDong on Thursday morning at 820am. Wednesday would be my last full day in Chiayi with Tinkerbell.
We got back early in the afternoon.
Mr Yu wanted to take us to a new place for dinner. He had seen by the number of people there that it might be a good Japanese place. It was just the 3 of us. Mrs Yu had to ferry the kids to their tuition classes and back and could not join us. So many poor Taiwanese kids have to do school the whole day and tuition classes the whole night. I felt so sorry for them, the fear that the Jones are getting better by getting more tuition resulting in tuition schools after tuition schools. This would be the same in Korea, and Japan and many Asian countries. By the way, not only had I no tuition, I cut most of my classes starting when I was in high school and continuing in the university as well. I was too busy having fun, going with girls, or being a student radical and student leader. The grades I got surprised my dad and my friends, and me most of all.
I felt and I told the Yus that perhaps all this running around for tuition is almost like syndrome of 'The Emperor and his new clothes'. Mr Yu laughed, and Mrs Yu gave a weak smile.
Tink was left in her room.
It was a stall by the side of the road, with dining places behind and spreading onto the sidewalk. The chef and owner was in a traditional Japanese short kimono and a headband on his head. Many tables were taken but it was ok as we managed to get a table.
Since Mr Yu was new there and did not know what was good, he told that guy to give us his JauPai Chai, or signature dishes. That guy nodded and told us we would be happy.
In a short time, we got a big dish of mixed sashimi and a few other dishes that I would not even try to describe. Those dishes all came on different ceramic plates. Even if the ambience was the roadside, that all-important presentation that is a hallmark of excellent Japanese cuisine came across very well.
What I can honestly say is that those were about the best dishes I have ever had and I thought myself to be a connosieur of Japanese cuisine. The salmon sashimi was so good that I requested a second dish of salmon sashimi. That chef had the time to chat to us, and said that he had that stall there for 30+ years.
Yu mentioned to me of his worry that Tink sometimes threw up. I laughed and assured him that it was a parrot gesture of affection. I reassured him he did not have to regurgitate in response to Tinkerbell. I told Mr Yu of the difficulty I had with Tinkerbell's harness and what I thought was the reason. And even if Wednesday was the last day with her, I would rather not take Tinkerbell out if I had to chase her the way I had had to over the last few days. With 2 flasks of Japanese rice wine, that was a great evening for all of us and we ate well.
That meal was made without Mr Yu setting any price. When it was all done, the bill was 1,360 NT or about 40 USD. This will be a place I would return to with any friends who love good Japanese cuisine. I would love to give you the name and the address. Unfortunately, that just cannot be translated well into English. I will try later to take a photo of his card and place that into Flickr.
We got back home. Tinkerbell was in her sleeping quarters. I was happy that the shade I made (and told Yu about) worked well as no street light got to her. I called her softly to have her quiet reply. At my request for headrub, she turned her head and bang bang banged softly. I gently rubbed her head to her alternate beaking of my finger. I told her again that I was sorry at my mean-ness for tricking her and that tomorrow would be my last full day before I left Chiayi and her.
I then went up to my room for the night.
23 April Wednesday
I had my couple of Mr Brown BlueMountain coffee cans on the rooftop with a couple of ciggies. Running through my head the events of the past. The 3rd floor opens onto the rooftop patio with a clear view of other rooftops, padi fields, and if the air is clear, the central mountain range that runs the spine of Taiwan to the West of us.
This morning was such a morning, as if a place setting for that last day with Tink here. My leaving of her on the 24th was planned, not just so we could see old friends, but also my care in not overstaying our welcome. We were clearly welcomed by the Yus and all, but with best of care, strains might come about. I liked them all too much to ever allow that to happen.
When I went down to Tink's room, I was nervous. I walked to Tink who remained at the edge of her sleeping quarters. I told her that this is the last day before we leave her. I took her harness and held it visibly and moved to her.
She remained where she was. When that loop came near to her, she moved her head into that loop.
I was close to weeping. She humbled me so much. With love, I tucked the body straps under the wings and brought them to the front, threading the body line and locking the harness.
So the apologies I made yesterday to her had been understood by her and she knew I was truly very sorry.
We got ready and then rode to Mr Yu's factory nearby. We then went for our MiGer breakfast of sticky rice and savoury pork, and to say farewell to our friends there. There were going to be a few farewells later in that afternoon. So it was not going to be the entire day out with her.
We went on to the LangTang lakeside. This is a huge lake even if the level of the water was low, waiting for a typhoon to fill her. There were many other places even if that wooden platform was one of our favourites.
We went a few km after the usual place to the double pavilion, one pavilion nearer the water edge and the other a terrace higher.
We sat on the wood platform outside the lower pavilion. Just being together, doing some flights now and then. Watching a guy casting nets trying to land some fish at the much diminished reservoir far below us. More guys came. With us all at a higher level, the fishes could be seen more easily. They shouted advice as to where the fishes were. It was not to me to say why were they fishing where no fishing was allowed. And with the low level of the water at that. So with the man following directions where to cast nets, I projected thoughts to the fish urging them to swim further out of reach.
It was time to go. Tink did a last flight for me. From a hand rail from far below to me up two flights of steps. We left there to the sounds of a saxophone player fingering his notes, insisting to my praises that he was just a guy with a long way to go. I walked off smiling the same thoughts, that I am a student with birds and creatures with a long long way to go and I know I never ever want to think I am a master. That way, I will continue on with my lessons from all beasties.
We returned Tinkerbell to Yu at his factory in the early afternoon, dropping by the fishing shop to say goodbye to that guy there. We made our way to that QuoHwa swimming complex to enjoy that for another few hours and to say our goodbyes again to friends there and returning to the factory afterward.
Yu took rest of the afternoon off. He drove us all with Tinkerbell to Mr Hsu's factory, the first time I ever been there. Mr Wu's factory had all the lathes, Mr Hsu had all the big cutters. We sat in his ornate office with old mother of pearl inlaid blackwood furniture drinking Chinese tea with his wife and chatting away.
Mr Hsu had spent some time in Singapore. He told us, to my embarrassment, how many times he had been overcharged in the tourist eating places there. I could see how that came about. He took trust and honesty for granted having lived his life in Taiwan and Chiayi. He ordered dinners without first demanding the price and checking with a fine toothed comb in Singapore. I cringed with shame as I recalled the Japanese dinner we had last night in Chiayi. We said goodbye and left.
After we were a few km away and on our way for a bite at a reknowned goose meat restaurant, I remembered Zorro who was buried at a plot at Mr Hsu's factory together with his favourite dogs so they could continue to play and be happy. I did not tell Mr Yu who was likely to turn his car sharply around to go back again.
Tink was well known there at the restuarant too. Except this time she was with me. And she pleased the staff at that restaurant who saw her flew an easy 15 meters recall to me.
Mr Yu had not met the fishing shop's Mr Chew. Yu was also very thankful for that beautiful work of art Mr Chew made of Tink's rod/reel. So after the goose meat meal, I guided Mr Yu to Mr Chew's shop. Mr Chew shook Mr Yu's hands and said that they are friends all brought together by a bird. We all laughed.
They never been into the Internet as English is to them what Chinese is to you. A language that they took fright at and shuddered away from. I told them they could not imagine the big world of people who spoke different languages, people who might not stand the sight or thought of others and yet united by coming and knowing of Tinkerbell and Yingshiong. Arabic speakers and Hebrews, Iranians and people of USA, Chinese, Japanese. Muslims of Indonesia and Thais and all finding out birds can be better and sing better given that bit more consideration.
Today was also a rare evening. All the three Yu children were not going to tuition classes. So all of us could go and enjoy that wonderful fried beef noodle and beef soup with Tinkerbell together. I managed to pick up this bill. I appealed to the owner (who knew me very well) how unfair it was I had so few chances to treat them all to dinner on their excuses I was a 'guest'.
Then we went back and I took Tink up to sleep.
24 April Thursday
We were up early.
I walked to the back roof top for my last can of Mr Brown coffee and a ciggie. The day was too muggy to see the mountain range. I harnessed Tink for the last time in this trip.
We were all out of the house by 645am. The kids were sent to their schools. Then Mr Yu took us after that to a breakfast restaurant I and my wife had never been to that specialises in fish porridge. Which as you all expected was delicious. Other plates of fish delicacies were ordered, chewy fish air bladders and fishy livers. Some of the stuff the rest of the world would throw away are happily dined and enjoyed by the Chinese. Just as you do not know fish swim bladders, neither do you know and enjoy chicken feet, duck necks and duck feet among just a few.
Then the five of us arrived at the Chiayi Railway Station.
When I came, the rest of the time stretched wonderfully ahead of us. In almost a wink of a eye, it had come to an end. In this time, unlike 3 months ago, the goodbyes were poignant and yet happy.
Unlike Dec 2007 when I thought I had achieved final closure and total healing and then given the fright of my life at Bantienyen, I knew now that the healing was not as total as I had thought nor the closure as final. But that process has now resumed.
She will always remain as that first love.
I knew that I would return yet again to see them and Tinkerbell, perhaps to see my friends at Chiayi as much as to see Tinkerbell.
They went back to the car and got on their way.
We got on our train and the journey we were to make.
(stopped for dinner at 9pm)
(came back at 11 pm and decided to adjourn and post this as we have to sleep soon to wake up at 430am next day to catch an early plane to get back to Singapore)