From:  shan lung <shanlung9@y...>
Date:  Thu Mar 11, 2004  5:49 pm
Subject:  Papagei

Not all the encounter with kids have been bad.

Last weekend was a much better weekend.

Another Taiwanese friend and a former colleague called
me that she is back from Germany and in the country
with her 6 year old daughter Nadia to see her parents
for a while. She is married to a very good German
friend and former colleague, Ralf that I worked with
in Taiwan and in Germany. I have followed the
daughter from the time she came into the world and
through the years via photos whenever Ralf visited me
and by way of the Internet. It will be so nice to
see them again and their daughter in flesh so I very
happily accepted their request to stay with
her parents and have dinner with them over Saturday

After my recent holiday in NZ where I drove 4-5000 km,
renting a car and driving 300 km via freeway up to
ChongLi to see them was like taking a few steps out of
the backyard. Tinkerbell came with me and my wife
of course. After the earlier horrendous weekend, I
needed to build up my brownie points with Tink again.

But of course, it was not just a straight drive. I
took the opportunity to check out a few other places I
have been to many years ago. I was curious as to the
impact of the 921 major earthquake of 7.6 Richter
scale in 1999. One of my favourite highway, the
Central Cross Island highway, was cut when the side of
the mountain came down. That road remained cut and I
was turned back.

I got lost approaching their parent's house in ChongLi
and reached there in the evening. Another former
colleague was there. We were pleased to
renew old bonds forged by working together in
exciting environment and with shit up and beyond the

Great as it was to see my friends again, seeing their
daughter gave me the most pleasure. Nadia was such a
sweet looking girl to start with, but when she took
pleasure at something and slowly smiled, she lit up
the world all around her. Susan, her mom spoke to her
only in Chinese and Nadia will reply back to her in
such fluent Chinese that I can blush if I am not that
thick skinned. I mentally told myself that I need to
tell people my Chinese language ability is that of a 5
or 4 year old instead of the 6 year old that I was
fond of telling people before.

Then when her dad talked to her in German, she will
reply in German, a language I gave up trying to learn
even when I worked and lived in
Bavaria for a while. She was delighted and fascinated
by Tinkerbell. I asked her in Chinese what is parrot
called in German.

She told me 'papagei'.

The house had a big living room. Normally the harness
would have been left on Tinkerbell although that will
be taken off when we retire back in the hotel room.
Seeing the house had mosquito screen on all windows
and as Tink was in the harness the whole day, I
removed the harness with a tinge of anxiety but to
Tink's great pleasure. The presence of 5
other people and Nadia inhibited Tink from flying
about and Tink was content just to remain on my
shoulder to stretch and preen.

When Susan's mom invited us all for dinner, I
apologetically told them Tinkerbell needed to join us
too. To my big relief, Tink remained on my shoulder
and delicately ate the little morsels that I had to
offer her. Susan's parents are Khek and Khek cuisine
prepared by her mom was just unbelievably delicious.
Whenever I took from a dish that I did not
offer to Tink, she would walk her way down to my arm
and try to steal a bite. Tink was very well behaved
and with a "No! back to shoulder", Tink walked up my
sleeve and got back to the shoulder. It was as if
Tink knew. At home when we eat and did not offer her,
Tink will fly and try to balance on the edge of the
plate to help herself.

With the dinner over, we went back to the living room
to enjoy the wonderful mulberry wine made by Susan's
father. There was this hint of cinnamon and spices
but he told me none ever were added to the mulberry
and grapes he used. Tinkerbell was placed back to the
basket perch where she preened herself while we
chatted in little groups with tongues loosen by

After half an hour or so, Tinkerbell must have
thought she preened and stretched enough. I heard a
flapping of wings and turned my head to see Tinkerbell
taking off the basket perch.

It was a big living room with high ceiling. The 9 of
us and Nadia ceased all conversations. Trepidation
filled my heart. Paintings and vases lined the walls.
I wondered if I have to demean myself in front of
everyone in begging and wheedling Tink to come to me
later on.

10 pairs of eyes watched Tinkerbell as she very slowly
flew around the room following the wall. She paused
and hovered at the corners before continuing her
flight. Now and then, she paused and hovered eyeing
ledges that I never noticed and I bet others never
noticed either. She paused again at the space
connecting the living room to the stair case
and the dinning room but continued in her circuit
around the room.

She then turned and headed to me landing very softly
on my shoulder and gave my ear a nibble. I gave a
inner sigh of relief.

The silence broke. They all chuckled at what they
just witnessed and at the pleasure so obvious on my
face. Susan's father told me Tinkerbell was like my
daughter. I agreed with him and told him I saw her
that way too and that she would not have allowed me to
have dinner without her. I asked Tink to step up and
as my hand moved towards the basket perch, she saved
me the trouble by flying over back to her perch.

That was not planned, and in not being planned, I
felt so much nicer in the way it so serendipitily

She remained on her basket perch until I move away.
Ever time I moved 5-6 meters from her, she lifted
herself and flew to my shoulder. Joy's
movements were ignored by Tink.

That folks, was a much better evening than the week


From: shan lung <shanlung9@y...>
Date:  Wed Apr 14, 2004  8:17 pm
Subject:  Papagei continued

Papagei at ChongLi

Tinkerbell flyabout was not captured. All of us were
stunned and open-mouth for that first few seconds to
think of picking up a camera. Then when we thought of
it, the digital cameras required a couple of seconds
to warm up which by then, the show was over and we
went back to more important business of drinking and
talking and drinking.

We stayed over at Susan’s house for the night.
Unfortunately for Tinkerbell, she was stuffed back
into the carrier as the bedroom we used had too many
curtains and stuff to let her roam about the room.
If it had been a hotel room, Tink would be kept in the
bathroom. But Tink is also allowed to sleep with us
in the hotel room now and then. That really depend on
the state of the room.

The next morning, after exercising Tink in the garden
and breakfast, we left them early as they had to go
to a wedding.

After driving 300++ km all the way up to ChongLi, we
were not going to go back to Chiayi just yet.

Another of the reason for going to ChongLi was that
one of my best Taiwanese friend ChengHung was living
in that town. I known him through one of those quirk
of fate, almost as if we were destined to meet. It was
way back in 1990 when I was first in Taiwan and as
advisor to the construction of the mass rapid transit
system for Taipei City.

A crash of my PC HD over a year ago wiped out so many
pictures I have taken of my travels in remote areas of
China and Tibet and elsewhere where even Coca Cola
cannot be bought for love or money. Much of my
earlier letters and diaries were lobotomized away as

But there are still some fragments remaining and one
just fragment covered the time when I first met
ChengHung. Perhaps if you are interested, you can
read what occurred about 15 years ago. I think I
wrote better in those days even if I do not talk about
fids. That diary entry was written immediately on my
return from that trip. I mentioned him as the Lone
Ranger in the diary.

We did a lot of mountain climbing and going about
Taiwan together after that. I flew back into Taiwan
for his wedding 10 years ago and we drop by to see
each other whenever we were in the same neck of the

We were delighted to see each other again as the last
major meeting up was about 8 months ago. I have yet
to finish that part of Tink’s saga (1/2 written) to
send it up as well.

He took us for lunch at this quaint restaurant. It
was an old typical Chinese farmhouse converted to a
restaurant with great dishes. Those dishes were not
as colorful and flamboyant as the dishes you saw at
that Rhino beetle farm saga. No ducks tongue
marinated in special sauces and no crispy yummy
crickets fried in batter to entice the taste buds of
you folks. Just good solid food that even you folks
will enjoy if you do not ask too many questions.

You do see with a harness, Tinkerbell get to go to
many places.

After that, he mentioned that he like to take us for a
walk up the mountain nearby that overlooked the ShiMen
reservoir. I nearly gave him a worried look as his
stamina and leg muscles have been the order that
masochists doing triathlon dreamed about. That last
major meeting was to go for a 2 day trek up 4000 meter
Jade Mountain that I begged off from though I, Joy and
Tink did see him and others off at the start. Why not
? Especially when the start-off point was a hotspring
town surrounded by beautiful mountains. But now his
wife LingLing and kids which include a toddler were
with us too. I felt with some confidence I could
match their pace. A bit painful now when not that
long ago, I thought nothing of treks of 30 km a day
together with changes in elevation of 4-5000 meters
carrying backpack of 25-30kg.

So many people go to this path for walks that small
stalls sprung up by the side to separate fools, wise
men and all those in between from their money for
walking sticks, titbits and geegaws. Added a colorful
start too to the beginning of the trek too.

It was a nice short 30 minutes walk in the woods with
Tink on my shoulder. Her leash had about 2-3 meters
of freeway . The only reason why I limit it to 2-3
meters is that longer line tend to entangle or get
caught up. She remained on my shoulder as in most
other cases when she goes out with me. In the many
times she came out and on my shoulder, only on very
few occasions did she tried to fly away. Once was
when I stumbled and another time, we were at where she
spooked during the free flight and I suspected the
airport nearby to be responsible. In any case, that
was nearly a year ago when she was first brought out
in harness.

That was such a civilized ‘mountain climbing’ that I
hardly have a thirst when we reached the little coffee
house at the end of the path. That was set on a ridge
overlooking the ShiMen reservoir down below.

Remembering my role as a roving parrot ambassador,
Tink was put through her recall paces to the delight
of others. And I do my best in answering if she talk
and the physical and emotional needs that hopefully
they will remember.

We then headed back to Chiayi. We stopped at one of
the rest stops on the freeway to give the 3 of us a
break from the car. Most of the other drivers seemed
to be in such hurry that parks attached to those rest
stops were deserted. Not that I mind it terribly as
Tink could have a nice fly with less people or no one
else looking on.

Papagei at ChongLi

With warmest regards

Joy - wife, Tinkerbell - CAG & surrogate daughter

earlier emails and photo links on Tink -
(with long overdue update done! 25Feb04)