Monday, May 24, 2010

One More Story Before I Go

We fly to Hong Kong today, which I'm finding both thrilling and nerve-wracking.

I have visions of myself paralyzed on the side of the road while pedestrians stream by, not being able to find an entry point, like a new driver who's frozen and unable to merge.

Then I think, Really? You've lived in New York how long? Surely you will learn.

But before I go, a quick story from Sydney.

So, we go to this restaurant for breakfast one morning, and shortly after sitting down I notice there's what looks to me like a parrot hanging out next to the table of a dour German couple.

The waiter comes by to hand us our menus and I ask him if the parrot belongs to the restaurant. He looks up and says, "Oh, those? They just come here."

Shortly after that two more of these magnificent birds (which I will later learn are Rainbow Lorikeets, a sub-species of the parrot) appear, and I take this picture:

The busser in the background notices and comes over to our table shaking a sugar packet. He pours it into my open hand and the birds flock to us.

The non-tourists around us couldn't be less interested. In fact, they're probably a little disgusted. I'm trying to imagine how I would feel if I saw a tourist back in the States encourage a pigeon onto their tabletop before eating.

But as you can see from this photo, I'm way too delighted to be cool.

I will pay for this later, when one of the lorikeets returns mid-meal to swipe a sugar packet from me.

More and more of his brothers (sisters?) return, and I keep trying to shoo them away--but in a quiet-ish way, so as not to disturb the Aussies around us conducting business meetings. I am unsuccessful.

Until finally Michael puts both hands over his head and says

cawww! CAWWWW!!!

It is so loud that absolutely everyone in the restaurant stops what they're doing, startled.

But it works, and the lorikeets leave us in peace for the rest of our meal.


Busboy said...

I love the delight in your face while the lorikeets eat out of your hand. That is so you. And I laughed out loud at the story of Mike's restoring order with a restaurant-startling crow imitation. The following morning, I was sipping coffee and listening to the birds when all of a sudden I could see and hear quite clearly Mike's crow imitation and the startled patrons. I laughed again, right out loud. It is so Michael.

JM said...

Thank you, Bus Boy! I'm tickled to hear the story followed you into the next day's morning coffee.