After weeks of coverage about my life in Thailand, I need to take a step back and discuss the birdcrap counter. Not too long ago, I posted about the birds who have crapped on my head – 9 birds, in just under 2 years of travel. I wrongly thought that this would be the end of the birdcrap counter, but alas I was mistaken: this morning, an Asian Koel bird (picture, above left) took a shit on my noggin.
Inevitably, when I update the Birdcrap Counter I receive a slew of responses about how lucky I am. It is true that in most cultures, getting defacated on by a winged creature (and, I’ve been told, a gecko) is extremely lucky. It is also true that I have been extremely lucky on a personal level – 2 years doing what I’ve always dreamed of, with a set of energetic, fascinating new friends and some incredible memories.
So bring it on, birds of the world. It’s a small price to pay for the aggregate of my many adventures on the road.
The Birdcrap Saga: Is it REALLY good luck?
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Crap 10: Bangkok, Thailand
The Crap: I was on my way to the hospital this morning, to get a chest x-ray and a doctor to figure out why my cough has been worsening day by day. (The answer, it turns out, involves my nights spent inhaling black smoke from the tyres burning on my corner.)
Living in a garden has its benefits: lovely green vines, a cosy place to read – and many colourful birds. Among them, the Asian Koel who not only wakes me at 4am with its ‘wah-waaaaah’ sounds, but also likes the look of my head.
Crap 9: Yangon, Myanmar
The Crap:In the midst of explaining that birds love to take a crap on my head, a pigeon decided to punctuate the tale by shitting on me. The fact that I was actually talking about the Official BirdCrap Counter to a Canadian couple whilst the crap occurred was extraordinary. Being Burma, a crowd gathered within seconds as the 3 of us doubled over with laughter at the side of a busy street, wondering what had us so out-of-control.
Craps 7 & 8. Nyangshwe, Inle Lake, Myanmar
The Crap: A twofer, courtesy of Burmese birds. The first crap occurred while I was standing outside of the beautiful Mingalar Inn, my home in Nyangshwe for the week. I had, of course, just showered and washed my hair. While talking to the owner about my day, a magpie let a huge one rip and it landed squarely on my skull. Trying to explain the Birdcrap Counter to the hotel was a huge fail, but at least Honza and Sergey, two new traveling friends, had a good laugh at my expense. That night, as the 3 of us were drinking wine, another bird shat on my head (and on my bag – it was a spread-out crap). On the bright side: I had witnesses for my 2nd twofer of the Official Birdcrap Counter.
Crap 6: El Nido, The Philippines
The Crap: Spending several months in El Nido gifted me some of the happiest memories of my life – and Crap #6. Nestled into the Bacuit Bay and surrounded by huge karst cliffs, the town is ground zero of a multitude of bird species, one of which took a liking to my small head. The unfortunate event occurred while I was scaling one of the limestone cliffs, so by the time I returned to town I stunk like it was nobody’s business.
Crap 5: Ko Phang-an, Thailand
The Crap: A month of yoga on a tropical island should translate into a state of total zen. And while I was calmer than I’ve ever been, Crap #5 didn’t make me smile. There might have been a small temper tantrum on Haad Salad beach.
Crap 4: Gandantegchinlen Monastery, Ulan-Bator, Mongolia
The Crap: Pigeons are considered good luck in Mongolia, and feeding them is encouraged. As a result, there are plenty of pigeons to go around, which becomes abundantly clear when visiting a monastery, aka a pigeon-feeding zone. Crap #4 had me spluttering with rage when a pigeon let one loose on my head and then landed next to me and looked up, expecting food. He did not get any.
Crap 3: The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The Crap: En route to the lovely Isla Española in the Galapagos Islands, a trail of giant frigate birds followed our boat in its wake, weaving to and fro above us. Of course, this meant that one of them took a shit. And of course, it landed on me. Given the size of these birds, let’s just say I needed more than 1 shower to clean it off.
Frigate birds, incoming!
Craps 1 & 2: Paracas, Peru.
The Crap: When winding my way up the coast of Peru, a visit to Paracas made perfect sense. Known as Peru’s Galapagos, the Islas Ballestas and the Paracas National Park are home to cormorants, penguins, condors, pelicans and flamingos, as well as dolphins, sea lions, turtles, sharks and more. Unfortunately for me, the sheer volume of birds meant that I was statistically doomed to be shat upon. Which I was, twice. And every other tourist in the boat got out unscathed.
And thus concludes the current state of the Official Birdcrap Counter. With only a few weeks left on this trip before heading back home for the summer, I am curious to see whether I’ll have a #11 to report.
Until then, warily watching the sky wherever I go,