Updated Crap Counter: Eleven Birds, One Bat.

Two more craps have occurred since I last updated The Crap Counter: one from a bird and one from a bat. According to friends, family and strangers I’ve met on my travels, these are all good luck. At some point, however, good luck has morphed into confusion and now paranoia. I see a bird and I think ‘Really birds? REALLY?’. People say that bird shit is good luck. At this point I’m more than concerned because the counter is rocketing skywards and I’m not sure when it will stop.

Take this evening’s crap in Paris, for example: I had just crossed the street, was standing on a curb about to turn away, and *thwak* something fell and hit the left side of my head, hard. I touched my hat, took a look at all the goo on my glove and, gesticulating wildly, yelled ‘Eleven?! WHAT THE…?’ to my friend Patrick’s embarrassment. The culprit: a pigeon high up above us, swaying in the wind. How did crap manage to find me from 20 feet in the air? I don’t know. The conspiracy theorist in me is getting concerned.

Why the birds hate me and only me?

2011 update: I’ve been subsequently crapped on by one more bird, during Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa. At least my craps are now coinciding with my country’s national holidays? Perhaps it was a well-wish, and not just a number in the same old vendetta.

My hat, with today’s new crap.

The bat was no exception: in the Dominican Republic on a press trip, I was in a cave with a group of other bloggers. One lone bat flew over our heads and took a crap on only me. Twice. On the boat ride over to the cave, I told the group about my Crap Counter, understandably concerned about the sheer number of cormorants on the jagged rocks nearby. But the cormorants left me alone, leaving the dirty work to one brave bat.

Teeming mass of baby bats
Teeming mass of baby bats in the Dominican.

I have no idea why my head is so desirable to birds (and a bat). I have a small head; I would think other people’s normal-sized heads would make a better landing spot. In due course, I’ve come to react instinctively when I’m in a bird-filled place: I cringe, and I sidle away. I know this means the birds win, but I also know that bird crap takes time to clean out of my hair.

Where will the next crap occur? Only time will tell.

For those of you newer readers who have not yet had the opportunity to laugh at the invisible target on my head, viewable only to winged creatures (we hope….), here are the prior 10 craps that made it to The Crap Counter:

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.)

The beautiful garden outside my room in Din Daeng

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.

The culprit: Yangon, Myanmar.

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.

Yeah, well I’m watching you too, birdie.

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.

Mongolia’s monasteries: pigeon central

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.

Cormorants, waiting to crap on me in Paracas, Peru.

And thus concludes the current state of the Official Crap Counter.


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