An important part of my daily routine has become the charging of batteries for the devices that help me stay in touch with my friends, and document the sights and sounds of this new world I'm exploring. My Chromebook, cell phone, videocam, and GPS watch all need to be regularly recharged, often more than one time in a day.
Yesterday, on Halloween, this occurred to me and I thought about writing a post about it. And then life showed how important this chore really is. Somehow my cell phone battery had gone flat as I was doing my morning emails. I discovered this as I was thinking about going out to get some lunch. I put the phone on charge, thinking it would be fully charged again when I got back from eating. But then, I didn't really want to go out without my phone, which is now mostly used as a camera, so I waited a bit and then took the phone with me. It had some charge on it, but less than 20% of capacity.
I went off to a lovely lunch at the Cafe that is run by my hotel, DPU Hotel. The Cafe is entered by going up stairs that are behind these glass windows. To the left you can see stairs that lead from the street to a landing where these windows are, then a left turn takes you up another set of stairs to a patio open to the sky and then to the actual door to the Cafe itself.
Below is a view of the inside of those windows, looking out onto the street. Up from the left side of this image runs the staircase that leads to the restaurant. The windows create an enclosed area on your way to the Cafe, but the stairs to that landing and the second flight of stairs to the Cafe are actually open to the outside air and sky. It's a nice covered area on your way to or from the restaurant.
I had my lunch, snapping a number of pictures of the inside of the restaurant and my food as I ate. Not a lot of pictures, but enough to run the battery on my phone flat again! Oh well, I was headed back to my room and would give it a full charge this time.
As I came down the stairs toward the landing behind the windows, I noticed quite a commotion in the very top left corner of the windows. A bird had flown in to the entranceway and ended up behind those windows. It could see out the windows to where it wanted to go, but as it flapped its wings to go there, it only banged itself against the glass. It seemed to be trapped!
The trap was only an apparency of course, like many traps in life. If it turned to its right, it could fly parallel to the windows for ten feet or so and then out into the open air. But it was entirely focused on flying straight ahead and that led to a lot of flapping of wings while banging hard into the glass. It dropped to the floor and banged up against the windows in the corner down there, just the same.
A woman came down the stairs from the restaurant, carrying a closed umbrella. We commiserated about the plight of the bird and she trying to send it in a more fruitful direction with some brushes from her umbrella, but to no avail. Finally I told her I would go get some help from the hotel staff and she thanked me, as I headed down the stairs and in the nearby back door of the hotel.
When I returned with the front desk clerk, the woman and the bird were both gone. It had been sprung from its trap somehow.
My cell phone, an HTC One S, takes amazingly good photographs considering its small size and easy portability and I've used it to take hundreds of pictures in Thailand so far. It's always with me to grab an image in the moment. But with no charge on the battery, it will take exactly zero photographs, and that's what I got in this close encounter with a bird in distress.
When I got back to my room, I put the phone on charge and then did a Google Image search for "owls of Bangkok, Thailand" and almost immediately identified the bird as a Brown Hawk-Owl (Ninox scutulata)
Image from http://www.green-jungle.com/30_birdwatch/04_kaengkrajan/kaengkrajan.html
Another one here:
As described at Wikipedia, its eyes were very large and verrrrrryy yellow, staring up at me from the floor, as it swiveled its head nearly all the way around!
If my phone battery had been charged, I could have gotten some amazing close-ups of the owl. The above images show a bird with a vertical shape. Our trapped owl looked very different, as it had its large wings fully unfurled, making it look very short and very very wide. I still have its image in my mind but a description with words is the best that I can do here.
Keep those batteries charged!!!