Saturday, February 7, 2009

dogs, monkey and Gay

top: sniff dog of the Chile custom officer.

below: Maggie, belongs to Mage of Brasil. lovely,clumsy dog that always got bully by the parrot

beside: Fly, farm dog of Felipe. English breed. she always stand behind the truck with me while Felipe was driving. fun!

Below: Blanco.

Firstly, we would like to thank,

HII CHUN HUI (2nd time of support)
DEREK YAP (numerious donations)

for their donation in our fund, maybe also as a chinese new year ang pao, or a relif of our expenses in the equipment that we are going to purchase.

Thank You!

We have always fond of dogs. After our RTW trip, the next dream will be: owning a dog. Sounds simple? But it is not.

1) we need time to have a dog. not just to buy one and keep at home and accompany the maid.
2) we want to have a huge sized dog like the golden retriver. such a dog cannot stay in my 3 roomed flat. We need a good piece of land with big garden.

Last year November, we camped at Junin de los antigous, argentina. our plan there was just to eat the famous trout fish and next day proceed on the road. at the campsite, there came a white dog. we nick named him Blanco.

Blanco just came to our tent. I have a straw mat and I slept on it above the grass. Blanco came by to sleep with me. We didn’t give him any food. when ever I go for a scroll around the camp site, Blanco would accompany. We went to pick up wood for fire, Blanco helped us bit a piece back to the camp site. we didn’t give him any food. in the night, Blanco would stay around our tent, barking at any passer by. Next morning, we decided to stay for another day.

We went to the town supermarket as usual to stock up our supply. Blanco followed us. Sam and I went in and bought some stuff and dog food. when we came out, Blanco was gone. I told myself: ok… he is just a stray dog. we would follow any one that is friendly and give him food. we will eat the dog food tonight.

after a walk to the plaza, Blanco came. It seems like he had met some friends and he joined us still. we fed Blanco with the dog feed. He followed us back to the campsite.

I had wonderful memories with Blanco. he would follow us where ever we go. on the day of checking out, we packed our tents, spoke to him that he shall not follow us because we are leaving to another town and he did. we rode our bike and I looked at the mirror, he was just sitting there….

here in outskirt of Santiago, we camped here because of the high cost of living in the city. we met a female dog with a puppy (1 month old). What do u name a female dog??? anyway, she is so skinny and we could see that she is still giving milk. we gave her a few biscuits and we want to buy her some dog food tomorrow instead of giving her our only chicken drumstick that we are having for lunch tomorrow.

are we doing the correct thing? are we spoiling the ecology cycle? will the dogs be dependent on campers for survival? will they not find their own food in the future?

we went to many parks. even those in Singapore, we could see signage of ‘please do not feed the monkeys’. Ok, we understand. if we feed the monkeys, they will not find their own food and be depended on humans on giving them food. if one day a man pass by jogging, the monkey shows up, the man continues jogging, the monkey gets angry because of the man not giving food. WHO IS IN FAULT? the monkey or the man?

this matter reminds me of a fellow motorcycle rider that we met, riding ‘around the world to save the poor’ while traveling. it is an intresting ‘add on’ to the trip, making the trip worthy. he went to some places, be with the AIDS patient, donating $ to the home. the $ came from donations in his website. readers reading his web would feel that these people really need help and they donate money. yes, he did really hand over the money.

this rider, lets give him a name, lets call him Gay. Gay went to a lot of countries. He helped some local communities to give fund to built a house for a family. Gay will incharge of giving the money while the community chest in that particular country will decide the money will goes to which family. can u imagine, it only cost EURO$350.00, that’s S$700.00 for the family to built a new house. Gay also talked to people along the road. He heard of stories about the grown up child, not having enough $ for further studies and he donated the $ to them.

S$700.00 to help a family to built a new house! what are u thinking?

what would be the consequences of giving money to help the poor people?

it is like my dog story. like my monkey story.

we have traveled for more than 13 months along the road. visiting non touristic places. staying at local’s home and recive raw news from them about politics and everything which we at home, the news were often filtered. SO FAR, WE SAW MORE GREEDY PEOPLE THAN THE HUNGRY ONES. WE SAW MORE SIMPLE PEOPLE THAN THE POOR.

what are you thinking about now? please read again the above highlighted.

we felt that what Gay is doing is not wrong but it affects the future travelers. what is S$700.00 for us to help a family to built a house? Gay is like a saint, helping the needy, or rather helping those people that he felt not richer than him (according to Gay’s country standards). Gay had affected their life, their ecology cycle. the first few days I saw Gay, he is like the people that we met in the bag packer’s hostel. just that he don’t drink so much, just that he rides a bike, just that he is abit older. I saw him once banging a thick book he was reading onto our table, the table where all of us (germans, swiss, Americans, Canadians, aussies) were sitting. then in the night, he took out his lap top to impress the newly travelers about where he had been, like being on the same room of a Buddhist leader that had stayed in that hotel, same room. yes, HOTEL! im not saying that staying in hotel is a sin but let me remind u, Gay is that kind of traveler/tourist that goes to poor country and spend rich! Remember about my dog and monkey experience?

Like our travel in India, many people in cities came to us to ask for money, especially in touristic location like Taj Mahal. BECAUSE previous tourist/travelers that went there, see these people as pity or ‘poorer than them’, they give them us$1.00. to the travelers/tourist, US$1.00 is nothing but for the local, it meant a lot. years after years, the ‘ecology cycle’ change. these people see foreigners as a source of work or income, they don’t work anymore, as we know the term, they become beggers.

If someone come to us and beg for money, we would ask why they need the money. If he says he is hungry, we would buy them food on the spot. so far, it never happened.

Shall we still donate money to the charity?

I don’t know. when I was in Singapore, I dialed the 1900 number for the charity show because I want to win a condo or a car, instead of seeing the ‘advertisment’ made by Television Coperation of Singapore.

Not to give a fish to a man but teach him how to fish.

If I would do some charity work, I would help them by giving my time and effort, reach out to those that really need and teach them how to fish.

Yes, I did give out book prize for a local Polytechnic. I’m not doing charity, I’m promoting the bloom for my industry, support/encourage the students for coming into this landscape industry. that is not charity.

So, readers, I’m not trying to say that Gay is a bad person or a poser. in my opinion, I would have done something better, to teach them how to fish.

Enough of all these theories I had. some up date for you.

we got our USA visa, we got our passports in hand. the visa is a multiple entry that last for 10 years. hurray!!!

today we recived an email from the costa rica embassy that Sam’s application for the visa was denied. no reasons stated. they advise us that we could only reapply the visa again six months from now.

so now, panama visa doesn’t sounds good for her, costa rica visa was rejected. how can we fly thro these 2 countries from Columbia?

For your info, Sam is not carrying a Singapore Passport. for some readers that asked why do I have to apply for usa visa: I wanted to accompany Sam for the USA interview. the previous time when she applied in Singapore, I wasn’t allowed to go in.

so rather than waiting and staying in the busy city of Santiago, we left for a camp site 70km south east. here we met the female dog, that had just given birth to a puppy and she is so skinny. we rode out to buy a packet of dog food for her, only for her because she had just delivered.

On average, a day of lodging in Santiago would be S$30.00. In this campsite, we are spending S$20.00. we felt much comfortable camping although the tent had zip problem. the zip just couldn’t zip up and its very annoying. leaving the tent of a 12cm part unzipped, sleeping in fear that some creepy crawly would come in and sleep with us. camping is about eating, washing, cooking and surviving. we are at a more luxury campsite so we had table and bench, lights and electricity. its more carefree here. I could switch on the lights in the middle of the night. campers here are more peaceful. we are closer to the nature.

remember we were asked to leave La Casa Roja hostel, that party hostel that couldn’t get to sleep before 2am? we stayed in another hostel called Hostelling international. our experience were:

slightly expensive, we can’t do our own cooking BUT it’s much quiet here as the people staying here don’t party in the compound. Sam was going to her dorm in the late night at about 0030hrs, (BTW, male and female had different rooms so Sam and I had to split), the room’s lights were off but only 2 gals were talking to each other in the dark. when these 2 gals saw Sam using her torchlight trying to reach out for the lockers, the gals said its ok to switch on the lights because they are not sleeping. Sam replied: its ok, I don’t need the lights. the 2 gals immediately changed from their pajamas and get out of the room to the common room to chat, at the same time apologizing to Sam that they had disturb her. they have considered about other room users, very good. my experience was the hostel staff try to reach out for your eyes and try to say good morning or hello to me, So as the other travelers staying here. everyone are much attentive to each other. unlike the previous hostel, we had travelers coming into the room in 3am, switched on the lights, pulling their luggage on the wooden plank floor to reach out for their party clothes, talking loudly from one end of the room to the other end (about 5 meters away), not knowing that we are asleep in the same room. The hostel staff that walked passed me would treat me as transparent. this is the little difference but we enjoyed.

too much of city life for us. Panama visa was another crazy thing to do. we supplied them with all the supporting documents. the first thing that we need to do is to take all these documents out of the embassy, fax it over to the panama visa section in panama by our selves. it cost s$2.30 per pieces, Sam had 13 pieces. then we have to call the Spanish speaking operator in panama to confirm that they have recived all the 13 sheets of documents.

2ndly, we have to ‘courier’ the documents back to the embassy to that old lady (the visa issuer), that’s about 70 years old and could not read a word. she asked: are you going to live in Santiago for 1 month to wait for the visa? I bluffed: yes, of course.

who the hell is going to wait stupidly for the fuckers to reply. meanwhile, we are sourcing for direct trip from Columbia to costa rica, skipping panama. one of our biker friend, residing in USA but holding to a Turkish passport, waited 4 months for the reply. he didn’t wait. we proceed with the journey till the embassy in LA emailed him and much trouble he had to deal with.

One of a record breakers trying to swim through the panama canal had to pay like US$10.00 for using the panama canal.

very intresting country. most of our biker friends that went thro panama advise us to skip this country because there are nothing worth to visit. now I think we had to skip costa rica also. after 2 weeks of waiting and it’s a negative reply. it’s a waste of $.

we are staying in a good campsite now, saving our funds for unexpected and compulsory expenditure, like bike insurance, visas, transit for the darien gap between Columbia and panama. still, more to come.

it is so troublesome for us to find a place to fax. simple things like email or corrier is easy. our Spanish is limited. even we need to mail some stuff back to Singapore, we went to DHL, their service is about us$60 because they only have express service. we went to a local corrier, they checked our stuff, call up here and there to check if our matchboxes without matchsticks were allow to be corrier. finally solved, then in their office, they don’t sell envelops! we have to go around this big city ourselves looking for envelops. it’s not like in Singapore, we know where big bookshop or the next stationary shop is. small little things adds to our time and the meter is clicking everyday, we cannot wait for tomorrow to solve this problem. well, this is part of the ups and downs of a travel.

friends, lets think about the dog and monkey story again. is there anything that you and I can do?

goh. (want more comments from readers abt dogs and monkey.)


Atticus said...

Read this interesting quote some time ago: "A bone to the dog is not charity, it is only charity when you are as hungry as the dog."

heartache said...

hey like your encounter with the dog. I can visualise the touchy feeling you have for the dog.

Dogs are men's best friend you remember? I totally agree with this phrase.

I must admit I do have a soft side for animals especially for dogs.

Allow me to share with you a Jap movie on dogs here

singaporedream said...

atticus: i dont really understand what u meant. can u explain more further? sorry my english is not so good.

Anonymous said...

Our dependency makes slaves out of us, especially if this dependency is a dependency of our self-esteem. If you need encouragement, praise, pats on the back from everybody, then you make everybody your judge. Stop Judging the people around you and start enjoying the opportunuty that is given to you...

singaporedream said...

Anonymous: stop judging? its a kind of analysis that we get. human are trying to enjoy every opportunity, even at work. we dont need a pat, just to share our experience and want to know want readers feel, or even readers will share their experience with us. hmm... we are human and asian. we dont write blog to make readers feel good or in the heaven. we are real people.

singaporedream said...

anyway, thanks for reading and the useful comment.