Police Encounters and Hoopoes

S c o t t R a y mryakima at nwinfo.net
Sat Jan 10 12:24:54 PST 2004

Several times in Venezuela, after having been stopped by the (very)
young soldiers who man the numerous alcabalas, I have offered to let
them look through my binos or scope as a way of easing any tension
(usually none) that might exist. Most have never used binos or scopes
before, because invariably as soon as one of them takes a look they
holler out to their buddies. In no time, the barracks are emptied as
everyone wants to look through the magic glasses.

Scott R a y

Yakima, WA

-----Original Message-----
From: TWEETERS-owner at u.washington.edu
[mailto:TWEETERS-owner at u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Gary Bletsch
Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2004 12:48 PM
To: tweeters at u.washington.edu
Subject: Re: Police Encounters and Hoopoes

Dear Bill and Tweeters,

Bill is right on with the field guide advice. The beautiful pictures
charm just about everyone, police included. In the Middle East, almost
any situation can be lightened up by showing the policeman, customs
agent, coast guardsman, or soldier a picture of a Hoopoe (Upupa epops),
believe it or not. They invariably start laughing at this rather
ridiculous looking bird, with its dandyish erectile crest.

SandBMaule at aol.com wrote:

I have had the good fortune to bird in many parts of the world, thanks
to my career abroad. I have noted one very important defensive procedure
-- if you are out in the field with binoculars, make certain you are
also carrying a field guide. Especially in countries where you are not
fluent in the language, showing the field guide may be the only way to
communicate what in the world you are up to peering so intently into the
bushes! Sometimes the cops even get a bit interested in looking at
pictures of birds they know and can suggest birding hot spots.

It also helps to understand a little about local culture and prejudices.
My wife and I were once stopped on a remote road in Spain. My wife tried
to explain our motives in her excellent Spanish - mine was nearly
nonexistent. The police officers, however, would not listen to a mere
woman. Things were a bit tense until the officer and I discovered we
both had a very limited knowledge of German, facilitating an explanation
of what we were up to. Then the officers were most courteous and
helpful, but still ignored my wife! Ah! Spain!


Yours truly,

Gary Bletsch

near Lyman (Skagit County), Washington

garybletsch at yahoo.com


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