“If you set these birds free, it will bring you good luck. And the more birds you set free, the more luck you get! ……only 20 bath each….”
Everywhere, people are trying to make some money. They want to earn something from you, being the ‘rich’ tourist. I don’t mind. It’s interesting to see how creative people can be. As long as you know where to draw the line. It can even be fun to discover some of these fine entrepreneurial skills!
Chiang Mai, Thailand.
The beautiful old lady was smiling. We were slowly making our way in the old town of Chiang Mai, biking from one temple to another. The old lady showed us her wooden baskets full of little birds. The birds were jumping to get out, they were not used to being caged.
Surely we wanted to set them free….but there was a price tag. The lady explained: “When you free these birds, luck will come into your life for sure!” She grinned.
The kids were jumping from enthusiasm: “Let’s free the birds! We don’t want them to become Angry Birds!”. But we (the responsible parents) were not ready yet to just pay 20 bath (50 cents) to free one single bird. We wanted to know a little bit more about this lady’s ‘business’…
So we just sat down, talked and watched.
We learned that these little birds were caught with bird traps in nearby rice fields. Farmers don’t like the birds eating and destroying their rice plants. After being caught they are transported to the city in small bamboo cages. At temple grounds the birds are offered to local Thai people and tourists: set them free and good luck will come your way!
We were also told that if the birds were not set free that day (maybe a slow day for business), they would end up in the frying pan…..but this was not confirmed to us.
Anyway, the lady was extremely adorable and we couldn’t disappoint our kids (next to that we wanted to save some birds from a terrible frying pan death..), so we set some birds free.
Did we meet luck after that? Well, we didn’t won the lottery, but we are one lucky family for sure!
What creative entrepreneurial skills have you encountered during your travels? Do you refuse to pay or just go along with the fun?