Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Angry Bird Saga

The beginning

Some of you may not know about the Angry Birds phenomenon, so read up and this will make a lot more sense.

My friend inspired us to decorate our cubes with a theme. Her theme was "it's a jungle in here" and she found a plush angry bird that made bird noises when squeezed. It was so popular that it became clear we needed the whole set. So I was charged with acquiring more plush angry bird characters while in Hong Kong, and possibly even a large slingshot to take aim at our friendly sales team across the room.

The hunt

I was only supposed to be in Hong Kong for 5 days, but thankfully my time was extended, because it took a lot of visits to various markets before I found what I was looking for. I tried Central, Mid-levels, Stanley Market and then finally had success at Trendy Market and Ladies Market.

Trendy had mini ones with slingshots, which are loads of fun, but mostly recoil back on you instead of hitting your target. I hit the jackpot with one stall that had birds that were twice the size of my head. I bargained down to $50 HKD, which is about $6.50. In my excitement over my find and bargaining I neglected to consider how I would carry such a thing home with me.

My bags were already stuffed, so I determined to test the limits of carry on allowance on international flights. I showed up with a big pink plastic bag full of plush angry birds and pigs and ready to make my case that they would compress well in the overhead bin. The Hong Kong staff are clearly used to overstuffed shoppers and I was given no grief. I was safely on my way to Tokyo with the giant red angry bird overhead.

The separation

I dragged that pink bag of birds on the bus from Narita airport to Shibuya, by cab to the office, then to the train station and finally on the train on my way back to the airport for my flight to Sydney. I put the bag above me and ended up in a conversation with my neighbor. At Terminal 2 I got up to unlock my bag because they warned me to do this before the stop and then got off promptly at the stop. About halfway up the escalator I realized that I had left the bag above my seat on the train.

The rescue

Quite unexpectedly, the gentleman I had just met on the train offered to run down and get the bag. But he was too late and my birds departed for another terminal. I figured that was the end of that but my new friend encouraged me to ask the staff and miraculously we found someone who spoke English fluently. She called ahead and told us we had to pick it up from the next terminal. I was worried I'd be late if I embarked on another journey, so he went in my stead and promised to meet me at the Qantas checkin.

And to my relief, there he was not long after I checked in, with my pink bag full of angry birds in hand! My hero!

The outing

The birds were well received in Sydney and participated in our first quarter celebrations. After an incident doused the angry bird with beer we took him back to the hotel.

The theft

Now that the team had bonded with the bird it was even more important that he arrive safely in Melbourne. So I became worried when the checkin woman was giving the guy ahead of me a hard time about luggage allowance. Thankfully I got the nice one and away we went. The flight was completely full and I crammed the birds in the overhead bin. After a rough landing I awkwardly maneuvered to get my birds out and was confident I had my pink bag well in hand. But wait, it feels lighter as I'm walking, and oh no! The big red angry bird had fallen out of the bag.

I ran back to the gate and found the attendant to be highly amused as she radioed "can you see if there is an angry bird on the plane". the whole plane emptied before the answer came: some boys had taken it! So I ran for baggage claim and wondered how I hadn't seen them go by with my large red angry bird held captive.

The end

I scoured the crowd, which was limited to just our flight and slowly but surely gave up hope. I stood at baggage claim feeling sad that I had lost the big red angry bird on the last leg of my journey. Then the attendants came by and asked if I had gotten my bird back, I shook my head sadly and the woman from the plane said, "there they are, they have it". And with a chagrined look, a 20-something guy pulled my bird out of his duffel bag.

When I got in the cab I told him not to let me leave the cab without this bird in hand. He did not seem amused, but he just didn't understand the saga of the angry bird.

1 comment:

  1. This is a well-told story, full of twists and turns, and with a happy ending. What could be better.