"Awk Fuck You"

I am not one by nature to employ unacceptable words or phrases in a story. This however is a very special case as a matter of fact, the story is the word and what the hell you can hear it any night on prime time television so I am sure we can get away with it this one time because this really is a cute and a completely true story.


Big Beach
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I was on a photo shoot in the visually wonderful Algarve region of Portugal, outstanding beaches, beautiful villages a truly delightful visual treat. The Algarve is in the southern part of Portugal, a vacationer's paradise as I said, great beaches , outstanding golf courses and incredible hotel properties and resorts. We had been booked into one of those very exclusive spots.
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We had been driving all day on a route that took us along an extremely picturesque journey. In my several visits to Portugal, I never ceased to be amazed at the wondrous variety of beauty and geographical features to be found in this relatively small country.
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It was a delightful sunny day and comfortably warm even though it was January at the time. Back in Canada I knew that all my friends would be freezing their butts off and here I was lapping up the sun, beautiful scenery, absolutely incredible food, great companionship with my guide John Gabrielle of the Portuguese tourist Board and the pure pleasure of photography.
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As we made our way through the visual feast around every corner we stopped to visit a castle. We dropped into a chapel constructed with the bones and skulls of monks who had lived and died there over the years in an adjoining monastery. We dined in wonderful restaurants and in general had a most memorable time in every way.

By the time we reached our Algarve Hotel we were more than ready to relax. We checked in, went to our respective rooms and parted with a promise to meet later that evening in the dining room. The view from my room overlooked he ocean which lay at the base of a steep cliff far below my balcony. The air had a rich and refreshing tang to it complete with a scent of the majestic gardens that had been impeccably created around the entire hotel.

When the time came to dress for dinner and make my way to the dining room, I put a fresh film in my camera and set out to enjoy what I knew would be a dining masterpiece. Having been to Portugal on a number of occasions I quickly learned to my delight that the food in this country was some of the best and most exciting fare of any country in the world. To say that I was looking forward to the experience is an understatement.

The dining room was reached by a circular staircase around which someone had created a masterpiece of art, showing a prince and princess that you can see in one of the included pictures with this story. The rays of a golden sun were reaching down to shower the prince on horseback as he rode through a field of white blossoms towards the beautiful princess who was waiting for him with open arms.

The mural had been created to tell a fable about the prince who had fallen in love with a princess from a far off land. In her home she had been accustomed to and had a great love of the seasons, in particular the snow filled winters. In order that she feel at home in his land, the prince had thousands of white flowers planted that would blossom in a sea of white so his princess would not be homesick. A truly romantic tale and told wonderfully in the artistry of the mural's creator.

After some time admiring the massive mural, I finally descended the staircase and moved on towards the dining room. As I passed through the impressive, arched entrance, I heard a voice somewhere behind me hat uttered a phrase that stopped me in my tracks.

As I heard the words "Awk fuck you awk" I turned in disbelief at what I had just heard in an effort to determine where the insulting remark had come from. There sitting quite comfortably on a decorative perch was a colorful parrot who obviously had more color to it than just its plumage.

I watched as others arrived at the dining room, each one being greeted with the same " Awk fuck you awk." Needless to say this was an experience I had never encountered before. It was to say the least an unusual greeting for hotel guests.

Moved by my sense of curiosity I went back up to the front desk to inform the clerk that there was a rather obnoxious bird downstairs telling guests to "Fuck Off" as they entered the dining room. The clerk was not at all surprised by the revelation and explained that the parrot with the questionable taste and manners was a proud possession of the hotels owner. He added that were it up to him he would have the bird slain and served up as a delicacy. Being a family man however he needed his job, part of which it was to explain to insulted guests, many times a day about the fowl mouthed as opposed to foul mouthed bird that had greeted thousands of guests over the years with his questionable verbal insults.

I placed this experience in my treasure chest of unusual travel memories and along with John had a great laugh. On the way out of the dining room I walked right up to the parrot on his perch and told him to "Fuck Off" with a great degree of satisfaction.

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