(C) The Sunny Zoo 陽光動物園 2017
AAAAARRRRRRRRH!!! It has been raining non-stop for TWO weeks!
I don't like wet days, because getting rain on my fur always makes me smell like stinky soil for ages, and Blacky (my hutch-mate) smells twice as bad, because he has twice as much fur! It also means we can't go to the front lawn to eat the fine kikuyu grass, and are stuck with the fat, tough buffalo variety planted by the veranda. Mrs Keeper gives us extra meadow hay, and I love the yummy fragrance of it, but there's only so much hay you want to eat.
Speak of the devil, there's Blacky heading this way now. "Greetings Caramel! Would you be partial to ingesting some of the crassula ovata in proximity to the motor vehicle storage shelter in my company?"
That's Blacky for you. He has been talking weird recently, we don't know why. I've known him since I was born, and he's always been the good old eat-sleep-snack-nap chappy type, but now... I think it must be some sort of middle-age dyslexia. Or a virus he caught from eating a strange plant somewhere.
We're getting better at understanding him now, thank goodness, and I get the gist of what he just said. "Sure, let's go eat some succulent plants."
So we start at the jade plant by the garage, as Blacky suggests, and then we notice that Mr and Mrs Keeper are about to head out the door. "Hi Mr and Mrs Keeper!" I call, "Where are you going?"
They look around and see us close at their feet. "Oh hi, Blacky and Caramel," says Mrs Keeper. "I'm just about to go check out a new cactus and succulent nursery. Should be back in time to pick up the kids from school."
Mrs Keeper is big on succulents... I mean HUGE. COLOSSAL. She has all types everywhere in the garden - mostly above our reach, unfortunately - and probably spends all the salary we pay her on buying new ones for her collection. "Oh, can we go with you?" I blurt out. "We're bored here! Can't do much when it keeps raining!"
They usually don't mind taking us along to places, if we promise to keep quiet in the backpack and not run about teasing other people. So off we go in the car, down a winding country road lined with straggly gum trees, passing large acreages populated by horses and cows and alpacas. Since Blacky and I don't have to be in seatbelt like the kids, we get to sit up by the back windscreen and enjoy the view. We wave at the cars following us, and a couple of times successfully make them swerve dangerously off the road.
The cactus and succulent nursery is not very fascinating. Mrs Keeper won't let us out of the backpack - she knows us too well. Seeing all this food and not being able to eat it makes Blacky even hungrier and very grumpy, and he keeps mumbling things I don't understand which makes me grumpy too.
However, on the way back home I notice something interesting, "Stop!!" I yell.
Surprised, Mr Keeper pulls off to the side and stops the car. "What's wrong, Caramel?"
"Back up a bit!" I say in excitement, my face glued to the windscreen. "Look at that!"
It is a wreck yard...... but no ordinary wreck yard. It's filled with old buses!! City buses, school buses, tour buses, even a few double-decker buses! On one of the double-decker buses (whose route plate says 'Tsim Sa Tsui Star Ferry' - isn't that in Hong Kong??), a phone number and the words "for sale" are written across the windows. "Wow, that is soooooo cool! Can we buy one, Mr Keeper?"
"Buy a bus??" exclaims Mr Keeper and groans, "Oh no, not another one of your hare-brained ideas, Caramel!"
"Hare-brained? Why, I'm a guinea pig, not a bunny," I scratch my head in bafflement. "Anyway, I think it's a brilliant idea! Imagine how much fun it'll be in our backyard, we can all play hide-and-seek in it! And it makes it easier to go out on group excursions, because then Knobby and the fish can come in their tanks!"
"In my humble opinion it is a marvellous and imaginative scheme that we most certainly must implement," says Blacky, and that's why I really like him, because he's always up for an adventure. So long as it doesn't take up too much of his napping or snacking time. Which is fair enough.
"No way, "says Mr Keeper.
"Yes way! Let's call Cutie and ask," I insist.
Mr Keeper groans again. Cutie is our Alpha, the one who got us all out of pet-servitude in the first place, and together with Banana they are our best decision-makers. Cutie is also the one who hired the human employees, so whatever he says, goes.
Mr Keeper has a conversation with Cutie on the phone; then he passes the phone to Mrs Keeper, who frowns and talks some numbers and mentions budgets; then she passes the phone back to Mr Keeper, who says we can't possibly fit a bus in the yard etc etc. Finally Mr Keeper hangs up and calls the phone number on the big double-decker bus.
Ten minutes later an old man in a red cap and dirty overalls appears. While Blacky and I watch from the backseat of the car, the human employees go out and talk to him. I can barely stay still: imagine, a big bus, a real bus, at Sunny Zoo! Mr and Mrs Keeper go into the wreck yard with the old man, and are shown all the different buses.
"They have such good fortune!" says Blacky enviously, "I have a yearning to closely scrutinise these travelling contraptions too!"
Thirty minutes later we are driving away with Mrs Keeper at the wheel of the car, and Mr Keeper following behind us on the Star Ferry double-decker. Mrs Keeper continues to bemoan all the instalments we will have to make, but I think I glimpse a secret smile on her face when she thinks I'm not looking.
Wait till all the other guys at home see this!!!
The Sunny Zoo
The animals at the Sunny Zoo enjoy their many freedoms, including having access to the Internet and a blog.
(C) The Sunny Zoo 陽光動物園 2017