Hello feline friends and human pets!
When Phil came to pick me up this morning for my next journey, he arrived promptly at 5:00. I was already awake, but the human pet came stumbling out from her bedroom. She looked like she was frightened, and as she turned the corner and saw Phil standing in the foyer, she squinted her eyes at him and groaned.
"What's wrong with her?" asked Phil.
"I think she's delirious. You know she doesn't get up at this time usually," I answered.
As she rubbed the sleep from her eyes, the human pet said, "Tell me I am dreaming. Tell me Phil Keoghan is not in my foyer at five in the morning."
"Is it such a bad thing, Marina?" chuckled Phil.
"How would you feel if some strange person came into your house at five in the morning, Phil? I can call you 'Phil', yes? I mean, seeing as though you have been to this house now a number of times, I think we can move on to a first name basis." I was a bit stunned at the human pet's response to my friend, Phil, but he only chuckled more.
"Marina, why don't you go back to bed, and we can talk later sometime?"
Grumbling and muttering, the human pet turned and walked back down in the hall. We heard her bedroom door slam, and no sooner had the door been closed then the sounds of snoring came drifting into the living room. "Well, we need to get going, Zeus. Today is a very long trip. You're going to make several flight changes, and probably within twenty or so hours, you will be in Singapore."
Singapore?! Why that was halfway across the world! I was truly in for an adventure this time!
The flight to Singapore was truly the longest experience I have ever had. It reminded me of those times when the human pet and I lived in The Apartment. When she had to go out of town to Pittsburgh to see her family, she would take me to the V-E-T, not so I could get seen for medicine, but rather, to be boarded. She would leave me there in the super fancy condos with purebreed felines (and oh how they teased me for not being pure enough for their tastes!), and I would wait with baited breath for her return...cooped in this condo with no place to go! That was what the flight was like! For 25 hours, I was on an airplane with only two stops: one in Los Angeles, CA, and the other in Hong Kong. By the time I arrived in Singapore, I was kissing the sweet earth beneath my paws and thanking the Lord for keeping my tail in one piece!
As I walked through the airport, by ears were perked as I heard many different types of languages. It was completely fascinating! Yes, there was English being spoken, but I could also hear Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil. So many different tongues in one place was truly amazing in and of itself!
I stepped outside to see if I could find a taxi, but instead, a human lady with a big smile on her face walked up to me with a pretty wicker basket. She knelt down and scratched me behind the ears which immediately made me love her!
"Welcome to Singapore, Zeus! I'm The Letter B. I'm so glad you came to visit here!"
She opened the wicker basket, and I jumped inside. However, as she turned around, I managed to lift up the lid with my head in time to see Phil approaching us.
"Ooo, here he comes!" whispered TLB.
"The Letter B and Zeus. You will have $800.00 Singapore Dollars for this leg of the race. Here is your first clue. Read it carefully, and be safe on your travels."
Phil handed the clue to TLB. My eyes were still in awe of the $800.00 Singapore dollars we received! TLB explained to me, however, that that was equal to about $500.00 US dollars. Getting used to currency conversions is something I will need to work on!
We read the clue together:
Make your way to The Jurong Bird Park. Once there, search for your next clue.
My mouth started salivating as I imagined all of the tasty, feathered creatures that might lived in the park. I was truly hoping that perhaps the clue was stuck inside a bird, and I would have to get it out through the only way that Mother Nature intended for me to use: my bare paws! However, TLB told me that I could not harm the birds, and that I would need to be on my best behavior. I knew she was right.
When we entered the park, the Chilean Flamingos caught our eye to our right. I immediately began to become frightened. I had heard how Moose had cornered these scary and manipulative beasts, and how he had saved the lives of his human pets as the pink, pompous, pruners made their way stealthily along his front yard. TLB assured me that the flamingos (if that was their real name!) meant no harm to me, but I was not buying it. My hair stood on end, and I hissed vehemently to them to let them know that I too would not put up with their shenanigans!
We walked a little further up the path and noticed that the Macaw Courtyard was just past the Penguin Parade. I really wanted to see the parrots since I had heard from some reliable sources that they could talk. After having met a talking cow, I didn't think it so odd to try to meet a talking bird!
We entered into the exhibit, and I could not believe how colorful the birds were. Vibrant feathers of roaring red, yowling yellow, and gorgeous green filled my eyes! Of course, my ears were ripped apart from the constant screeching, but managed to fight through the pain. I was just trying to find one parrot who could hold an intelligent conversation with me, and if that meant obtaining a headache in the process, then so be it.
Parrots can live up to fifty years, but some of the ones living in the Jurong Bird Park are in danger of extinction. Apparently, homo sapiens are cutting down these parrots' environments, and with the loss of their homes, the birds are not able to meet one another easily to have families. At least at the Bird Park, the parrots are able to meet and socialize with one another, and they can see that they are not completely all alone!
We were just about to turn the corner to head off to the World of Darkness exhibit when I heard a peculiar voice:
"Zeus, wanna clue? AWCK!"
I turned my head in every direction and looked at TLB to see if she knew where the strange voice had come from. After a minute or two, we decided we were imagining it.
But then we heard it again: "Zeus, wanna clue? AWCK!"
"Where is that blasted sound coming from?" said TLB.
I turned my head to the left, and I saw the strangest sight. There, sitting on a small branch of a tree was a beautiful green parrot. He winked at me and shook his head. I noticed there was something in his mouth, and I tapped the outside of the wicker basket excitedly. TLB followed my eyes, and when she spotted the parrot, she said, "Oh my goodness! He has a tiny clue in his mouth!"
TLB reached out her hand, and the little green fellow dropped the clue onto her palm. We opened the tiny, itsy, bitsy clue together and squinted our eyes to read:
Make your way to the Singapore Botanical Gardens. Once there, make your way to the National Orchid Garden in the Central Core, and search for your next clue.
"Oh wow! Orchids are my human pet's favorite flower," I said to TLB. "I wonder if I will be able to pick a few to take home to her."
TLB laughed softly and said, "I think you will get your paws into big, big trouble if you were to pick any of the flowers, Zeus. It's best to keep your paws to yourself!"
The Singapore Botanical Gardens were simply amazing! There were so many beautiful paths to walk along to observe the beautiful flowers. It was obvious many people were needed to keep such a pristine place in its fabulous condition. We walked through Minden Gate along a path to our left which led us past the Marsh Garden Ponds. As we walked a bit more, we past Swan Lake which really had swans swimming
along the top of the water! We continued along, turning right and left where the path curved, past the Sundial Gardens and Floral Cloak and through the Ginger Garden, until we found the entrance to the National Orchid Garden.
I hadn't known this, but all of the orchids in the garden were actually 'made' by homo sapiens. Special gardeners made sure that only the best orchids were produced for the garden, and then they carefully arranged them to make sure the flowers made pretty presentations. There were over 1000 species of orchids, and then over 2000 'hybrids' (ones which were man-made) in the garden! Nestled in the stems and leaves of the fantastic orchids is where we found our next clue.
We opened the clue together and read:
Make your way to 5-Cat Style and the Flyer. Once there, meet with Bombay and Bangles and wait for further instructions.
"Oh wow! I am actually going to get to meet Bombay and Bangles?! That's so exciting!" I said.
TLB nodded. "I really have had such a terrific time with you, Zeus. I only wish that we could have done more things together."
I agreed. I headbutted TLB three or four times and placed my front paws on her left shoulder to nuzzle her ears. "You were a very good hostess, TLB! Thank you for joining me!"
TLB helped me get to the home of 5-Cat Style and the Flyer as I was still very, very (did I mention very?) unfamiliar with how to get around Singapore. We walked up together to the sisters' house and knocked on the door. 5-Cat Style opened the door (I recognized her from the blog!) and screamed!
"Flyer! Get over here! It's Zeus! He's here! Make sure to get Bombay and Bangles!"
She scooped me out of TLB's arms and snuggled me to her chest. I purred and purred! I had never really been met with such an affectionate greeting. Typically, only my human pet ever said hello to me like that! 5-Cat Style invited TLB inside and closed the door behind her. Flyer came into the room also and soon, all three human lady pets were watching us with smiles on their faces. 5-Cat Style placed me on the floor where I saw Bombay and Bangles staring at me with huge grins.
"So you met our Foster Mommy? She's terrific, yeah?" said Bombay.
I nodded and laughed. "She's very loving!"
Bombay and Bangles both chuckled. "Have you been having a fun time in Singapore? What have you done thus far?" asked Bangles.
I informed them of my trip to the Jurong Bird Park and my tour of the Singapore Botanical Gardens. Bangles was fascinated when I mentioned the talking green parrot with the clue in his mouth. Bombay wanted to hear more about the orchids and how they were presented in the garden.
Just then, there was a knock on the door, and the three of us laughed. "Ten dollars says it's Phil!" said Bangles.
"Fifteen dollars says its Phil!" said Bombay.
"I don't think you're supposed to raise his bet, Bombay," I said with a grin.
5-Cat Style opened the door and, as if we hadn't known, it was Phil!
"Bombay, Bangles, and Zeus. You will use the money given to you this morning when you were with The Letter B to continue on this leg. Here is your next clue. Make sure to read it carefully, and be safe on your travels."
We opened the clue and read it together:
Make your way to the Night Safari.
"Wow! The Night Safari! I have always wanted to go!" said Bombay.
"We're in for a really special time," said Bangles.
"Have you two been there before?" I asked.
"Nope, but we have heard a lot about it. They have lots of different animals there, and some of them are very endangered. I wonder what we will see!" said Bangles.
As if she was a mindreader, 5-Cat Style looked down at the three of us as we were discussing our plans and said, "Alright, you three, let's get going. I want to make sure you get to see everything there is to see!"
5-Cat Style helped the three of us catch service 171 to Mandai Road. We had to transfer to a different bus then, service 927, which took us directly to the Night Safari. The whole trip took roughly about an hour, but in that time, Bangles, Bombay, and I got to talk about Singapore in general and how it was different than America.
When we arrived, the whole place seemed very myterious, lush, and primal. Strange animal sounds filled the air, and our fur stood on end in excitement! We decided to do the Safari Adventurer Tour because we could ride in a "limo buggy" and have an experienced guide show us around the jungle.
We were able to see lots of different shows, exhibits, and trails. One that was especially fascinating was The Creatures of the Night show. We were actually able to be a part of the show which, mind you, was sort of frightening since many of those animals would love to have felines for lunch. However, the lead trainer, a man named Vinodh Ayathan, kept the owls, pumas, and other nocturnal animals just out of our reach. Vinodh seemed to have a very deep understanding for how animals thought and what they felt, and we were very impressed with his tremendous abilities!
I have never been in a jungle, let alone a jungle at night, and apparently, neither had Bombay or Bangles. However, our trepidation left us when we heard there was a Fishing Cat Trail we could observe.
"Fish and cats?! Super!" said Bombay.
"I wonder if we'll manage to get any fish," I said.
As we watched the trail, we saw different types of felines working on getting their food for the evening. They would walk along the edge of the water, carefully watching the swimming fish, and then pounce on them with such a fury that it made all three of us jump!
"I never have to work that hard to get food," stated Bangles.
"Neither do I. I only headbutt the human pet, and she gives me what I want," I said.
We kept asking the felines if they would share their catch, but none of them wanted anything to do with us. We just got a lot of growls and snaps of the jaw in reply. I suppose, however, that when you have razor-sharp canines and claws longer than my head, you can refuse to give me fish any time you want.
When the tour was over, we walked back to the front gate where 5-Cat Style and the Flyer were waiting for the three of us.
"Did you three have fun?" 5-Cat Style asked.
We all nodded and purred.
"Good! It's time, though, to say good-bye to Zeus, Bombay and Bangles. He has to go to the airport now to catch his very long flight home. I am sure his Foster Mommy misses him," she said.
"Human pet," I corrected her.
Everyone giggled at me, but I still don't know why.
"Thanks a lot for coming such a long way to visit with us, Zeus. I know I had a terrific time with you touring the jungle!" said Bombay.
"Indeed! I might have to try some of those fishing techniques that I observed in the human litter bowl!" said Bangles.
"Umm, there's no fish in there," said Bombay with a disgusted look.
"Oh well, maybe in a poi pond then. We'll have to find one though!" said Bangles happily.
I chuckled and gave my friends hugs. "I will miss the both of you, and I certainly hope that some day in the future, you come to Houston to visit!" I said.
I would like to thank The Letter B for inviting me to Singapore. I had such a very good time with you, and I hope that you will remember it for a long time to come! I would also like to thank 5-Cat Style, the Flyer, Bombay, and Bangles for inviting me to their lovely home. I truly enjoyed meeting all of you, and perhaps the next time, I can meet Gucci and Tiffy!