As promised, here comes some “gossip” from the Buddies Family Day held on 3rd August 2008.
I was supposed to be one of the 3 volunteers to go to the Medan Gopeng bus station to fetch clients coming by bus from Gopeng and Kampar area. We were supposed to pick them up at 8 am. But I had a tough time trying to get ready on time. I just got out of the bathroom, one client called. Just as I was dressing up, another client called. By the time I managed to get ready, it was 10 minutes to 8 am.
Just about 5 minutes after leaving my house, a fellow volunteer called. He said he and the other volunteer who were already there had managed to get hold of the few clients who were supposed to be fetched at Medan Gopeng and asked who else we were supposed to wait for. There were still Pushpa and her grandmother who were not there yet but since there was enough space in the 2 cars, I need not go all the way to the bus station. So instead I headed direct to our meeting place.
We were supposed to assemble at 8.30 am yet when I got there at 8 am, Lin and her children were already there. One by one our volunteers and clients got there. We targeted to make a move at 8.45 am and we actually started off our journey at 8.55 am… which I must say was not bad at all.
Even Yah, who was supposed to meet up with us at Taiping Zoo, ended up following us by bus from Ipoh. She actually called me up the day before, telling me that she just got back from Kelantan and was still in Ipoh and as such may not have the time to go back to her kampong to get her son who was supposed to join the trip. Since she was still in Ipoh, I told her to meet up with the rest of us at 8.30 am. And what was she doing in Kelantan? Wait lah, coming up in the later part of this report.
So yeah, not only did Yah and Lin join our Family Day – they both were even on the same bus all the way to Taiping from Ipoh.
But no, by the looks of it, I don’t think Yah and Lin actually got to know each other. Lin came with her children and so most of the time she was with her children. Even when she mingled with the other PLWHAs, she seemed more comfortable with the ones with children. Yah on the other hand, seemed more comfortable talking to a male PLWHA. Hmmm… kasanona at work?
We got to the zoo a few minutes after 10 am. There we were greeted by one of the zoo staff already assigned to take care of us. Thanks to the zoo management, we managed to arrange for free entrance for our clients and 50% off for our volunteers. The staff assigned to take care of us actually took us around the zoo to explain about the animals. Although there were tram services available to go around the zoo, we decided to walk to be able to enjoy and learn more about the animals.
Since ours was quite a big group (there were 40 of us if I am not mistaken), in case we were separated (some walked faster, some walked slower), we were told to wait outside the lion’s cage. The zoo management had arranged for us to actually touch and take photos with a few animals.
It had been a looooooooong while since I last went to the zoo so I can’t really say if there are any improvements but they do have quite a variety of animals including an 8-feet long fish called the… apanama? Errr no, not the apanama, but the Arapaima.
Anyway, Taiping being one of the towns with the highest amount of rain; it rained while we were walking around. Thank goodness there was a nearby shelter while we waited for the rain to stop. And the rain stopped after about 10 or 15 minutes so no, it didn’t spoil our day.
As arranged earlier, we stopped outside the lion cage. When the whole group got there, the zoo staff took out 2 lion cubs for us to hold and to take photos with. Cute little darlings! Some others not in our group who happened to pass by about the same time, “tumpang sekaki” since the zoo staff were not able to tell which ones were from our group and which were not.
After the lion’s cage and after passing a few more animals including the group of animals from the African Savannah, the next stop was the snake house. A 60kg python was brought out for us to “play” with. That was the first time ever I touched a snake (of any kind!). It wasn’t so bad after all…
They didn’t arrange for us to take photos with the crocodiles though, so no photos of crocodile Dundee…
By the time we got to the Zoo Central where the main shelter is, it was already after 12 noon. There the zoo management arranged for us to play with an orangutan. There even more people tumpang sekaki and berkaki-kaki, to the extent that we found it difficult to get our group of people to take pictures with the orangutan even though the arrangement was actually made for our group. For some of the photos, I couldn’t really focus, so I just held my camera up high so that I wouldn’t be snapping pictures of people’s heads instead!
Since it was already afternoon, we decided to have lunch first before we continued our walk around the other half of the zoo. We had made earlier arrangements with the canteen operator to provide us packed lunch. Even for lunch, some of the public actually wanted to tumpang sekaki… one guy was actually about to take one (or more) from the big box where our lunch packs were placed. I had to tell him that the lunch belonged to our group.
I couldn’t join the other half of the trip around the zoo as I had to go back early to go to KL the same day. So after lunch, I joined another volunteer in her car as she too had to go back early due to some other commitments. It was during our way back to Ipoh that I managed to get more updates about Yah.
Actually when Yah got to where we were supposed to assemble earlier, she wasn’t wearing her tudung. But later when we got down from the bus, she was already wearing the tudung ( despite her fitting short sleeve t-shirt and tights). On the bus she took out a tudung from her bag and wore it, telling another client sitting next to her, “Takut nanti Kak Afizah marah.” Laaaaa…. Akai ada ka?? As though I never saw her without tudung before!
And guess what she was doing in Kelantan? Well, she didn’t tell me exactly why she went to Kelantan. When I asked, she just went hehehe… ikut kawan…
But I still got the story nevertheless. She told another client, who then told her buddy about it. The buddy then told me about it.
You see, as I had figured out earlier, Yah is no longer with Mr. Darling. She has since got herself a new boyfriend, an engineer so it seemed. Somehow, she heard that her boyfriend went for holiday in Kelantan with someone else, so Yah actually took the trouble to go all the way to Kelantan. And like Melodi’s “Terjah”, Yah went to terjah the hotel where her boyfriend stayed, and found him there with another woman! Mak oiih, apa punya drama daaa…
So when Yah joined us for the Family Day outing, she actually just had a quarrel with her boyfriend. Hmmm… during lunch at the zoo she was chatting with the only male PLWHA who joined us for the trip… trying to get herself a new companion maybe to get over her frustration?