Thaketa School Picnic

2007/08 Asia Trip Itinerary | Home Page 7 of 9 | Page Down | Page Up   
Yangon Zoological Gardens
The day of our trip to the zoo and picnic finally dawned, we had all been looking forward to it.  Excitement had mounted for weeks as we planned our lessons and games with animal connotations and crossed the days off the calendar.  It s a good job we made name tags as I hardly recognized Tote Tote and her 6 yr old brother RJ when I saw them shining in their new uniforms, their hair parted and slicked down by their mother, they were so pleased with themselves
My heat skipped a beat when I saw Tote Tote
She was not looking quite so sure of herself as she clutched Tony's arm.   Many of the children had never been on a vehicle before.  I thought we might have overdone the hype as they were beside themselves with anticipation but the sick bags I packed in the picnic baskets were not needed

 Parents and grandparents came to wave us off and we left in grand style in our rented pick-up truck. The children broke into a rousing chorus of "The Wheels on the Bus" and we were off.  I am used to it but Tony still got a real kick out of all these little thanaka faced children singing English nursery songs.  They sang their little hearts out and just about exhausted their repertoire by the time we reached the zoo gates

The monkeys were first up; they are always good value, especially if you come armed with bananas, which we did. There was no gorilla but they didn't even notice with so much else to see

The crocodile obliged by opening his carnivorous mouth and was a great hit, as were the zebra, giraffe, deer and even the lowly rabbits and guinea pigs

Water cress for the hippo
Mis-ter Zoo Keep-ah
Was a favourite character in 'Goodnight Gorilla' and Yangon Zoo's keeper of the camels and ostrich did not disappoint.
He quickly stripped off his uniform shirt to reveal a torso covered in tattoos.  He invited everyone over the fence (so much for safety barriers) picked up the nervous girls and excitable boys and soon had the animals eating out of their hands. No mean feat with a hungry camel and pecking ostrich clamouring for breakfast.   There were camel kisses for those brave enough to offer a cheek

Too close for comfort?

Time to climb back over the 'safety' barrier

A bevy of Burmese beauties

Moe Tae Pwint   Soe Soe San   Tote Tote   Lin Lett Htwe

The tigers were a bit of an anti-climax, they wouldn't wake up no matter how loudly we requested but the other big cats made up for their cousins lack of energy.  The elephants were begging for sugar cane and we had 15 children slinging it at them as fast as I could buy and distribute it.  Only Chi Chi could be persuaded to stand on the low wall and lean over the trench to place the cane directly in the elephants trunk, Sparrow and I clinging on to "the brave little feller" to quote Stanley Holloway

The snakes failed to enchant, they were ok sleeping on branches in their glass tanks but when their keeper fished them out on a stick and headed in our direction there was a mass exodus, led by T Tar with everyone else close on her heels.  Several of the girls took a strong dislike to the large collection of porcupine and one particularly helpful little boy suggested they were mice!
We had set out early before the heat could get to us and put the rest of the animals to sleep along with the tigers.  Everyone was tired and hungry so we took our group photo and headed for the exit.  As we were leaving other school groups were arriving, large classes of 40 or more children with two teachers.   Four of us kept tabs on only 15 children but the other teachers had no trouble ushering groups of very subdued pre schoolers and primary students around.  We liked to think ours were having more fun
Kandawgyi Park Lake and Playground
Back on the bus we drove around the top of Kandawgyi Lake and towards the playground. A great cheer went up when they realized where we were headed for our picnic. Ten minutes earlier everyone was starving hungry and anxious to dive into the baskets of goodies we had packed.  When they saw the climbing frames and slides we had trouble getting them to sit still long enough to eat


Htoo Tae Zar Aung and friends

Sparrow supervised the top of the slide

Go girls
T Tar connected with her inner child   Soe Soe San elegant as ever
Mischievous RJ in his element
They had 1.5 hours to play in the park and get themselves good and dusty before we had to take them home and deliver them into the hands of waiting parents,  none of whom had signed a permission form for us to take their children off for the day 

Back at school RJ and Tote Tote in no hurry to leave

Staff dinner Monsoon Restaurant
It was a lovely lovely day, with no tantrums, no squabbles, or injuries and not a single one swallowed by lions in spite of the woefully inadequate safety measures.  Without a doubt the best bang we have ever had for surprisingly few bucks
Sadly on February 12th the  "Junta  began using cranes and trucks to relocate 420 animals,  including elephants, monkeys, birds, rhinos, bears and deer, out of the Zoological Garden in Yangon.  Fourteen trucks filled with animals, many stuffed into small cages, were scheduled to depart late Friday February  22nd for the new capital Zoo in Naypyitaw, 250 miles to the north" 
The remaining elephants were reportedly greatly distressed by the loss from their herd
2007/08 Asia Trip Itinerary | Home Page 7 of 9 | Page Down | Page Up