“Panda, I’ve been thinking…”
“Mmmph” I mumbled, as I awoke from a deep sleep. (Or maybe it was a concussion, I’m never sure…) Foster had been thinking? “I’m not sure that’s a good thing, Bro,” I said, blinking myself awake.“That’s not funny,” Foster replied. “Seriously, I’ve been thinking it’s about time for another adventure.” Somewhere in the back of my mind, I was reminded of the phrase “Pay no attention to the cat behind the curtain,” but I heard myself saying, “That sounds fun! Where do you want to go this time?”“Well,” Foster said. “Remember when I accidentally backed our travel tunnel into the curtain that hides my litterbox?” “How could I forget?” I answered. “Mom immediately sent a picture of that to her sister!” “Anyway,” Foster continued. “Looking at the fabric Mom used for the curtain made me think we should go on a safari! Plus I might get to see my big cat relatives!”“You mean like to see wild animals? You mean like go in a jeep and see elephants and lions and tigers and bears?” Foster shook his head. “No bears,” he replied. It didn’t take me long to come up with my answer: “Umm…no.”“Dude! It will be fun!” Foster said dreamily. Speaking of dreams, I thought, wasn’t therejust a different carpet in front of the sliding door? Oh well…It didn’t look like I was going to be able to talk him out of this one, (and, after all, I did get to see my panda relatives when we went to China) so we might as well make plans. “Can we go on a hot air balloon this time?” I asked. “Remember we saw them on our way back from our cruise?”“That sounds fun,” Foster said. “They can’t be any harder to drive than a plane! But where can we get one?” “Let’s look online,” I suggested. “I noticed Mom was getting some pictures of hot air balloons from Pixabay.com today.”“Well that’s a fortunate coincidence!” Foster answered. “Let’s go!”The pictures Mom had gotten from Pixabay.com were really cool. We hurried up to the balloons in the field and tried to decide which one we wanted.“Hey!” I shouted. “Let’s go on this one!”“No,” advised Foster. “I think we should take something more conventional. Let’s try this one!” “Okay,” I agreed. “Let me climb up these wires while you figure out how to make it fly!”“Hey wait!” I called. “You untied it too soon! Help!”“Panda…” I could barely hear Foster as I soared higher and higher!As I soared, I saw quite a few different balloons. So now I know what happened to Sunny!Somehow, Foster was able to catch a ride with another balloon and managed to join me. “Wow, that was a close one,” I said. “For a minute there I thought I was a goner!” Foster laughed. “Don’t worry, Buddy, I wouldn’t have let anything happen to you!”All at once we landed with a thump! “Are we in Africa?” I asked hesitantly. Foster nodded. “I hope so,” he replied. “Let’s get out and look around!”After a short hike, we came across a herd of zebras. “Hey, maybe these are some more of my long lost relatives!” I exclaimed. “Dude, get down!” Foster ordered. “You are going to get hurt!” Unwillingly, I obeyed. Fortunately we found a jeep and jumped right in. We drove past amazing wildlife and country. But suddenly, we came across a river! I guess Foster didn’t realize how deep it was, because he drove right in.“Help!” we shouted. Just then, another jeep drove up and a man jumped out to help us.Whew! We were all able to ride an elephant to safety.We decided we had better stick with the elephants instead of trying to drive anymore. They were very helpful and explained everything we saw. “Where can I find my big cat relatives?” Foster asked. “Oh, that will be easy,” the elephant’s replied. “We’ll take you!”
We rode all night, and after what seemed like forever, we arrived on the African savannah. “Okay, here you go,” the elephants said, kneeling to let us down. “Just call us when you’re ready to go and we’ll come get you!” We thanked them and started on our way to search for Foster’s relatives. Soon we noticed a family of tigers in the distance. Foster immediately ran ahead and asked if he could play with them.The tigers were very nice and accepted Foster at once. I was a little scared because they were so much bigger than him, so I watched from behind a rock.When they got tired, they all snuggled up together for a nap! Afterwards we met some leopards who allowed Foster to pose with them for a family picture. By now it was getting late, so we decided we should start for home.We hiked for a while until we found a cool suspension bridge. “Follow me!” I called. “This reminds me of the Great Wall of China!” “Hey, who’s in charge of this trip, you or me?” Foster asked, but he followed me anyway.When we got to the other side of the bridge we came face to face with a scary looking creature who demanded to know where we were going. “Umm…we’re trying to get home,” we explained warily. “We got here in a hot air balloon.” “Oh, why didn’t you say so?” the creature replied. “Follow me! I know where there is a hot air balloon that’s just getting ready to take off!” We followed him and you won’t believe what happened next!At the scary creature’s urging, we jumped into the basket with a little girl, her dog, and a strange looking man. I have to admit, we were starting to wonder what we had gotten ourselves into! Suddenly the man noticed us and grabbed me, holding me up in the air.“What is this panda doing in my balloon?” the man demanded. “Did you not see the sign? It’s as plain as the nose on my face! It says No Pandas Allowed!” Foster had already jumped out of the basket to the ground. “Dude! Come on,” he called. “Jump! I’ll catch you!” Oh no! This was deja vu! Remembering the adventure where I had to slide down a whimsical leaf to escape a whimsical spider web, I closed my eyes and jumped out of the man’s hand. As soon as I hit the ground we ran as fast as we could back to the savannah. We called the elephants and they came as soon as they could.“Thanks, guys,” we said when they dropped us off at the edge of the savannah. “You’re welcome,” the elephants answered heartily. “Any time you need a ride just let us know!”Fortunately for us, there was a group of balloons getting ready to leave for the U.S. We managed to catch a ride with some nice people who agreed to drop us off at our house. Home at last! I immediately kissed the ground…or actually the shelf, as soon as we came in through the front window.
“Hey, boys!” Mom called, apparently having heard us come in. “Have you guys been messing with my file of Pixabay pictures with the hot air balloons in them?”