One Saturday Min-jun, Chun-ja, Mi-sook, Min-hyuk, Jeung-ryu, Joo-won, Hye-jin and I set out to visit the Lion Safari Park at Cambridge. This was a nice journey of about two hours. Both Min-jun and I had studied the road map well before the journey, so we didn’t try to follow one another because Min-jun started from Kanata while I started from Nepean. Both cars arrived well before feeding time of the lions.
At one o’clock a dozen cars entered the safari park, where the lions had just been let loose. Six lions entered the arena while 20 live lambs and deer were propelled through the air to entice the hungry lions. They chased these lambs and deer, jumped on them, tore them apart and started relishing their live lunch.
Before letting the cars into the park the ranger advised the drivers to keep all windows shut. The lions usually don’t jump on the cars to break the windows; however, if the windows are open the lions smell the human and they could then jump on the car window and hunt the people inside. He advised that, if a car should stop, the driver should wait inside the car till the end of lunch hour when the rangers would help.
Before entering the park, I checked that everyone had used the toilet facilities so that no-one needed to respond to nature’s call during the lions’ lunch hour. We kept some biscuits and drinks handy in case we felt hungry.
For about 15 minutes I drove round and round looking for lions but didn’t find any. Hye-jin and I were checking all road post information to ensure that we were in the right area. Just about this time, I saw a lion crossing the road. I slowed down a bit ...
Bang—a car hit the rear of my car. I stopped and was about to get out of the car instinctively when Hye-jin shouted, ‘Don’t open the door; the lions are around’.
Hye-jin and I looked behind through the broken rear window and found the car that had knocked us from behind was no other than Min-jun’s Commodore. The front window of that car had also been shattered. Mobile phones weren’t available at that time, and I shouted and gestured towards Min-jun asking him to remain stationary. Min-jun reciprocated a similar gesture. The lions were wandering very close to our cars.
Frightened, Joo-won cried, ‘Daddy, the lions are around us; they must have got our smell’.
Min-hyuk put his hand protectively around Joo-won’s neck and said, ‘Nothing will happen; my hands are here’.
I realised that Min-hyuk’s hands were no great armour and I asked Joo-won to get into the space behind the front seats. I asked Min-hyuk and Jeung-ryu as well to crouch in the space behind the front seats. Min-hyuk, Jeung-ryu and Joo-won all crouched low and hid themselves behind the front seat. Though the rear window was broken, they were somewhat sheltered by the rear seats.
Everyone prayed to God, ‘Let the lunch period be over soon; we’re dying to get out of the car and breath free in air’. One hour seemed a very long time. The lions might have been watching us as meals-on-wheels; anytime they might pierce through the broken windows and taste our flesh.
Just then, a car started circling our cars at a reasonably high speed. The driver of this car was another visitor to the safari park just like Min-jun and I, but he had the presence of mind to do something to keep the lions away from the broken windows of our cars. That person drove round and round till the lions’ lunch session was over, when a ranger came to our rescue. The ranger asked me to move my car to the exit of the park; however the rear right wheel was jammed after the impact of the accident. The ranger managed to free the wheel and I drove out of the park and pulled up on the road. Soon Min-jun’s car was parked behind mine. Min-jun and I phoned the insurance company, with which both cars were insured.
We all removed our things from the car boots and waited for the tow truck, which arrived 30 minutes later and loaded both cars to take away for repair. We waited another 20 minutes for two taxis before we headed home.
Min-jun’s daughter, Mi-sook, remembered this event for months. In broken words she went on saying, ‘Daddy’s car and Uncle’s car bang!’ She and Joo-won shared the fun of this dreadful experience.
Jie-won and Hye-jin don’t have many friends in Ottawa. They have only a few close friends with whom they share almost no boundaries.
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