11 June 2008

The Family Park

We ventured to the Family Park across the river around sunset. Two pounds each got us in, and the baby was free. Deserted buildings and rusty rides didn't look too promising. But further in...
the place seemed to come alive.

Families were sitting on mats strewn on the green grass under tall trees. Kids threw beach balls, ladies chatted, fathers played with their little ones. Local baked goods, cotton candy, ice cream cones, and local tea and coffee were all being offered by local entrepreneurs. We walked the entire perimeter... to see what there was to see. A fresh juice stand with tables and chairs overlooking the river. A line of kids enjoying a big slide the shape of an elephant. Young couples quietly chatting on benches. Kids scraping their money together for just one more ride ticket. Men lounging around reading the paper near the broken bumper-cars ride. Entire families huddled around bowls of beans sharing their dinner together...

We found ourselves a place to spread our sheet and plopped down. H quickly scooted off the sheet to explore the funny green stuff growing out of the ground (and see what it tasted like). We watched the tilt-a-whirl whirl and tilt as little kids and grown men alike climbed aboard and went spinning away, screaming all the while. I contemplated if I would prefer to be on the roller coaster if it broke (just falling mostly straight down to the ground) or be on the tilt-a-whirl if a car flew off (launching me either into the air or straight into the ground). I decided I'd prefer to be on the roller coaster... you know... if I had to choose which one to be on when it broke.

We got up our nerve and decided to ride the Ferris Wheel. Becoming like the locals, we threw all thoughts of queuing out the window and pushed ourselves to the front of the 'line.' We climbed in, handed over our tickets, and they turned the big wheel once. Then they decided that our small car was not full enough and put two young men in with us. One of whom was very LARGE. The circular seat was a bit small for the 4.5 of us, and I could see the fear in Mike's eyes. With a death grip on the baby we rode around for about 30 minutes (they're a little slow on the load and unload aspect of the ride). I made a special effort to make no sudden movements... in hopes that the small car wouldn't rock too much.

Lucky for me, the young guys had some snazzy cell phones and although they spoke no English we had an enjoyable soundtrack of Celine Dion and Backstreet Boys (don't judge me because of my taste of music). I couldn't help but laugh when the big guy was singing along with Celine in his falsetto voice. Did he know what he was singing about?

Finally the ride ended and tenderly climbed down. After a little more sitting in the grass and sipping soda out of glass bottles, we called it a night... I called it a very successful night. I want to go back soon!

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