Saturday, February 12, 2005

Truly an awesome day.

Looking at it from an alternate view, I could allow myself to get sad and despondent. I could begin grieving (a natural step in the process of any life change) for what we are losing, what's being left behind. But instead, today will be viewed as one of those sparkling days where everything went just right and was nothing short of wonderful. Filled with joy, happiness, friendship and just... just right.

The movers came at 8:30 and before noon were done putting our junk into big crates and on the back of trucks. Bye bye stuff. If we see any of it again, I'll be totally impressed.
The packers were still on our front step having their lunch when we locked the doors to our very empty house (but for gov't furnishings and the TV we haven't given up yet) and headed down the South Super to the Santa Rosa exit and to Enchanted Kingdom.
Katherine went last year with a birthday party and we've been promising the kids over and over that we would go. For over a year we've been saying it and here we are at the absolute last weekend in the Philippines with packers all morning and a promise to keep. When I decided several weeks ago that today would be the day I also told myself that there was no way the moving company could take more than two days for the job. Oh well, we weren't at EK at the opening, but we did make it by lunchtime (it takes about 40 minutes from Makati) and met up with two other families. All together we were a group of 14 with kids aged 3, 3, 4, 5, 7, 7, 9, 9.
Enchanted Kingdom was a happy surprise. Katherine had raved about it, but an eight year old isn't going to think about things like safety, cleanliness and such to the same degree as an adult. Rides were kept up, pathways were clean, food was decent, there was plenty of shade and no crowds. All on Saturday during the cool and dry season. The breeze was wonderful and thinking back on the day I think a huge joy was just spending the time walking outside. It's an activity rarely done in smoggy stifling Manila.
By the time we arrived the other families had done quite a few rides already but with an empty park it was easy to let the kids go again and again. The park is separated into five themes, but in all honesty it's tiny so you can see everything in an 8 minute walk around. Boulderville (an obvious takeoff from the Flintstones) is in the center and dedicated to the younger set. A playground, mini ferris wheel, hampster tunnels, and those rides where you pull the lever and go up and down, nauseating spinning teacups... the boys loved it all. I'll run through the overall favorites. The Roller Skate: a kid roller coaster even I could handle and it literally lasted 20-25 seconds, so we went twice. The rapids: family favorite, also done twice even though it had the only line at less than 10 minutes long, the first time was by family the second by age, I was thoroughly drenched after the second run, the others laughed and laughed. The Space Shuttle: a looped corkscrew rollercoaster that goes forwards then backwards, Ian took the girls, twice, Rebecca professed to love it but I think she loved the fact that Katherine didn't enjoy it so much so she could gloat (Rebecca still gets points for actually going though, extra points for being in the front. She said it was so she would be done first.) The carousel: the boys couldn't get enough.
What didn't fly? Nicholas hated the log flume. I survived the log flume. Jonathon was too short for the log flume. Jonathon was also too short for the bumper boats, the bumper cars, the virtual reality show/ride and he was a bit bummed but never bored. We ended up staying at the park until 7 p.m. with the rides, the food and the little sidewalk shows. A thoroughly pleasant day for P500 day passes and food that didn't cost more than a P65/person. Dinner of fried rice and sodas for all six of us totalled P540. Earlier I'd spent P140 on four ice creams for the kids. Affordable fun is putting it mildly.
With the park size, the number of adults and the ages of the kids, we generally stuck together without stifling anyone and we all went with the flow and the whims of the kids. I think the adults had as much fun, I really do. But what really made the day was the specific people we spent it with. Carol and Kristine are a blast to be with, their spouses are fun and their kids are great. I couldn't have asked for more laidback, fun people to spend one of our last Manila days with. I will truly miss them when we leave and I'm so thankful that they didn't get scared away by the idea of Saturday at an amusement park or of our bailing on arriving at opening. I'd set up the idea afterall and then came late, but they stuck to the plan and I'm grateful. Today will be a treasured memory for our family, a very fond farewell to Manila and to our friends. Thanks so much.

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