Monday, June 20, 2005

We're back from Hershey Park

But first, before our trip details, a news story that also hits too close to home:

BBC news: A Canadian two-year-old boy has been killed at an international school in Cambodia where gunmen had taken dozens of pupils and teachers hostage. Police ended the siege by storming the school in Siem Reap, near the tourist site of Angkor Wat, officials say.

They say they have arrested four captors who had demanded $1,000, arms and a vehicle to take them to Thailand.

The children, aged between two and six, who come from the UK, US and countries in Asia, are now free.

Siem Reap is popular with tourists for the ancient monument of Angkor Wat. The town is relatively prosperous, compared to most of Cambodia - one of the poorest countries in South East Asia.

Kindergarten captives

Masked men armed with shotguns were said to have stormed the Siem Reap International School at about 0930 (0230 GMT). They seized two kindergarten classes, one of which was later released.

About 30 pupils and staff were held for several hours.

The children are reported to have come from Japan and several other Asian countries, Australia, the US and across Europe. One British child was among the hostages.

The Canadian child had been shot by captors before forces moved in, police said. The attackers killed him when officials declined to meet all demands, the information minister told the Associated Press. "They also threatened to kill the children one by one," Khieu Kanharith said.

But parents at the school said they saw armed officers enter the compound during the afternoon - and then they heard gunfire. Eyewitnesses spoke of chaotic scenes as pupils emerged and were reunited with anxious parents. Initial reports said there were six hostage-takers and two had died in the shoot-out. The motive for their attack is still unclear. Diplomatic sources believe Thursday's incident may have been a robbery that had gone wrong.

Acts of terrorism are extremely unusual in Cambodia, the BBC's Guy Delauney reports from the capital, Phnom Penh.

Now on to our regularly scheduled lives...
My mom's office sponsored a trip to Hershey Park, PA so she invited us to go. And we did. The office provided breakfast, transportation by bus, and lunch. My mom treated us to the park tickets so all we had to do was have fun.
Nicholas passed on the log flume (which is probably a good thing as it was considerably higher than the two he's already been on), but the girls and Ian went on twice and came out soaked down to their toes. There's a handy wall at the bottom of the flume that catches the spray and turns it right back on the boat. Nicholas also flaked out of the tube water slide and neither of the boys were big enough for the Comet coaster the girls rode. But the boys had plenty of fun of their own. The park is well laid out with little rides sprinkled throughout so while big kids are at one ride, we could be a few steps away at those annoying round-n-round-n-round rides that little guys love so much.
Oddly enough, the favorite ride was the Hershey "Factory" Tour, with the free chocolate bar at the end. And of course we all chose bags of candy and chocolates of our own at the shops. Hershey has so many options we hadn't seen before. White chocolate Reese's? Dark chocolate Kisses? Yes, please.
The weather was perfect, the kids had a blast. My mom went on the rapids ride, we all got souvenirs. We even remembered sunscreen.
Though we did fail in one aspect as parents. We only made three of the four kids cry. Nicholas... when he'd waited through the entire line to go on the water slide, then changed his mind. Katherine... when she left grandma's sweater behind (we did recover it). Rebecca... when a 3D game thing (hard to describe) caused Ian to punch her in the mouth. Jonathon was unscathed.
I will say this too for Hershey Park. The food is great. Maybe it was because we were so hungry, but I don't think so. We ate at the Factory Food Court, with soups and sandwiches and pizza the seven of us ate and drank for $40. Not cheap but hey, there -were- seven of us and that's less than $6/person at a park.
The bus ride back was quiet, even with The Incredibles blaring on the TVs. Jonathon conked out about 9:30 but all the others toothpicked their eyes open in order to watch it. I decided after my second viewing that I like that movie even less than I thought. Definitely not a kids film, IMO. I wish they'd finished showing SpongeBob, or even had reshown Finding Nemo.
Today Nicholas asked if we could go back so he could go on the Factory Ride again.

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