Sunday, August 26, 2007
Sokolniki Park, Again
Today we went back to Sokolniki Park with Chris; he had never been there. The girls wanted to see more of the horse expo and they were eager to use their scooters on the labyrinth of smoothly paved paths. This was our first full day with Chris since returning from America; we had last Saturday together, but the kids slept for half of it.
The first thing we saw was the chess area. There were hundreds of people (mainly elderly men, but we spotted some women and folks of all ages). It's certainly no revelation that chess is "huge" here in Russia; but actually seeing the crowd gathered makes quite an impression. You can find similar scenes in parks throughout the city on any pleasant afternoon. There's a chess club at Katya's new school and I've signed her up for it; I hope she'll enjoy it! We figured that the discipline and logic skills would be good for her--and the game has a "coolness" factor since she saw Harry, Hermione and Ron play "Wizards' Chess" in one of the Harry Potter movies...
The kids went on one pony ride again, we walked through one expo hall and found a nice horse t-shirt, then we went outside for some superb scooter riding and a stop at the amusement park. Chris and Katya went on a few rides together; they loved the "bumper boats" and "kangaroo flying cars". It's nice when the four of us are there; Katya can do more "grown-up" rides since I can stay with Natalia. Both girls loved the inflatable climbing tower. It was NOT easy and they enjoyed the challenge.
Both girls went on the harness trampoline, too. They did that once before last year at Victory Park and LOVED it. They go soooo high! I must confess: I'd like to do it next time! This is probably the safest ride (other than the inflatable attractions) at the park. The men who work the ropes and levers actually pay close attention to what they're doing.
We got ice cream and then headed home... Chris is pretty exhausted after his two months of non-stop work. Before leaving the park, however, I managed to take this close-up photo of the Ferris Wheel pod that I wrote about yesterday. It gives me the chills to see that the little boy in this picture isn't even holding onto the rail in the center--and his mother is relaxed and smiling! And, oh, doesn't that dinky chain across the "door" instill such confidence in you???
(Parental disclaimer: I had purchased our tickets for the Ferris Wheel before seeing the ride up close. I was also utterly exhausted from jet lag and two months of parenting on my own. By the time I noticed how unsafe the ride was, we were already sitting down and it had moved VERY quickly past a point at which we could change our mind and get off. You can't just have them stop the ride the way they would in America. I made a conscious decision to remain calm so my kids would--thus keeping them safe).