Sunday, June 24, 2012
24 June: Dinner at the club
24 June Children's Museum again today! To make the membership worth it, we plan on going every week this summer, and why not? We all have such a good time. I saw and chatted with four employees we have seen each time (Noora, Ayah, Amaal, and Anas), all while chasing Yumi and Emi throughout the museum. I told them in advance to stick with me but that direction seemed to go in Emi's ear and out the other. They are already so familiar with the main exhibit hall that they know just where their favorite activities are located--and can zoom right there. The place is full of kids and exudes what--to them--must be a very safe vibe because they do not cling to me in the least. They want to be off exploring. We visited their favorite spots: forts, the wheelchair race, the rowing skeleton, space, the koi stream, the supermarket, the library. Yumi cautiously entered a gigantic stomach. Emi rode on a humongous bee. We did could not do crafts as that room was closed for a special class. The guy who runs it though saw us through the glass door and popped out to urge us to come back on a different day other than Sunday which, apparently, is the day reserved for special art classes. I told the guy that I still remembered the words he taught me last week (scissors and glue) and he acted thrilled. He probably thinks I am a complete whacko. That, or just incredibly slow. I brought our stroller this time, just to see how it would work out. I knew it would be a hassle to get it in and out of a taxi when I have three other little people to manage at the same time. And it WAS a big hassle. Of course, it was nice to be able to put Aya in there and give us both a break from the ergo but she really wanted to get out and crawl around. Which I let her do quite a bit, so I an not sure how useful it was to the museum experience to have it around. It WAS helpful, though, when leaving. When we left after our first visit, a cab was just dropping someone off in front of the door and we hopped right in. Lucky. On our second visit, we had to walk nearly 10 minutes on a very hot day down to the main road--where we caught a taxi. To make our departure easier, I thought I'd bring the stroller. For this reason alone, it was worth it; not only did we need to walk down the hill, we ended up waiting at least ten minutes for an available cab. The stroller made this all easier. Not sure what I will do next time. Probably bring the stroller. Since we WILL be going again and frequently, I also need to decide if I should skip Aya's morning nap and give us more time there/make the long drive of there (nearly 30 minutes) worth it. This naturally seems a good idea but it would make my more morning workout difficult or impossible to have her up and crawling about. I have got Yumi and Emi pretty well trained to let me get nearly 45 minutes of exercise time in with minimal interruption. And this is good, because it REALLY irritates me when they do instruct me with demands, fights, etc. quite frankly, I assumed I'd never be able to get in a workout here because I'd find their interruptions too frustrating. But as long as I have Yumi up on a barstool doing ABCs on the iPad and out of reach of Emi, it works out. Yumi does not get down because she knows if she does than the iPad will disappear. Emi gets to play with crayons, also something that will be put away if she stops playing with them. This is the system I have developed. I could do my workout earlier while Aya is awake if we planned on skipping her nap and being out, but it would be harder. Maybe worth it, though, because we did not get back here for lunch until nearly 2:00pm! Thank goodness I brought snacks. Amazingly, the girls were great in the taxi ride home and I got in a good chat with our driver. This evening we went to the neighboring "Sports City" complex, just right cross the road from our hotel. Sports City is the home of the national football arena, multiple pools and gyms, a fancy restaurant, and who knows what else. Nate has been running on their jogging trails the last two weeks and stumbled across their main gym and amazing pool. He took us over there this evening with the idea that we might consider a family membership of some kind and wanted my opinion/approval. It is close but getting their on foot is no small feat; to cross the main road one must use a pedestrian bridge over which Nate had to carry the stroller (everyone dismounted first). We also had to navigate across another major road without a bridge or cross walk--just dodging traffic with our three small children in tow. No big deal. Normally I'd have been all about this kind of adventure but I was pretty rattled by a relatively short but nasty Yumi fit that occurred just as we were trying to leave the hotel and meet Nate (as he was coming back from school) to go to Sports City. I was thus in no real great mood and probably did not appreciate the sports complex as much as Nate hoped I would. He knows much much I miss going to the gym and genuinely wants me to get a membership. There are so many reasons why it would not work, however. For starters, Nate would have to watch the girls and, while they are not exactly little angels with me, they are worse with him. And besides, he is here to learn and should not be taking precious study hours so I can go to the gym. He is willing to, but I won't let him. Going in the early morning or later at night is problematic, however, since both Aya and Yumi sleep right by the door of our hotel suite. It is just not meant to be. With this in mind and discouraged as I was by Yumi's episode, I did not enjoy our tour of the complex as much as I know Nate hoped I would. The pool IS beautiful, with a slide and fountain. Maybe we will just pay to come occasionally? I'll sleep on it--maybe my perspective will be better tomorrow. Suddenly it was 6:30pm and the girls were hungry and we were still smack in the middle of Sports City. We made a pragmatic decision to eat at the fancy restaurant next to the gym. There were positively no other patrons--no Jordanian dines at 6:30pm--so we weren't too worried about the girls bothering anyone. We accompanied them as they wandered through the tables overlooking the outdoor tennis and volleyball courts. We ate a fine meal that was definitely not worth the SIX TIMES we normally pay for a dinner. Isn't that crazy? Even a meal on the upscale Rainbow Street costs six times less than this place. We just gritted our teeth and were especially grateful for Nate's generous per diem that was apparently determined with dinners like this mind...every evening. Returned to the hotel and Nate dashed off to pick up our laundry from the very nice and entrepreneurial Abu Manal who made a killing off of us this week. Got the girls to bed by 8:30, a full hour later than their "normal" American bedtime but that is when we usually get them down here. I am looking at the calendar and wondering how it is that three weeks have not even passed yet! I feel like we have been here for ages.