August 10, 2010

Summer Vacation

Monday my daughter had her first day of school. So soon? you ask. Well, in Panama there isn't a long summer vacation, because there isn't really a summer. It's about 90 degrees and 90% humidity all year long. (Which I'm not complaining about.) Most of the schools here begin their school year in March, making it harder for students starting school now to find the back-to-school supplies. (Oops, that was complaining.)

Excuse me, Ice Charades, does this post have anything to do with skating?

Why, yes, thanks for asking.

Now that summer is over in our household it's the perfect time to bore you in the next few posts about what I did on my summer vacation.

One of those days in July, my daughter and I went to a small-town county fair that was holding a fundraiser for the local fire department. It was a lot of fun and I think my daughter liked the bumper cars the best. They had the Scrambler, the Himalaya and the Tilt-a-Whirl among others, but I'm sure she liked the bumper cars the best.

It reminded me of my summers skating in amusement park ice shows, where we could ride all the rides for free.

A kid's dream come true!

Why could we ride for free? We had free entrance into the park and that way we got onto any of the rides before or after the shows. Plus our job was skating, which was way more fun than working the malt machine in the fair's dairy stand. (I did that job too in high school, so I make the comparison based on my own experience. That was a nightmare of a job - the malt-making one. To this day, I still can't look at a strawberry milkshake.)

But wait, better than that was my amusement park skating job in Japan. We lived IN the park. Right at the silly, little house next to the ferris wheel. Yup, three months in the park, looking out my window to see the wooden rollercoaster start up every morning. It was awesome.

Okay, okay, I wasn't thrilled and excited to see the rollercoaster every morning, but still, a lot of mornings. Good thing we skaters didn't take for granted our special living arrangements.

In fact, riding the rides wasn't enough. We turned them into competitions. (Hey, we're figure skaters with competition in our blood).

We had the bumper car contest where each of us had a large bucket of water on our lap and the person with the most water at the end of the ride (or any water, as was the case) was the winner. It was great until we saw that we had shorted out the battery-operated cars until they later dried out. Oooops.

We also had the run through the giant maze, only we were attached to two other teammates with a small rope and all three needed to do a shot at the entrance and exit of the maze.

But the cast's favorite by far was "Getting Looped on the Loop" game. You had to chug a small beer (in Japan they have beers in every size imaginable) as the rollercoaster slowly inched up to the peak before the crazy descent and on into the loop. The ride was really short - just one loop you did forward and then backwards, so we all had to do the ride five times with five small beers. This was a lot of fun and this we did, of course, after our last show of the day.

Aaaah, good times.

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