Saturday, July 6, 2013

"So people sit on there? Even though dead people are underneath?"--Alaina

Day seven:  July 2, 2013

6:30AM came early that Tuesday.  We knew today was set to be another scorcher at 93 before 10:00AM and a high of 108 for the day. 

But our plan for today was to show off what happens on a normal day in the lives of my parents.  As it turns out my parents don't usually hit Santa Cruz, Disneyland, and the Jelly Belly factory each day.  Most days in fact they start the day with Tai Chi in the park. 

Tai Chi is a martial art that involves deep breathing, balance, and flexibility.  It is supposed to calm the mind and focus one's energy.  It's similar to yoga but without holding the positions for so long.  It's more fluid.  But should develop the same core strength.  In theory when you see a bunch of people in the park doing Tai Chi. You should be able to run off and push them without having them fall over.  This is due to the "roots" one works with when performing Tai Chi. I am suggesting you do this.  No, leave the 80-year-olds alone.  The cows will feel neglected.   
Marilyn enjoyed the Tai Chi but it didn't hold its appeal for too long with the kids.  They took to climbing trees, walking through sprinklers, and watching squirrels.  All of this was expected and planned for.  In fact one member of my parents' Tai Chi group, a 82-year-old Japanese woman named, Toshi loaned us a hacky sack to play with.  She even attempted to show us how it is done.  But the Akiukers chose to play tag with it.

We also came equipped with stale and moldy bread to feed the ducks at William Land Park.  We sat on benches and by the pond feeding ducks for a while and in the end both Henry and Alaina got the ducks to take the bread directly from their hands.  Once out of bread everyone started to approach the ducks for pictures. 

It was about 9:30 when we left the ducks and headed on to the Sacramento Zoo.  It was then that Alaina asked me the question on that is the title for today's blog.  The benches had in memoriam plaques.  It's a question that really makes sense... are the benches grave markers?  And while the answer is no, why not?  If the person being remembered enjoyed their time there on the bench--why not bury them there?

Some questions just have no answers I guess. 

Like zebras.

Why zebras?  Why do you look as you do?  No one has stripes like that.  You don't blend.  In fact, you look fake.  Love you zebras.  But you're way too fashionable for me.

The Sacramento Zoo isn't huge.  It's bigger than Anchorage.  But smaller than San Francisco.  My guess is that it's gone through some identity issues lately.  And what it's become through that is great.  It's a real learning zoo now.  There are lots of people in the park ready to provide information.  There was someone outside of the reptile area, for example, walking with a tortoise.  When we approach the animal "running" free, she told us all about him.  While he was a young tyke of 30 years old, his father is the oldest animal in the park. 

The veterinarian area has open glass walls and TV projectors with a microphone system to explain the procedures being done.  I watched and listened intently as they worked with a pair of one-month-old burrowing owls pictured here:

These owls were getting a West Nile vaccination and blood drawn to sex them.  I'm not quite sure if this little guy is a guy and neither are the workers there.  But the blood taken today will help us all learn more about him/her.

Flamingo.  Flamingo. Flamingo. Flamingo. Pelican. Flamingo.  Flamingo. Flamingo.  Do you ever have one of those days where you just feel a little out of place?  This guy cracked me up.

You know what else cracked me up?  Trapping Alaina in the exit turn-styles. 


Across from the Sacramento Zoo is Fairytale town.   Even though admission was only $4 a person, we didn't go in.  We were too big for the entryway so we figured it wasn't really catered to us.  We did look into Fairytale Town as we walked around to the car though.  And lamented at all the things 2.5 ft. off the ground that we COULD have been climbing.

At this time of the day it was around noon and a scorching 103 degrees.  We had been outside, without air conditioning, for just under five hours.  It was time to go inside.  Everyone thirsty but we should have all been hungry too. 

We went to a place called No. 1 Buffet.  It's a Chinese food place that has a lot of different options.  Everything from sushi to chocolate fudge to marinated chicken feet was had by our group there today.  Side note:  Henry and Justin followed up their dessert of ice cream with a second helping of sushi.

With full bellies, we went and did some shopping at SF Market.  SF Market has a lot of interesting items.  Like live blue crabs and frogs to eat.
We did not buy either of these but we did buy a life catfish, which was then gutted and chopped for soup that evening.

Side noted number two:  you see that dollar bill in Alaina's hand?  She and Henrietta both got one for remembering and reciting "Happy New Year, may I have lucky money?" to my mom. 


After SF Market I took a nap.  It was only for about an hour but it was just the refresher I needed to fulfill our promise yesterday to go to Sun Splash. 

The sunburn everyone sustained in Downieville has at this point become itchy peeling as you can see here: 


Some are peeling much worse than the kid in this photo and some are doing a little bit better but every one of our Akiukers is peeling.  We got to Sunsplash at about 5:30 and there was quite a line to buy tickets and enter for the Night Slide.  All the while I looked at the waterslides getting more and more excited about which ones I'd want to ride first.  You see, I haven't been to Sun Splash before.  I've driven by it plenty.  And I have even dropped off kids there before, but this was the first time I paid my money and went in myself. 

The first thing the ladies did was enter the wave pool.  It is pictured here:

Marilyn and I went pretty far in before the waves started.  As they continued Marilyn went closer to "shore" and I went even deeper.  As I started to tire, I move in a bit and met up with Alaina.  We were both in over our heads for a little while before we spotted Henrietta and Marilyn.  All four of us were together for the end of the waves and decided not to wait for them to start up again.  We instead took a turn in the lazy river (pictured two pics above).

After a loop in the lazy river we grabbed inner-tubes and headed for the rides.  I asked the attendant which ride he recommends for first-time riders and he suggested "Twin Twisters".  It was a great first ride.  Alaina, Henrietta, Marilyn, and I all finished that ride and got right back in line for the next ride.  The second ride was in complete darkness.  And it too was a blast.  But after that second ride, or fourth ride depending on how one defines a ride, we decided we'd look for the boys.

We found them shooting baskets.

So we rode a couple of the kiddie slides and then asked them if they wanted to ride the big water slides pictured behind the wave pool up above.  They declined.

So the four of us again rode great water slides including one that we did in a four-person inner-tube and one that we did Superman-style in a race (Henrietta was first but I went the furthest).  From there I split off from the group and went around the lazy river several more times.  Everyone else hung out by the water basketball until I decided I wanted to go on another big slide.  The first person I spotted was Alain who quickly said she would join me on Stealth.  We looked for Henrietta (because you can ride Stealth with one, two, or three people) but couldn't find her. 

The line was long and while we were standing in it we saw two more rides that looked like they had short lines.  Both rides were tube-less. 

Stealth was awesome.  Alaina says it was the highlight of the water park for her.  The two of us together nearly touched the top of the first shot upwards.  We know we were higher than most.  What a ride.

Incidentally these were everyone else's favorite part:

Henrietta:  Dark Zone

Henry: Thunder Falls

Marilyn: Six Chuter

Christina:  The Vortex

Justin: Basketball

Yago: Basketball

Alaina:  (when I asked a few days later she said)  All of them... equally

From this point I split off again and rode both of the body-slides while Marilyn convinced the boys to ride the last two rides she had done.  Everyone then met up in the wave pool until about 10:00.  The park closes at 10:30PM and as you can see, we shut down the place after dark.  It was a great night.

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