Friday, March 16, 2007

Culture Clash

This is a refresher picture for you of Duke's two gorgeous girls, Erica (left) and Christabelle (right).

On Wednesday Duke's wife wanted to get together because we hadn't seen each other for a long time, and I suggested that we go to a new "family fun place" I had noticed, (but not gone into) so the girls would have something to do after lunch.


The place is called ChurChees and it has a nice family restaurant upstairs and a very small play area downstairs with some Chuck E. Cheese type games (four), a small carousel, and an eight foot trampoline.

Lunch was mostly fine because they cater to all tastes, although I ordered Christa a cup of vanilla ice cream to go with her lunch, and when the ice cream came, she had no idea what it was.

Jane spooned some up for her and although she was very surprised at how cold it was, she liked it enough to eat about half of it. Her little sister Erica tried it, but the surprise and annoyance on her face at the coldness of it was all we needed to know she would refuse further offers of devil ice cream.

Duke took off to pick Coop up at school (Wednesdays are half days at Lincoln) and Jane and I went downstairs to the play area.

I paid for twenty "games" and we all trooped into the room. The employees started up the four horse carousel and both girls started crying.

Finally, Jane put Erica on a horse, held her hand, and walked beside her as the carousel went round and round.

While she did that, Christa cowered behind my leg and yelled "I don't like those goats!" Granted the carousel horses were about the size of the goats that roam freely all over Accra and Ghana, and nothing I could say would convince her they were horses and that I wouldn't let them hurt her.

So much for the carousel.

We moved on to the basketball game. When it starts up, ten grapefruit sized basketballs empty into a bin so you can shoot baskets and get points. When the balls were released, Christa jumped a foot in the air with surprise and began crying again. I gave her a ball to hold and her Mom showed her how to throw one at the basket. She watched and refused to try, always keeping an eye on the ball bin in case more demon basketballs came shooting out of the hole.


A variation on whack-a-mole, where two people whack colored lights and try to make their Frog climb fastest. I did one side, Christa and her Mom did the other side. Christa never took her eyes off the frogs climbing- and when Jane beat me twice in a row, she was...unimpressed.

During all this, Erica is standing, holding on to Jane's leg, comatose, wondering what kind of Twilight Zone hell we have entered.


We tried a game where you roll balls down a ramp and try to get one ball in each of seven slots. Christa thought this was mildly interesting and played that one three times before asking where Cooper was.

That's what Jane and I wanted to know. We figured once Cooper came, the fun would begin.

Meanwhile, Christa agreed to get on the trampoline with the girl who worked there. The girl bounced, Christa looked at us like we were the strangest people on Earth. All alone, Christa was too light to make the trampoline bounce. And she had no idea why she would want to, anyway.

Enter Cooper.

The girls were glad to see him, but couldn't spare attention for him in case the carousel 'goats' got loose and tried to eat them, so Duke and Jane played the whack a light/Frog race game, shot baskets, and then we used our last token on the ball rolling game for Christa.

On the way home, poor Christa fell asleep on Cooper while Erica watched me warily from beside her Mother wondering what dumb idea I would have next.

Duke said when he got home Christa chattered about her day non-stop - especially the "killer goats".

At least the adults had fun.