At some point in the last eight years, we started a family tradition of Birthday Saturdays. I think maybe it was a way to avoid spending money for anything but special occasions, or maybe it was my guilty subconscious compensating for our anti-birthday party policy. So we decided that in addition to celebrating birthdays on the actual days, we also have a special family activity that costs money. With seven birthdays in the family, it works out to a lot of birthday celebrations.
For Sophia's birthday Brandon and I decided to go to the "Central Garden," an amusement park a mile or two from our house. The children have been ogling it every since they saw the Ferris wheel on our first drive to the embassy. It is only open in the summer months and so we hadn't had an opportunity to try it out until recently.
I thought it would be fun (and easier than cooking) to take everyone out to dinner at a nearby tapchan restaurant that I had scoped out while driving around the city. Brandon pointed out that we had just recovered from intestinal issues, but I'm a gambler at heart. The restaurant served a local specialty, yogurt with flaky bread soaked in it and tomatoes and spices on top. Brandon had heard good things about the dish so he decided to try it out.
The children, after one fourth of a bite, declared it not so good, and nibbled at the cucumbers and sambusas while trying to drink as much juice as possible. Eleanor tried to crawl all over the table and Joseph tried to loll everywhere while unintentionally kicking at the food. Brandon manfully ate everyone's portions and some while I tried to amuse Eleanor with my phone, a bottle, a spoon, a cup, and diapers. She still was somewhat dehydrated so I gave her some water, which promptly came back up along with her lunch all over the nice green cushions. Brandon made sure to give the waiter a very big tip before we hastily retreated.
But, not being ones who were stopped by a little vomit, we went home and changed the baby before heading over to the amusement park. The children started out on the bouncy slide. Well, Sophia, Kathleen, and Edwin started out on the bouncy slide. Joseph watched. He got up his courage to try it a few times, but couldn't ever bring himself to climb up to the top.
Eleanor watched. All the rides.
The children rode this exact same ride in Georgia. I also saw the double of a ride the children rode in Baku. Evidently everyone gets their tacky fiberglass rides from the same place.
Why children enjoy riding in fiberglass contraptions that spin and play "Mambo Number Five" is completely beyond me. At least it was cheap.
Bumper cars, I can understand a little more. Because, bumper cars! Who doesn't like motorized crashes?
Poor Sophia could never quite get the hang of driving her car in anything but backward circles. Eventually one of the park workers took pity on her and, after removing a sobbing Joseph (the bumping part wasn't his favorite), drove her around. Kathleen, on the other hand, was in love. Edwin, too.
After ice cream - nothing beats ice cream for the whole family for less than $1 - we rode the Ferris wheel.
Brandon hates heights and abhors dangerous situations with children. Combine those and you've got a Ferris wheel. The view was nice, but I don't think he saw any of it.
Joseph, however, approved.
We finally left around dusk, after two hours of fun fun fun. The grand total for our outing - dinner and the park - came to a whopping $38. With three more years - and all of the birthdays that will come during those years - I imagine we'll probably be returning to the Bogi Poitakht. Maybe by the end we'll even get to ride some of the fun rides.