Monday, December 18, 2006

The Endless Summer

After six months of almost daily swimming (2 months in the states and 4 months here), we thought our extended summer of swimming was finally coming to a close. The pool across the street at the American Club was scheduled to close for winter on December 4. Our apartment building’s unheated pool closed in early November. But no, the management decided that with daily temperatures still in the 70's, they would keep their well heated pool open. Though we are the only ones swimming, and people, wearing coats and scarves, stare at us in shock, we are enjoying this endless summer.

Right across the street from our apartment building, between us and the water, is the American Club and our favorite pool. The American Club, around since 1925, is one of Hong Kong’s largest private clubs. It has restaurants, various fitness venues, a spa, and classes of all kinds for kids and adults. (This is where the kids and I take Mandarin and where Tori takes ballet). But its main attraction for us and for many is a small patchy section of lawn and a kids playroom called the Eagle’s Nest. Our kids love to run around on this lawn (maybe the size of three large-ish front lawns in the states) and kick a ball and yell. While I am all for green space, this lawn is really quite ragged, with dinner tables encroaching out on to it during the weekends. It is really not the most wonderful of lawns but points to how space is really limited and loved here.

The Eagle’s Nest, an indoor playground, also speaks to lack of space but is the polar opposite of the patchy pockmarked lawn. The Eagle’s Nest is sort of like a huge McDonald’s play area times ten and with a staff monitoring, cleaning and playing. And without the safety measures of an American playground. There is a slide in the Eagle’s Nest that is literally a straight drop down of about 15 feet that then bottoms out into a ball pit. All of our kids have done it and love it. I am finally at the stage where I can watch them and smile as they free fall. While I would prefer just a walk around our apartment complex, we do hit the Eagle’s Nest weekly, primarily just to hear Royce’s Eagle’s Nest joke which she tells every time we go: "Do you want to hear something funny? There are no eggs in the Eagle’s Nest!"


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