Sunday, April 01, 2012
An Interesting Day at the Zoo
We went to Brasilia last week. We had appointments at the American Embassy...had to get Hadley's and Eissa's passports renewed. Since we had to go all the way to Brasilia and our appointments weren't until the afternoon, we decided to take the kids to the zoo. Considering that it was about $3 for all of us to go, it was definitely worth it, even for just a little bit.
We got to the zoo around noon. It's a very interesting zoo...you drive through it. Of course, you park and get out along the way to view the animals up-close, but, I've never been to a drive-through zoo before, not that I remember anyway.
So, we get there and drive a little down the road, then we park. We spend about 20 minutes watching the kids go CRAZY with excitement, running around from one cage to another...from white tigers to rhinos to horn-billed herons. They've been to a zoo before, but it was 2 years ago. Eissa was 3...she doesn't really remember it. She was leading the pack this time, squealing the whole time. :)
We got to the African elephant's cage. The older 3 kiddos were running ahead of us...ran around the whole elephant pen to the left. We walked along leisurely with Cass to the right of the pen, planning to meet up with them. We got to where we were thinking we'd meet them and then realized that there was no way to get through. And also noticed that they'd headed on to the next attraction. :) So, we were again leisurely strolling down the hill, on to meet up with the kids at the next attraction.
When all of a sudden I hear something (about 10 seconds after that elephant/Cass picture was taken). I look behind me and it was rushing toward me like a tsunami. Joel was about 10 feet ahead of me and I yelled, "Run!! It's coming!!!!" But, it was too late. It caught up to us in a matter of about 2.5 seconds.
It was the weirdest and funniest thing. A huge downpour just came out of nowhere. We were pretty instantly soaked. Poor Cass was not at all thrilled about the situation.
We head to a tree and try to take a little cover at least. The little tree didn't do much for protection. We still didn't see or hear our other kids at this point, so Joel headed off through the soaking liquid to find them when suddenly they appeared from around the elephant pen. Poor Eissa didn't care too much for the situation either and it was very evident. They rounded the corner, Eissa crying and Grady holding her hand and leading her along, Hadley at their side. They were drenched.
Joel met them and they ran to a different tree. About this time, Cass and I ventured across the street to a larger clump of trees...that was better. Joel and the kids ventured farther away to an actual building and took cover there under the roof. At the very end of it all, I noticed a tarp about 30 feet away from Cass and me...we had to wade through a muddy pass to get there, but we went. Joel ran to get the car when it had slacked off a bit and the kids ran to meet Cass and me under the tarp.
The whole thing only lasted probably about 15 minutes, but it seemed like way longer. It happened all of a sudden, but when you are just standing there in pouring down, cold rain, time stands still. Haha. It was pretty miserable. (Pic: It was just so strange. I was like, 'What?!?' And poor, sweet little Cass. :( )
Thank God, Mama was prepared. I happened to have enough extra clothes in the car for all 3 girls. Grady had on a very fast-drying outfit, so he was ok. Only Joel and I had to walk around soaked to the skin all day. Fun times. :/
We drove through the rest of the zoo and called it a day there.
When we went to the embassy, so ironic...it's such a rarity to find any air-conditioned anything here in our neck of the woods, but oh, where did we have to sit? You know...in a cold, air-conditioned room. Of course, since we were soaking wet. Hahaha. Also there at the embassy, they had hand driers in the bathrooms (our kids were in AWE of those), so I tried to dry my shirt. But, it didn't really work out.
It was definitely a memory-making day.
I loved one part of the downpour though. I got to see Grady in a different light...one that I don't get to see that often. They are almost always just with us. Personality-wise, Hadley has more the 'take-charge' personality...just in everyday life. Not that Grady doesn't ever lead or anything, but it was just really cool to see it that day. I saw them round that curve in the drenching rain, Grady holding Eissa's hand and leading the way, and I knew that he was taking care of things. I asked him about it later. He said that it started raining and Eissa immediately started just wailing. He said that he tried to lightheartedly jump and run and try to "cheer her up" he said. But, he quickly saw that that wasn't working. ;) So, he said he just grabbed her hand and said, "Let's go" and led her all the way. Loved that.
That night when we were going to bed, I was talking to the girls before I prayed and sang to them. I said something about what a great big brother they have, that he was holding Eissa's hand and leading them along. Eissa said, "Yeeeah, he held my hand." And Hadley said, "Yeah, that made me feel like a gold coin." I said, "A gold coin?" Hadley: "Yeah, like really good. Full of peace." ;) Ha...it's always so intriguing to me the way kids think and the associations they have. :)
So...yes, it was a very interesting but neat day. I'm all done with zoos and being rained on for a while though. I think the rest of the Ebersoles would agree. ;)
And here are some more pictures from that day...
As we arrived there...and some pictures of our 'dry time' there to begin with.
A little goiaba (guava) snack after the trip to the zoo.
See how Hadley's taking pictures of everything? Her first, brand new camera. It was a Christmas present...and had just gotten here a few days before (after being sent to Brazil, returned by customs, then traveling back down here with a friend in his suitcase...finally making it to us). It didn't survive the torrential downpour. Are you serious?!? Yes, yes I am. :( Grady's survived, and thankfully, ours (a much more expensive model) did too. And...also thankfully, we are going to the states soon (I'll explain more about that new development in a following post) and can get Hadley another one probably.
Joel: "Here kitty, kitty, kitty. I have some good Eissa food to give to you." Eissa: "Huh?"
Cass fell down and skinned her knee up pretty good a few minutes after we got to the zoo. So she spent the next few minutes before the downpour being carried around. Then the downpour...so yeah, it was an all-around traumatizing experience for little Cass. Haha. :(
It's funny seeing this picture now. This is a different tarp than the one that we used during the last few minutes of the downpour. It is also a tarp that would have been closer...where we should've gone, and would've gone, from the very start of the downpour had we been paying attention. I'm pretty sure that from now on when I go to a zoo, I'm going to be scoping out all the good closest-to-me shelter spots as we walk along. You can see the elephant there ahead of us and our kids going around the left of the pen.
Studying a map of the zoo.
The infamous African elephant exhibit.
And the aftermath.
No matter what we said or did...
...this was Cass' response.
I'm pretty sure she was a bit traumatized and in shock. Aww...
At least we had some alpacas (or whatever that is) to look at as we waited for Joel to bring the car.
Joel came with the car, the girls got all changed, and then we headed around for a driving tour of the animals before we called it a day.
And some more elephants as we exited the zoo.
Those darn elephants...seem to have been a theme that day. ;)