Monday, June 10, 2013

Circus in town and family reunion - vacation in France - III

How time flies!  I worked my ass off to catch up the diary writing, but it seems that I never can.  So, I gave up to record everything in details daily.  Instead, I just list the highlights of the day when it seems worth of remembering.
June 1st, 2013, Saturday

The Daddy finally was on his way back from Paris.  In the end of the morning,  he called informing us that he would arrive around lunch time and the whole family waited for him until 1:30!  Facing a full table of food, he announced that he would not join us because he just had his lunch at the Paris train station - the man can never resist the temptation of the bakeries there.  We held our hunger for nothing!

Immediately dumped the kids to the Daddy, I went for a quick nap after lunch.  Then, it's time for us to watch the show by famous Circus Zavatta!  The animals that we petted at the back of Tavin's school belonged to the circus.  It's been raining so the floor was all wet and muddy, but no one seemed to be bothered by it.  The show was spectacular and the kids were watching it with their mouths open!  Some of the programs were dangerously scary.
Man hand stand on chairs on bottles
Kissing Camels
The first half of the show was opened by a Clown, followed by 4 tigers jumping, roaring, making patterns.  Then in the middle of the show, a talented young man came out to put his own and my life in danger.  I almost died of heart attack and he could have died falling down from a stack of chairs on 4 bottles - see the following photo for yourself, it was taken after his completed his hand-stand to lift his legs into the air on a stack of 10 chairs which were supported by merely 4 bottles.  I hated the fact that the young man did not put a rope on himself to as a protection.  I could not stand the thoughts that he would have broken his neck.  After he removed those chairs, he left one chair and then removed one bottle from the bottom, and did another handstand to end his show.

The second half the show started by 3 clowns blowing French horns, followed by 4 lions.  Then it was the famous Arabic legend Ali Baba based stories.  Thus, camels, llama, and Arabic King and Arabic girls are the main characters.  The lion show made me so worried that I seriously believed that the director would be eaten alive by those giant cats.  
June 2, 2013, Sunday

Fabrice's sister Camille, her husband Neville, and their 20-month's son Stephan from Chalon-sur-Saône, Aunt (his Mom's sister) and her husband from Région Auvergne came for a visit.  They are our usual visitors, particularly Camille, who is 5 years younger than Fabrice and 5 years older than Emma.  Camille has been the pillar of the family, she takes great cares of the parents and Emma's children.  When Zhuzhu was born, she even came to the U.S. to visit us in 2007 and from then on, Zhuzhu has also been heavily influenced by Camille's beauty sense: she works in a hair salon and seems to know everything about every princess.  She is the one who buys Zhuzhu Cinderella's carriage, strawberry shortcake pajama, Hello Kitty hand bags, makeup kit, and numerous hair bands, dresses, jewelries, and whatever girly stuff that Zhuzhu adores.

The 4 of us welcomed Camille's family of 3 at 10 am at the famous Aquatics Center, which is only 5 min walk from the grandparents' house, where all of us spent rest of the morning in the heated pools - there are 3 indoor pools and 3 outdoor pool including water playground for children of different ages and one large olympic pool for adults!  Needless to day, the pool is one of the kids' favorite places to be each time when we come back here.

Following swimming in the morning, the kids enjoyed opening gifts from their Aunts.  As always, Camille brought Zhuzhu a Hello Kitty gift bag full of stuff, including a Hello Kitty Game box with 2 games, Lagoona blue barbie doll and her pet, a bottle of hair coloring glitter spray, a can of 12-color pencils with sharpener, Claire's lip grosses, professional nail polishes from Miss Europe, a long dark purple dress, and a sparkling hair band.  Niuniu's gift bag is a soccer ball, which contained a set of soccer uniform, a pair of soccer socks, a pair of shinguards, a set of knights from play mobile, a set of Buzz and Woody coloring pens and papers.  It's exhaustive to list them here, but I did it just to make a point how far this gift-giving thing can go.  On a sharp contrary, Fabrice only brought Stephan a twilight turtle.  Fabrice's Aunt gave each of the kids few fancy clothes.

We had a full house of 14 people sitting in 2 separate tables at the lunch time and for the record, the food preparation started the day before.  Fabrice's Mom made a beautiful pork pâté shown in the starter photo below and it was kept in cold overnight to allow gelatin to form on the top - I know, I finally learned that 1 picture equals 1000 words:

Cheese from Auvergne as a finisher

The entrée was barbecue, as the French call it, which is the only food that Fabrice's father cooks.  We were served with grilled lamb shops with skins, pork chops, and merguez (google it, guaranteed saliva-inducing).  And then cheese from Auvergne - look at the size of it?!  The Aunt and Uncle must have known that Fabrice misses real French cheese!  For dessert, we had home-made pear-almond pie and the usual fruit and yogurts of different kinds.

A note to myself: I have got to remember the French eat for hours with thousands of courses.  I need to remember to save room for cheese and desserts!

After lunch, our generation has taken our 5 little ones to visit circus animals again because they were going to be leaving town soon.  This time, we got "up close and personal" with the tigers and lions on the back stage.  The female lions were getting out their cages on a big truck at which the male lion was roaring and moving about anxiously in his cage.  I have taken the kids to petting zoos enough times, but never in my life had I gotten the chance to see lions and tigers in such close distance.  We had stayed at the back stage of the circus for a long time watching animals were taken out and back in their cages.  Later, we even got the chance to see how they were fed.  It was quite a show by itself.

Feeding circus tigers
Getting llamas ready for their show

As a city girl, I grew up with zoo animals because there was a beautiful park in which a small number of animals used to be kept.  I loved to visit them on my way to school.  On Sundays, I would spend a whole day in the park with my brother Bing watching moneys jumping up and down their "mountains and trees" and listening birds singing... Fast forward 30 years later, when I asked Fabrice to go visit the famous San Diego Zoo with me, he refused initially and I thought he did not like to waste the $40 entrance fee but later on he told me he could not stand watching zoo animals being caged for human pleasures.  The man eventually indulged me to go along.  He was in misery seeing those monkeys picking up food from the floor.  I enjoyed most of my way until we reached gorillas.  They were far from us, playing with themselves most of the times.  But I stayed there just a bit too long to see one of them excreting his waste to his hand and then put the feces right back to his mouth.

From that moment on, going to the zoo has become merely a duty as a parent to 2 little children and we only visited the zoo in our town yearly if not less.  But I fully enjoyed watching the circus animals, they seemed to be loved by their owners and the "intelligence" that those animals showed has given me a new perspective for our connection to animals.

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