Sunday, July 02, 2006

Celebrating American Style

For our first time celebrating the 4th of July in Singapore, we joined several other families at what I think was the naval base here. All I know is that we parked by some really cool "black and whites" (old, colonial style houses famous in Singapore) and walked to a field filled with what you'd expect - a big stage with someone singing American songs loud and not too well, vendors selling over-priced food guaranteed to kill you in the long run, and various blown up kids' jumping apparatus. Ah, America. Sorry to say, Ethan had messed something up on our camera, so I don't have any pictures besides the ones I took on my cell phone (not good enough to show, even if I could transfer them to my computer). You'll just have to imagine the fun.

Erik was still away on business, so I manned the lines for corndogs and fries myself, then waited with the kids in line for the blown up slide. They did it twice, and Ethan managed to frighten and awe most of the onlookers by rolling down the slide instead of sliding. He made it down in about 1.27 seconds. That's my boy!

Meanwhile, our friends had braved the line for the bungee jump, the kind where you start on the trampoline and they hold you down while the ropes tighten then let you go. Ethan debated for awhile before deciding he too wanted to go. It was then that we entered The Long Line. I told him it might take up to an hour before he got on the ride, but he was still determined to go. There comes a point in a line like that, say after the first 15 minutes, where you know that you have committed too much of your life to this activity and you must follow through. When we had moved 5 feet of the 20 foot line in 1/2 hour, I knew we were in for it. We got to where there were 8 kids in front of Ethan (three could jump at a time) and the man running the ride informed us they were shutting down until after the fireworks. At that time, it was 7:30. Fireworks were planned for 8. "So do we have to stand here for an hour?" I asked, trying hard to breathe spiritually.
"Ah, sorry. Yeah, must come back. No light now - cannot jump. Not safe." Murmuring began amidst the crowd. What? Why? With mounting tension, every ounce of American in us came out - we demand an explanation! We demand compensation for this lost hour of our lives! You are infringing on our right to the pursuit of happiness! Quick! Give us something for free!!
Instead, we got tokens, with numbers that indicated our place in line. When I broke the news to Ethan, he lost it for a moment, then resigned himself to his fate. We joined our friends again for those lighted rings kids like at this holiday, as well as for sparklers. The fireworks were short but good. Since I'd told Ethan the story behind The Star Spangled Banner, he asked, "Was it this loud all night for the man who wrote the song? Was it the same sounds?" I thought, "Wow, you were listening to me."

When they were done, we ran back to the bungee jump. After another 15 minutes of waiting for the lights to come on, the jumping resumed. Just as Ethan got strapped in, I realized I didn't have a camera, so there is no photographic evidence of his joy.

So, with lessons learned and friends enjoyed, a dirt and sweat covered crowd hiked back (is it 10 degrees warmer than when we came? we wondered) to our cars and headed home. Happy 4th - here's hoping yours is just as fun or more.

No comments: