Category: Experiences (Page 2 of 3)

Circus Classes at Trapeze Arts – Oakland

Mika and Camila have just started taking “circus” classes at Trapeze Arts in Oakland (situated near West Oakland BART station). The absolutely LOVE it. The hour-long classes are quite affordable, at $100 for 8 classes (I think that’s even cheaper than the classes they’ve taken from our local Parks & Recreation department), and they even pro-rate for those who start late. And, I’m told, they are super fun.
Camila is taking the pre-school circus class (for kids 3-5), which is of course less challenging than Mika’s “Kids’ circus” class (for kids 6-8). I thought that I’d describe some of the things that Mika did today, so that people considering taking the class have an idea of what it entails:
Trampoline: jump backwards, flips, dance. The trampoline is huge, it runs half the length of the building, and the kids thought it was *very* fun.
Floor Gymnastics: tumbling, cartwheels, summersaults, black flips, jumping, stretching (Mika is super interested in learning how to do splits, and they are teaching her).
Rope: climbing
Bunk beads: where a kid is on all fours, belly up and another kid gets on top in the same position
Mika tells me that in the class for older kids they climb on curtains and do dance moves. Apparently nobody is doing the trapeze. They also have stilts, unicycles, and other equipment, and I’ll post about it if the kids use it.
Camila hasn’t been very good about describing her class, but it seems that a lot of what they do is stretching (in different positions) and doing different jumps in the trampoline. But whatever it is that they do, Camila had a LOT of fun. Apparently the teacher is very funny, because she kept telling me funny things the teacher had said.
Trapeze Arts also offers a summer camp ($300 for a week), we’ll see if Mika is still into it by then.

Insecure security

Blackbird Development GroupWho is Blackbird Development Group? I was quite surprised that I couldn’t find any reference to them on the web. Who, in this day and age, does not exist even if by reference, on the web? Well, apparently Blackbird Development Group. A new start up? A project within a larger company? A secret government unit?
But at least we know that they exist – because while they care enough about their privacy/security to issue temporary security badges to their visitors (with holograms, no less!), they don’t actually care about collecting them when they leave. I, not the most observant of people, found this one at “an undisclosed location” ;-).
So, Blackbird Development Group, whoever you are, be more careful next time šŸ™‚

A girl like Mika


I found the picture above on the internet, when searching around. I’m amazed at how much the little girl in pink looks like Mika. The girl is from the city of Almirante Brown in Argentina – and a couple of years younger than Mika – but the resemblance is remarkable. I wish I could know who she was šŸ™


I came to Kenya to work, but the possibility of going on a safari was hard to give up. A colleague, Luke, was willing to come along so last weekend we headed for the Maasai Mara, in southwestern Kenya. The Maasai Mara is a relatively small park – in particular if you compare it with the Serengeti, which it borders. But it’s pretty full of animals and it’s an easy 45-minute flight from Nairobi.
Luke could only go for one night (which meant an afternoon and morning game drive), while I decided to stay for two (which meant two game drives each day). Alas, the first two drives were the best – Luke was lucky. On the first afternoon we saw a lot of herbivorous animals: elephants, giraffes, gazelles and the like, wildebeests, ostriches, cranes, zebras (though they only have a few around, most are back in the Serengeti) and, of course, bisons. There are hundreds of bisons in the Maasai Mara, they must be the most numerous animals. They are not particularly pretty, but they are very cool in that the whole group is sort of together – but they have what I imagine is a mail on the edges of the group looking out and confronting any predators. They are smarter animals than they seem.
The second day was even better. We *almost* saw a pack of lions hunt a bison. They prepared themselves, they put themselves in position, and they were getting ready to attack when a hot air balloon flew over them and spooked them. Fuck those balloons.
We did get to see a pack of hyenas eating a zebra – though we got there about 10 minutes after they killed it, so we didn’t see the hunt. Perhaps that’s for the best. The hyenas managed to eat pretty much all the zebra in about 10 minutes. There were about 10 of them – and we were maybe 30 feet away. It was a bit gruesome to see them, and yet so fascinating.

We also saw the usual assortment of herbivores – and hyenas, jackals and a fox near the lion hunt – and then we went to the river where we saw a crocodile from very far away, and lots of hippos. It was very cool.
The next afternoon we went in search of a leopard, and not only did we not find one, but we didn’t find pretty much anything else. The highlights were a 2-week old elephant, a newborn bison (the mother was eating the placenta when we saw her) and a breastfeeding gazelle-like-thing. We saw some lions resting in the late afternoon, young males. We were so close to them – 10 feet perhaps? – so much so that I was actually afraid of that. But I guess it was cool.
The last morning was also pretty sparse on animals, though we did see a sitting cheetah (not very exciting to watch) and a rhino (again, not that exciting). There were more elephants and giraffes and assorted herbivores.

The place where we stayed, the Sarova Mara Game Camp, was beautiful. Our “tent” was more like an airy luxury cabin – with a HUGE bed, nice furniture, a huge bathroom and all the comforts you could want (except for a phone – though they’d do in-person wake up calls). They had more standard, less luxurious tents, but we got a free upgrade, reportedly because we couldn’t fly there on Saturday morning as we wanted to, but probably because they didn’t have any guests to speak of. Of the 75 tents they have, probably 10 were occupied while we were there. That was good for us, the service was top notched and neither the hotel nor the park were crowded – but it’s horrible for the poor Kenyans who depend on the tourist industry for a living. If you are thinking of going on a safari, now is the time to come (and yes, Kenya is utterly safe right now).
Others seemed to be happy with the food, I thought it was merely OK, but you guys know that I’m very picky.
In all, I had a great time and I wish I could do it again, next time with the kids.

« Older posts Newer posts »

© 2023 I Say!

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑