Kalahari Day 1

Wheee! We are at the Kalahari, a really neat indoor waterpark / hotel / convention center / small indoor city in northwest Ohio. This is our fourth year coming here for an annual homeschool conference. The kids are beyond thrilled. Me, too, mostly.

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My complaints are small and petty, and pretty much insignificant in the grand scheme of things. First world problems, as a certain friend likes to say. They are things like, “the arcade is insanely loud and overstimulating and makes me dizzy and I hate that we have to walk through it to get to the water park.” Or, “the bathroom in our hotel is so narrow that it’s hard to dress in there, and I don’t want to come out naked from the shower into the common area of our room that we’re sharing with my mom.” Etc. First world problems, indeed.

Dizzy arcades and cramped loos notwithstanding, we are having a very nice time.

The conference itself starts tonight, but we came in a day early (1) because the hotel extended our group rate to include Sunday night as well as the four nights of our conference and the rates are ridiculously awesome so who could pass up that kind of deal???, and (2) my mom is leaving on Weds to go hang out with my sister while she has a baby, so that gave us some extra time with Nana. And if you’re eight or seven years old and have a really fun grandma, wouldn’t you want to hang out with her at a waterpark? I totally would.

My mom flew in from Florida on Saturday afternoon, and we spent the day visiting with my grandma (who is also very cool, but she’s 92 and waterparks are a little too much for her now). On Sunday, we got up and made breakfast with DH, and then we packed the van. And when I say we packed the van, I mean we put so much stuff in there it looked like we were MOVING to the Kalahari instead of just coming to stay for a week. But only half the stuff is going back to my house in the end, so it’s all good.

We got here at 4pm, which is check-in time anyway, so we went right up to our swanky room on the sixth floor and unloaded our stuff. That took a while. We made it in one large trip with two luggage carts and the kids dragging their own suitcases and violins, but it was a huge exercise in luggage logistics. Then Nana and the girls unpacked groceries while I parked the van.

Our room has a full kitchen. Check it out:

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Now, some people do not like to cook while they are on vacation, but I am a nerd and totally love to make food while I’m in a strange kitchen. It’s super-exciting for me to try to figure out how the stove works (I hate electric cook-tops, though) or to MacGyver a kitchen utensil. (Right now I am using drinking glasses as tapas plates.) It is also a lot cheaper this way. It only cost us about $20 a day extra for the kitchen room, but we would have spent waaaay more than that going out to eat for three meals a day x 4 people. So we have things for breakfast and lunch and snacks in our room kitchen, and then we’ll go out for dinner. Perfect compromise.

So first, we had a snack. And then we went to the waterpark (which, face it, is what we’re here for.)

S8 in her new bathing suit

That was really fun. First, S8 and Nana went on Victoria Falls, which is a tube slide. After climbing an insane number of stairs to the dizzying heights of the waterpark, you board a huge yellow raft (large enough for up to four people). The raft goes down through a big, enclosed yellow tube that actually goes outside the waterpark briefly before coming back into the building and dumping you into a pool, where the kind (but really bored) lifeguard assists you in exiting the raft with absolutely no grace whatsoever but without drowning. Repeat.

Now, O7 and I like Victoria Falls, but her absolute favorite ride in the world is the Zip Coaster, so we did that while my mom and S8 went on the raft ride. The Zip Coaster is a roller-coaster-shaped raft that is shoved through an orange tube (via a fast-moving belt) in a nauseating hill-and-valley fashion at an improbable speed and with water blasting you in the face the entire time. It’s not for the faint of heart, or those wearing contact lenses. But I took her because you need two people to ride the Zip Coaster and I am just that awesome of a mom. We only went once.

But then we went on the Lazy River, because we saw the line for Victoria Falls was really long and figured S8 and Nana were still waiting to go down. The Lazy River is really nice. It’s not that lazy, because there are an unnerving number of empty inner tubes floating around like so much flotsam and jetsam, occasionally blocking up the river and making it a pain to get around. It’s hard to just float laziliy along when you keep getting jammed up. And then there are occasional waterfalls and jets of water and drips of water, so if you close your eyes and start to feel lazy, sooner or later you’ll get a faceful of water an a very UNrelaxing sort of way. I think it’s to keep drunk people from passing out on the inner tubes.

We made one pass through the lazy river and then headed back to the landing area of Victoria Falls to wait for S8 and Nana. They were the very next raft down- perfect timing!

Next, the kids wanted to check out the wave pool. So we did that for a few minutes, but then I was cold and said it was time to do something that the grownups wanted to do. So we went to the hot tub. There are three or four or maybe even five indoor hot tubs here, and two of them are indoor/outdoor tubs, which is really cool. You swim under this plastic curtain that is very reminiscent of a drive-through carwash, and then you’re outside! Fun times.

Then we went back to the wave pool, and there we met up with S7, a girl we met here last year and who instantly became BFFs with S8. They hung out for a long time in the waves together. O7 got bored and went back to the hot tub with Nana. Then we all met back up and the girls did one more slide on the main play structure. Then we went back to get rinsed off and dry (read: warm). It was a lot colder this time than last year. Brr.

Back in our room, we fixed a light dinner. We had planned to go to one of the restaurants, but it was 8pm and we just kind of felt like something small. So I heated up canned chicken veg soup and made the girls a PB & J sandwich (O7’s on pita bread, S8’s on multigrain). I had a nice salad wrap with hummus and vinaigrette. Nana had a PB& J on diet thinbread. We ate a bowl of fruit and then pigged out on some raisin cookies Nana had bought at the bakery back home. It was great.
Dinner in our room

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Then the kids played Hello Kitty World in Nana’s room, while she and I chilled out and drank our coffees/tea.

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By now it was nearly 9:30. We decided to go for a walk and see if the ice cream counter was still open. Damn, it was.

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S8 ordered rainbow sherbet, and O7 got “Kitty Kitty Bang Bang”, which is cheesecake flavored ice cream with raspberry ripple and chocolate chips. I have no idea how it got that name but it tastes pretty good.

Then we walked through the aforementioned dizzyingly loud arcade. They still had our favorite game, Fruit Ninja. I let the girls play one round each.

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We also walked around the main lobby. There is a cool view of the waterpark from above.

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Just ignore those crazy children in the front. You know, the ones who look like gorillas.

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By now it was about 10:30 and we were all suddenly very tired. So we came back to the room and went to bed. Tomorrow is the first day of our conference and Nana’s last day here, so we have to fit a lot in.

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