Went ice-skating with the kids today... in Nairobi (again)!!
I've blogged about the place before but I still can't quite figure out how an ice-rink can sit on the second floor of a building without the weight of the ice causing it to crash down to earth. I think that the Panari Ski centre/hotel skating rink (tried to put a link here but apparently the website was dodgy) has definitely put its prices down recently. Today it only cost 350/- per child and that includes boot hire. I could have sworn that last time it was nearer 800/- (adult price). I was pleasantly surprised. It's generally pretty quiet there and you often get the rink almost entirely to yourselves. The ice rink is solar powered too, which is pretty cool.
When the kids unfailing start chanting every single holidays that they want to go ice skating, I try to put them off. My default answer tends to be; 'no'. It's the white knuckle drive down Mombasa road that is a disincentive for me. Plus there's the fear of terrible injury - children getting their fingers sliced off from passing skaters, a kamikaze small child who takes you or your child out, crippling you for life (a friend recently damaged her knee badly in exactly this type of scenario). Last time we went, a small boy fell spectacularly and got the most enormous bruise on his head, topped off by a small cut. My daughter once nearly got garroted by the safety bar.
Fortunately today's visit went smoothly. It was a children's birthday party, so I couldn't say no and I'm happy to report that the experienced was great! The kids have these little penguins or bars that closely resemble a zimmer frame, to help them balance and they do work a treat. While we were all on the ice, with around 25 children of ages 5 and up skidding around like Bambi on skates, a couple of things struck me.
1. It's probably a point of survival to teach your child to skate. As a parent, train them to skate (it should only take a handful of visits), then one day when they are older and they want to go with friends (without their Mum or Dad) you can be fairly confident that they have the skill set required and your job is done. You won't be handing the survival of your child over to an unwitting fellow parent or worse, no parent at all.
2. Suggest that kids wear gloves (if you own such a thing living in Nairobi that is?!). Our 'soft' children who are used to year round sunshine soon found that it's much more pleasant to put a covered hand on the ice than a bare one and started improvising by using socks on hands. Jeans are also a good idea, as are long sleeves. Sweaters are not obligatory, it's not really that cold...
3. It's a very good thing that we are only allowed to skate for one hour. Why? Because the first half an hour is spent with people feeling a bit shaky and uncertain clinging to the sides. During the following 15 minutes, you build confidence. The last 15 minutes and skaters are downright cocky. It's definitely time to GET OFF THE ICE!
4. Apart from obviously carrying a full scale medical kit, also carry drinks and biscuits in the car for the long journey home - children are invariably exhausted, thirsty and starving all at the same time.. It softens the blow of sitting in obligatory traffic on the queue up to Stadium roundabout.
Panari Sky Centre
The rink opens at 11am, the runs one hour sessions with a break of one hour in between. So 11am-12pm, then 1-2pm etc right up until 9-10pm.
Ice hockey - Wednesday evenings and sunday mornings.... not that I'm going of course!!