It was the only second “touristy” thing we’ve done so far in this three-month journey. The first one was the Las Vegas strip but we also couldn’t pass up Mall of America because we had time to kill before an important rendezvous. Yes, it was amazing and humongous, impressive and awesome but the best thing was coloring in instant print-outs of our photos with crayolas — for free. In the words of Julia and Julio, that’s called Zen navigation describing that knack for finding the simplest and best pleasures for free. Another case in point is Julio’s daily free bagels at Panera courtesy of Julia’s quick thinking.
The day-pass at the Nickolodeon amusement park was out of our budget so we let each child choose just one ride each. Joshua chose the Spongebob Squarepants Rockbottom Plunge roller coaster which he rode with his Mom hungry to relive Magic Mountain days. Jimmy chose the Ghost Blaster which he rode with his Dad because Mom was just too selfish and choosy and wanted the fierce roller coaster ride for herself. Ghost trains are for sissies. Roller coasters rule!
Two things among many I truly envy in developed countries are parks and libraries. How I wish my country can play catch-up and have parks and libraries galore but till then oh far, far date, I salivate at the beauty of libraries in more economically endowed nations like the U.S. I ended up reading a dozen storybooks to Joshua at the St. Cloud Public Library while Jimmy played most of the time at the kid’s corner. I took pictures of displays and signs which show how relevant, engaging and interactive the library is with blackout poetry and modern takes on Shakespeare.
One cannot have too many parks and picnic grounds — another perk of being in a developed country. I know I keep posting pictures of them but they are too beautiful not to share. Here’s another gem of a park by a lake at Eau Claire which nicely broke a six-hour drive in half from St. Cloud, Minnesota to Huntley, Illinois.
These parks and libraries show how taxes are working for the people but in third world countries where there is a dearth of these, the taxes go up the unmentionables of politicians.