Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ice Skating!

So I bought Sophia a pair of ice skates, and now I tote them almost everywhere in hopes to make use of them--make them worth their money.

There's a small ice-skating rink in front of Mega, the mall that's near our house. One Friday I brought the ice skates to school, as well as an extra pair given to us by a friend (too small for Sophia, though). After school, I took Sophia and one of her friends to the Mega ice skating rink.

We had intended to go across the street to "Ice City"--a parking lot that in winter was turned into a mini city of ice, with an ice-brick wall surrounding it, ice slides, and an ice skating rink. However, this had already started to melt and was being taken down.

The rink in front of Mega was still open so we went there. It was 300 Tenge per skater (about $2) and I let them skate for about an hour. It's a small, oval-shaped rink, nothing too exciting, and parents were allowed on the ice to monitor their kids. I began to wish that I had rented skates for myself--it gets cold standing on ice for one hour!

Sophia skated much better than her friend--the half-hour lesson in Almaty really paid off! Her friend, however, falls much better than her--she fell dozens of times, each time getting back up with a smile on her face.

On Wednesday during our spring break (23 March) I dragged Sophia to the school so I could get some work done, promising her ice-skating afterward. So I took her to Mega on the way home. This time I rented skates for myself (an extra 200 Tenge). However, this time, the rink was pretty awful due to the recent spurt of 0 degree weather and the bright Kazakh sun.

One part of the rink was un-skateable. The ice crushed under the weight of your ice skates and you had to waddle through.

The rest of the rink wasn't in very good shape either. But Sophia had fun, she even enjoyed crunching on the loose ice and wading through the bits of water that seeped through.

On Thursday, after dessert at a French cafe (next post), we wandered by the river. It looked a bit scary--thawing, after all. But really, the water that we saw was not the river water, but the melting of the foot of snow that had fallen on the frozen river. The river was still pretty frozen; people were ice-fishing and the skating rink was still open.

I was happy that I had her skates with me, and we put them on and she skated on the river. I just watched, but it was fun to watch. There were a few other people ice skating, and two boys sharing a bicycle that they rode across the ice.

There were cracks in the ice, but it was because of these cracks that you could see how thick the ice was. Some of the cracks were a foot below the surface--meaning the ice was at least a foot thick, most likely thicker.

Sophia ended up tripping over a surface crack and hurting her knee. But she got up and continued skating.

And now I can check that winter to-do item off my list--skating on the river.

Then Friday I took her to the indoor rink near the Eurasia shopping center. This time I rented skates, and we skated on the large, smooth, indoor surface. The rink was almost empty--just three other people, who left soon after and then it was just us. We had an entire rink to ourselves for almost an hour! It was a lot of fun.

At 5:35 we left and noticed that a group of beginner ice skaters were coming in for lessons. So that's why it was empty--they were closing to the public soon for lessons. So 4:30 - 5:30 seems like a pretty good time to ice skate there!

We'll never be professionals, but we do enjoy ice skating!!

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