Sunday, February 25, 2007

Disney on Ice

When Franklin was born, I promised myself that there would be no Disney obsession in his life, & I think we've done quite well to keep it to a minimum. We've picked up a few classic DVDs from the bargain bin at Carrefour, but he's not too interested. He is, however, fascinated by Pixar productions.

Finding Nemo had been a favorite for several months, only recently being edged out by the Toy Story movies. When Frankie didn't want to wear new shoes, we told him that they were the same color as Dorie (the absent minded blue fish in the movie, for the uninitiated) and all of his blue shoes are now his Dorie shoes. In the past four days, he's started murmuring "Fish are friends, not food" much to the astonishment of me and the missus.

He's been soaking up vocabulary like a sponge as his favorite characters move from sea turtle to shark to whale, and back to sea turtle. Last night, I taught him "Hey Dude," and "Far Out" -- two phrases which he has been happily repeating to himself all day today.

An ad appeared in the papers a few months back and we decided that no matter what our business was doing, I would be able to take Franklin to see Nemo on Saturday evening, the show's last night in Taiwan.

And that's what we did. Maggie and I spent the afternoon waxing the hardwood floors at our school in preparation for Monday's opening ceremony. More details on that
happy circumstance a bit later. The school is 5 stories and we moved furniture and put two coats of wax on each one of them. In the monitor showing the view from the security cams, the place glistens.

So do my toes, actually, as for some reason I took off my socks to apply the wax.

At six, we high-tailed it home to get Franklin ready for the big night and for me to splash some patchouli oil on the pits.

Franklin's other favorite word "Taxi" appeared in lights at our front door at about ten past seven. Twenty minutes to show time. Saturday night traffic. We made it. Bought a souvenir program from an old American guy called Joe who was making every attempt to bark in Chinese and having a grand time. A light sprinkle arrived to usher in a cold front as Franklin and I made our way across the plaza, between some trees, up to the edifice of the ... exhibition center.

I never got the exact title of the place translated into English. It seemed about 30 years old, could be more, could be a lot less. It's hard to tell with Taiwanese architecture. A little soot can add a lot of years to a building's appearance. There was room for maybe 10-15,000 inside. Maybe more, maybe a lot less. It's hard to tell with Taiwanese people. Sometimes just a few people can seem like a market.

As soon as we got to the top of the stairs and entered the arena, the lights went out and the ushers disappeared. With my son on one arm, and his necessary bag on the other, we made our way by memory to the seats we had picked out in the second row. We had an unobstructed view of the ice, more than I can say for the people in the row behind me as they craned their necks to see Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, & Donald doing their thing on the ice. In retrospect, it was difficult to accept any of them speaking Chinese, but the crowd didn't seem to mind, so I'll leave it.

The sudden darkness and the racket coming from the speakers put the fear of Walt into Frank and it was with great affection that I was able to constrain the straining, squirming mass of two-year-old and keep him from his announced destination of "Up, Up, UP!" and away towards the exits. The noises emanating from the sound system were enough, at least, to render his squeals inaudible to all but our immediate neighbors to the right and in the previously pronounced pitiful party to the rear.

The Florida clowns were gone and out skated the denizens of the reef. I've never been to an Ice Show before & have nothing with which to compare this, but the costumes & lighting of this opening sequence were probably worth the price of admission to anyone who was able to invest his full attention to the proceedings. I am still enjoying the two or three glimpses that I got. Franklin has his souvenir book. He looked in the opposite direction for the first seven minutes.

Not even Nemo's entrance did it. Not even the Manta Ray. I think when the teacher sang his song, Frank recognized it, even though it was in Mandarin and the phrasing was decidedly clipped. He sat down and took notice. He even shouted "Wow!"

Then the sharks came out, and Frank was in bliss, until the pyrotechnics spurred a few more minutes of wailing.

By the end of the show, on the balance, it was an enjoyable evening. He wasn't fond of the jellyfish, or the angler fish, and he didn't like the darkness of the scene at Mt Wannahokaloogie, but Frank and I did quite a bit of bonding. When we got home he sat and listened to me tell Maggie about all of our adventures and he sat and beamed in agreement. When it was time for bed, he jumped up and kissed me on the neck half a dozen times.

This was worth twice the price of admission. I hope everyone else who went enjoyed it as much as Franklin did.

No comments: