Sunday, January 22, 2006

Elephant plumbing

For our kids, winter in Paris means Circus time. Their tents and high-class squatter villages pop up all over the city at the start of the year.

On Saturday, we took Austen and 14 friends for a late birthday party to a circus near where we live - Cirque Alexis Gruss. The circus is located in the Bois de Boulogne, sort of a super-sized central park on the west edge of Paris and a 20 minute walk from our apartment.

The most harrowing part of the day was the first hour, when the kids descended on our apartment for cake. Just think of the mayhem a dozen hyperactive 9 year olds armed with lemon soda and chocolate cake could wreak on an 80 square meter apartment!

After that, we marched at near-military speed to see a charming old-fashioned circus with jugglers, acrobats and horseback riders, nearly all of whom were named Gruss. Despite the many jaw-dropping feats, the moment which made the most lasting impression on the children was when the elephant took an unscheduled potty break in the middle of the ring.