Day of the Ya Ya

Well, Monkey, today was your Ya Ya day. In case you don’t remember what “Ya Yas” are when you get around to reading this, this is your name for The Backyardigans. And a couple of weeks ago, Mommy noticed there were commercials on TV for a live show, about a half second after you screamed “YA YAS!!”.

Naturally, that evolved quickly to us getting tickets for the show, which was today. I think both Mommy and I had an idea of what we were going to get into, but having never been to an “infantil” show before, there was a considerable amount of guessing.

We were up early, no thanks to someone’s alarm clock and you waking up before 6:00 because Costa Rica has its time set too far back for the sunrise (seriously, we should be EASTERN time, not MOUNTAIN). Mommy and I tried to drag it out until 6:00, and I think we were at best only marginally successful.

The plan, a fairly simple one, was to have our Saturday breakfast outing at the Marriott, which is more-or-less along the way from our home to El Palacio de los Deportes in Heredia. It has a lot of things that are very yummy, and in particular, I get to have bacon. You’ve had bacon, and you like it, but we don’t give it to you often.

As we were eating, I came to a horrible realisation — that in our haste to get out of the house, we’d forgotten the tickets. Only one go at the buffet for me, sadly, and I was off back home to get the tickets. As usual, I got stuck behind slow drivers. Whee.

I was back by 9:45, which left me just enough time to suck back a second coffee before we left. Finding the Palacio was fairly easy, and we lucked into parking very nearby. It was perhaps not the best parking, as we had others park behind us and block the way, but the attendants told us that it was just for the show.

Less than a block away from the Palacio, we could hear the Backyardigans theme. It was being blared out front by Kern’s, one of the local juice producers (and a major sponsor of the show). We got in line, and slowly worked our way in. I was a little worried that we had only 30 minutes, and the line seemed to be very long. After a little while, it started zipping along and we were soon inside.

The Palacio de los Deportes is a sports hall, pure and simple. It looks like a really, really large community gymnasium. The floors were covered in plywood and covered with folding chairs in blocks. The upper decks weren’t fully open, but the areas that were open were packed.

To no surprise, the show didn’t start on time. It was about 15 minutes late, I think. Maybe 20. The lights went out, and the Backyardigan’s logo — featuring the Backyardigans themselves — started to move slightly. Then the characters blinked. A moment later, a “hole” appeared in the projection and spotlights behind the projection screen showed Pablo. You immediately took interest. This continued a few times until Uniqua walked out. You pointed at her.

Yet no-one got the same reaction as Tasha. You went fairly ga-ga over her, Monkey. Tyrone came out moments later, and four of the five were on stage. They then realised that they were missing Austin, and had the entire audience call out to find him. Then the projection screen went up, and we found the Backyardigans in their backyard. They sang their theme song, and the show officially began.

The stage play was an extended version of one of their episodes, I think it’s called “Brave Knights” in English. Of course, the entire show was in Spanish, but you’ve seen it so much in Spanish that you don’t seem to mind. They added a couple of songs and changed a couple of things, too.

I had thought you would scream and yell and jump up and down for this show. But you were pretty quiet, actually. For a good part of the show, you just sat there and sucked your fingers. Even when all the other kids were screaming and yelling (because they were asked to by the Backyardigans), you just sat there. I had to entice you to wave “bye bye” when the show was finally over.

At that point, Mommy’s friend Larissa and her husband Roberto asked us to join them for lunch at a special restaurant up north. It took a while to find it, and thankfully we have directions now should we want to find it again, but it was certainly worth it.

La Lluna de Valencia is one of those restaurants you’d be lucky to find on your own, which is to say, “not easily”. It really helps to have a local who knows the place (and it seems, the owner, too). According to Roberto, it’s the most authentic Spanish restaurant he knows in Costa Rica. He claimed that he compared it extremely favourably to the restaurants he visited in Barcelona.

Theirspecialtyis paella, a Spanish rice dish that I hadn’t had since … well, since before I met Mommy, I think. Either way, it had been far too long. You and Luba (Larissa and Roberto’s daughter) ran around playing while we tried to figure out what we were ordering. We settled for two versions: a seafood paella and a paella with chicken and rabbit.

Paellas take a bit of time to make, so we also ordered a simple appetizer of cheese, sausage, a tomato garlic sauce, and bread. You’d try everything, and drank a few glasses of mora (blackberry) juice all on your own.

The restaurant is … well, I’d have to say “eclectic” only because it’s definitely not your run-of-the-mill kind of place. The tables are all made from thick slices of what was probably one great, massive jungle tree, so there were huge folds creating a really neat effect. Massive paella pans hung on the walls, and there was a large stage at one end.

You and Luba loved the stage. You climbed up the stairs and ran back and forth, doing this cute little hop/jump you’ve started to do. You ran back and forth, stomping around. Then you spied a Spanish flag hanging from the ceiling. You tried to catch it with your hands. You walked further and further into it … which was when we noticed that the stage didn’t sit flush against the far wall.

Considering that you tumbled face-forward over the edge into a space that was quite small without any preparation for it, you got out without so much as a scratch. (Mommy and I, however, had near heart-attacks. I’ve never seen Mommy move so fast before.) After only a minute of crying, you were back to prancing around happily.

The paella was worth the wait. It was fantastic. I ate far more than I should have. (I didn’t eat dinner tonight because of that.) You ate quite a bit, too.

The drive home was uneventful, and you slept part of the way. When we got home, we tried to put you back down for a nap, but you’d have none of it. You wanted to be with us, and I think the thunderstorm that was rolling past kept waking you up. We ended up watching WALL-E. Again. For the 20th time. (Not that I’m complaining. But after a while, you start to notice smaller details.)

After dinner, you watched The Backyardigans again, while wearing your new Backyardigans shirt. It was a Backyardigans day.

I just hope tomorrow isn’t quite so … Ya Ya.