We went back to China during the Chinese New Year, therefore, we decided not to go back again for the Shanghai Expo. My high school freshman son decided to take a 6-week summer course, which left us only a few weeks to enjoy summer. Yellowstone was chosen for our vacation destination. Right after the summer school, we headed to Yellowstone.
We started our first vacation day by rafting in the Snake River by the beautiful town called Jackson Hole, which locates near the South side entrance of the Grand Teton National Park. Jackson Hole is also the closest airport that we can fly to.
We were grouped with a family of four from England in the morning scenic rafting tour. The mother is an American and lived in San Francisco 13 years ago. She married an Englishman and moved to England. They have two boys, Louie: the 9-year-old; Miles: 7-year-old. The father is a professor in a college and he is taking a year of sabbatical from work. They are taking 7-week’s vacation in America and Jackson Hole was one of their stops. It was a perfect match with our family. The kids started to tell jokes and riddles soon after. Miles likes to sing and tell jokes and often has to be hushed up by his mother. Louie sets his mind to maneuver the raft himself and kept on asking the tour guide for a chance. When the mother asked me what we could do in San Jose since their next stop is San Francisco, I regretfully told her that we had been ignoring what San Jose can offer since we live in it and did not bother too much to find out. We enjoyed the jokes, riddles, laughter, and bald eagles. The family did not book the afternoon white water rafting because Miles, being the youngest one, was afraid. However, his mother kept on teasing him and eventually we had a taste of the mild white water rafting toward the end of the trip. Miles was very excited and exclaimed that he wanted to do white water rafting. Louie got what he wished for at the end of the trip by maneuvering the raft himself for a while.
Louie got attached to Alex toward the end of the morning tour; he chose to sit with Alex on the bus back. Only Louie and his father joined the after white water rafting tour, since his mother wanted Miles to get some rest. Louie and Alex were hoping to be in the same raft again. But it turned out to be not as what we wished. Louie and his father were assigned to a sturdier raft since he is too young for the rough raft.
With the roll call, the tour guide called the family of Huang, we raised our hands; the tour guide called the family of Wang; we raised our hands again, we all know that the American’s cannot differentiate the Chinese names of “Huang” “Wang”, or “Wong”. I was wondering whether the tour guide made mistakes till we were all assigned to the same raft. They were two fathers with their sons, and they were using the name of “Wang”. They were actually tourists from China!!! I was so proud of my fellow countrymen; they are rich enough to travel in America now. However, I cannot compliment on their attitude. One father told his son “Ben” not to use too much of his strength to paddle since he is not the “Coolie”. According to the tour guide, the strongest of the group should sit at the first row. My husband and my football player son sat in the first row. My younger one and I sit in the 3rd row, which left the 2nd row (3 seats) and one seat in the 3rd row available for the other family. However, the Wang family was not happy, therefore, my son moved to my left side so that the other family would have one seat in the front row.
The tour guide started the drill on how to paddle, what to do if accident happened. She even made it clear that we need to use our almighty strength to paddle since it is white water rafting and there is no engine to propel the raft. After a while, it was apparent that the sitting arrangement did not work since the other family had the attitude of not working as “coolies” in America, and my husband and my older son were paddling on the same side, our raft kept on making circles. The tour guide finally asked us to switch the sitting arrangement back to where we originally started. Every hurdle we conquered, the kid, Ben, would say it was not exciting, challenging enough for him; he kept on asking for more exciting and challenging ones. And it was his comment for the entire rafting which made me wonder whether his family paid for the trip themselves.
Louie came by to see goodbye to Alex after the white water rafting. He hugged Alex and said:”Bye Alex. I hope I will see you somewhere someday”. I was so touched I almost offered to invite the family over when they came to San Francisco.