When I was growing up I used to get really, really annoyed with my parents' obsession with getting to everything exactly as it opened to "avoid the crowds". This meant we always ended up getting up really early and I admit I used to get pretty grumpy about it. I added it to my mental lists of things I wouldn't do as a parent. Oh no, not me sir.
We have annual membership to a brilliant theme park called Ocean Park. It is only 10 minutes drive from where we live, it is brilliant with an amazing aquarium and cable car and adorable giant pandas along with many more things Eve loves. It is also hugely popular, even more so than HK Disneyland. I love going.
Today is National Day, a huge public holiday here and on the mainland. Lots and lots of people were likely to head to Ocean Park today, tends of thousands in fact. When I told a colleague yesterday that I was planning to go he merely laughed and said I was a brave woman.
So at 9.20am this morning, ten whole minutes before it opened, Eve and I sat outside the (closed) entrance. Not just any entrance, but the back entrance which is less busy and closer to the aquarium, Eve's favourite bit. I am proud to say that we were the first people in, the only people even in the aquarium so she could get lots of lovely close up views of the sharks and rays and seahorses. No problem at all getting onto the cable car. Eve stood behind a little glass partition about 2 metres away from the panda (and happily told everyone else to "shush" because the panda was sleeping), we stood there for ages because so few people were there and nobody moved us on . In fact it was a rather pleasant experience and we were done and out within 3 hours.
So, Mum and Dad, you were absolutely right - as always.