March 7, 2010

He's got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll's eyes.

On this, our first full day in California, we were up bright and early and waiting outside the hotel for our bus to Sea World. The role of Creepy Bus Driver was played by Philip Seymour Hoffman's evil twin, Hank, today and he buried himself in the part. Super creepy. Luckily, he was only driving us to the tour bus depot and the role of Awesome, Helpful and Funny Bus Driver was played by Salvador Barta. Great, great guy. We were lucky enough to get the front row of the top deck of our double-decker bus and we had a great hour and forty-five minute trip down the Santa Ana Freeway.

Once we arrived in San Diego it started raining, and it didn't quit for four months. We been through every kind of rain there is. Little bitty stingin' rain...and big ol' fat rain. Rain that flew in sideways. And sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath. Shoot, it even rained at night...but we didn't let it dampen our spirits...much. It was, however, colder than something that is really, really cold. Luckily we had outfitted ourselves with Eddie Bauer water-repellent shells while we were in Spokane, though we still got soaked. And cold. And maybe a bit bitchy, here and there. But we survived.

We saw the classic Shamu show which was more impressive than I expected it to be. The whales were incredible, but I couldn't help feeling like they were being exploited for our benefit. It kind of coloured my whole experience with the various forms of wildlife we encountered. Sam, on the other hand, was determined to experience the Shamu show in the "Splash Zone" and no amount of trying to talk him out of it was going to change his mind. So, April and Chloe joined him in about row 10 or 11 and waited for the splashing to commence. From my safe (and relatively dry) vantage point in row 358 the "splash" looked more like an ungodly wall of sea water that came crashing down on the unsuspecting heads of my dear family courtesy of Shamu's tail. It sounded something like, "Shamu! Shamu! Sham--Holy shit! What the hell is th--S-S-S-S-P-P-P-P-A-A-A-A-L-L-L-L-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-S-S-S-S-S-S-S-S-S-H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H!!!!!!!!" And then I laughed.

The coolest thing in the whole park was the shark exhibit which has a fifty or sixty-foot long glass tunnel that takes you underwater and right through the shark tank. It was amazing! We seriously had sharks floating 24 inches above our heads. Plus it was really warm in there...which was nice.

Chloe's favourite attraction was the Pets Rule! animal show. They had to modify the show somewhat as the various dogs and cats were understandably skittish about performing in a monsoon, but after some coaxing and a few heated phone calls to their agents, the animals came out and put on a little bit of a show in the form of a "meet and greet." It was pretty cute, but it wasn't exactly the thrill-a-minute pet extravaganza Chloe had been hoping for. Luckily she was able to stem the disappointment a little by purchasing a plush dolphin with whom she would later be snuggling in bed.

Unlike Chloe, who is charmed by soft, warm, furry creatures, Sam couldn't get enough of petting the bat rays. Yes, that's correct...bat rays. He stood there a good half-dozen times, sleeves rolled up to his shoulders, petting the vile, slimy, gelatinous creatures like they were Care Bears®. Seriously, if he could have picked one up and hugged it, he would have. In fact, he did the next best thing and he bought himself a stuffed bat ray at the adjacent souvenir shop and slept with it nestled against him that night.

The bus departed around 6:30 p.m. and it was a nice quiet, relaxing ride home. Salvador put Dr. Doolittle on the DVD player and I napped as we rode through the Southern California darkness. When we got back to the hotel, I sent the family up stairs and I dashed across three adjacent parking lots, and one surface street, to grab some McDonald's to feed them. We then went down to the pool deck to watch the Disneyland fireworks and it was lights out by 10 p.m.

So, even though it was cold and wet for most of the day, we ended-up having a really fun, memorable outing at Sea World. Bigger things, however, are on the horizon...

Tomorrow: The Mouse!

Posted by Sean at 10:30 PM
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