Friday, December 31, 2010

Adventures in Travel

I took a day over the New Year's weekend to get out with the family. My wife and #1 son had gone to a really cool place on the other coast called Mote Aquarium, and they wanted all of us to go this time. They have a tremendous emphasis on husbandry, so they raise a lot of the species that they have on display instead of going out to capture everything.

I was the most impressed with the cuttlefish. They also have an octopus there, and the octopus certainly seems smarter than the cuttlefish, but he's shy and doesn't interact with his toys all the time. The cuttlefish are five in a tank, and they interact with each other a lot.

In addition, they have a lot of the scary/ugly specimens like frogfish, rockfish, fire worms, and a stargazer. In the same room as all the ugly guys, there's a big tank that makes some jellyfish circulate around without touching the sides like they were in a clothes dryer or something.

They had some giant squid, but as they don't really keep in captivity they were all preserved specimens. Also, they're bleached out and kinda creepy.

After the aquarium closed, we went to a nearby beach that Google maps gave astoundingly bad directions for. Despite the bad directions, with a reasonable idea of where it was that we were supposed to be headed, we managed to get there before it got dark. On the one hand, I want to say what beach it is so I can specifically complain about the directions in the hope that they will get fixed, on the other hand if they get fixed I worry that this beach will get overrun. So, I will just be vague and say that it's more a place for finding shark's teeth than laying out and getting a tan.

#2 son wanted a water fountain, we found a rather simple one on the side of a wooden walkway leading to the restrooms, We also found two large women washing their feet in the water fountain instead of the Dalek-looking shower devices by the beach - they were redoing the boardwalk so maybe they weren't working yet. A smart-looking Japanese-American man in a Callaway Golf pullover showed the two women that there was a hose bib at foot level, much better for washing their feet off, and they kept on with their slow efforts at the water fountain. We interjected between washings to take a drink. #2 son had a little, and said he didn't need any more. I tried to ask him what it tasted like, but with the two women there, he wouldn't say anything to me. One of the women answered for him and said "Yucky." Since #2 son wouldn't spit it out, it couldn't have been that bad. I tasted some, and it was somewhat metallic - not unlike the majority of well water in most of Florida. I told the women that it wasn't that bad, slightly metallic tasting, and that I had done a lot worse for water in the middle of nowhere. I picked up #2 son and started walking away. It had been enough time that the second woman would have finished washing her feet - and then I heard the water run again, a slight pause and a lot of spitting and choking. Presumably, they were not from Florida.

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