Wednesday, August 1, 2007

"It's Big and... Blue"

I fear, dear readers, that the adventures of the Wild Cisneri are drawing to a close. Tomorrow, the whole lot of us pack off in our car-that-looks-like-a-shuttle (just me?) and drive back home, a journey through the south that will take us about three days. I'll try to do some decent mobile blogging (as decent as a text-messaged post can be), and I'll probably do one more post on the whole trip once I'm settled. For now, we look back about a week to our last day in California, which found us in that most enchanting merger of conservation and marketing, Sea World San Diego.

By the intercession of St Veronica, I managed to fumble the camera out in time to catch the kids' first glimpse of Shamu, the only aquatic mammal arguably as famous as Flipper or as cool as George and Gracie. Actually, they have about a half dozen of these little critters there, so I don't know that this was Shamu. Who cares, he/she is fantastic.
Every time I go to Sea World, I kinda wish I had pursued the little-girl fantasy of being an animal trainer. That study, however, probably involves the study of biology, which I only did well in because my teacher was prancing on the border between senility and indifference.

We went to the watch-giant-animals-leap-from-the-water show, and I said, "Hey, kids, lets sit in the very front!" Which we did, and which the kids enjoyed tremendously. I, on the other hand, spent a good part of the day with my jacket around my waist because I had made the poor fashion choice of tan linen pants to a water-oriented park. Brilliant.

Manatees are a heckuva lot bigger than I remembered, but they were also way off the "endearment" charts. Big floating sea cows with pig noses and no teeth? What's not to love?

On a more sincere note, I was happy to learn that keeping these beasties in San Diego opens up the rehabilitation facilities at Sea World Orlando to animals with more urgent care needs. Granted that a lot of their image is careful marketing, but it seems Sea World and Anheuser-Busch's other conservation efforts are actually doing a lot of good.

Charlie (who turned seven yesterday -- yikes!!) at the polar bear exhibit. The bears were big and white, and otherwise quite uninteresting, owing to their choice to sleep all the time. Still, I wouldn't want to meet one of those buggers in a jungle.

Things like this just amuse me. What concerns me slightly is that, at nine years old, Melissa is already fearless about making a fool of herself for the sake of a funny picture.

Cousins Ana and Carmen (sometimes referred to as "little Carmen" for clarity's sake, but I will not so anger her here) were there too, and since my cousins have always been some of my favorite people, the animals seemed even better. An all around splendid time, two thumbs up, fine family fare. There are, or course, plenty more pictures, but I don't like to overload these entries. If I load the rest onto Picasa, I'll give you a link.

Alright, I'm off. Watch for short mobile updates! Dear readers, do take care of yourselves, and please pray for us as we roll down the highways. Three days in a car together could in all likelihood be awesome, but it could also get a little hairy... and smelly.

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