Sunday, July 06, 2008

red, white and blue rays

AK and I sort of wanted to go out of town for the holiday weekend, but since gas is now roughly the price of gold, we settled for visiting The Deep Sea Via Long Beach. As we waited in the very long, very stroller-packed line for tickets--because apparently everyone else in Southern California had the same idea we did--I noticed one of those boards where you can stick your head through and take a photo that makes you look like, in this case, an otter.

"Hey, someone should go stick their head through and take a--" I began.

"No thanks," said Nicole quickly.

AK, however, was already there, ottering. I like how much I can count on her to come through at important moments.

Here's Nicole and I pretending that it's not 95 degrees out, and that parking didn't cost $7.

It only seemed fair that we get to pet some sea creatures for our troubles. Luckily there was Shark Lagoon. You would think that "touching" and "sharks" would go hand in hand only if the word that followed was "lawsuit," but these were small, exhausted sharks, and an employee kept getting on the loudspeaker to say, "Please do not touch the new hammerhead. He is a No-Touch Shark. We're trying to get him used to the Shark Lagoon. You may gently touch the other sharks, but I see a lot of grabbing out there. There is no grabbing. Please observe the Two-Finger Rule, and touch the animals with two fingers only."

It's true that at the ray tank upstairs, I may have gotten a little overzealous and tried to shake someone's big flappy hand-type thing. Shaking hands might be kind of like grabbing. But if you saw something that looked like a giant sea pancake swim by, wouldn't you want to shake its hand?

I'm not sure where lorikeets fit in at an aquarium, but there was a whole aviary of them, and they were beautiful--friendly, flying gay pride parades. (There was also a lone wallaby sitting in a shady pen looking sort of pouty. AK imagined him sighing, "I did not put in for the Aquarium of the Pacific. But I guess everyone puts in for the San Diego Zoo.")

During the long ride home on the Blue Line, AK reached into her purse and said, "Hey, look who stowed away!" It was a small blue spotted ray (not to be confused with Blu-Ray, as this guy doesn't have an opinion one way or another about HD-DVDs), whom we quickly named Raymundo. It had been a long day.

But we still rallied in time to catch Easy Rider at Hollywood Forever Cemetery with Meehan, her friend Maureen, Christine and Jody. I'd never seen the movie before--it was strange and arty and made for a time (or an altered state) in which watching scenes of craggy red rocks roll by was a sufficient substitute for plot. And when there's also veggie spaghetti and spicy green beans and pluots and wine, and a great purple sunset silhouetting the palm trees and headstones, it pretty much is.

But I think our friend Alberto summed up my feelings about the Fourth of July best in a (perhaps wine-aided?) text message Friday night: "Happy 4th of July! Be safe and be thankful for our constitution - it alone separates us from all others and truly free!"


Laura and the family said...

Thanks for reminding me about this place. I have to take my kids out to this place again. The last time we visited was when Dylan was a few months old.

I loved the way you took a picture of AK with Sting Ray. Good grief, it didn't attack her.

Maybe the colorful lorikeets were out in Aquarium to support the gay parade (winks.)

Jamie said...

Sounds like a great weekend. I love your description of the small, exhausted sharks. I kind of felt like that on the 4th of July. I think I must of said "My feet hurt" about twenty million times.

Peter Varvel said...

What a wonderful fun-filled holiday!
Did'ja see the leafy sea dragons, or even the weedy sea dragons? They're giant sea horses (pipefish) that look like they're wearing huge head dresses and feathers in a pride parade, LOL.

Jesi said...

you are invited!!

i don't have your email or number.

this saturday is Ray at Night (if you don't know what that is, here's the site and i'm inviting all of you to come over to my cottage for appetizers and drinks/cocktails at 6pm. then we will walk over to Ray at Night. and later if we're up for it we will walk over to one of the many bars in my neighborhood.

my addy: 3973 Kansas St. 92104


Tracy Lynn said...

Dude, NO TOUCH SHARK is now my phrase du jour. That is a NO TOUCH SHARK, people.HAHA!

Cheryl said...

L: Yeah, the boys should be old enough to touch sharks now. It's a rite of passage. (And the rays are really friendly...or as friendly as animals with cartilage skeletons can be.)

Jamie: The weekend kicked my ass too, and I have the sunburn to prove it.

Jesi: Oh, it sounds like so much fun. But...see part about gas being the price of gold. I'm sorry to miss it--have a great time!

TL: One would think it might be hard to find an occasion to use that phrase, but if anyone can, you can.

Cheryl said...

PV: I didn't see a sea dragon, but I think I saw a picture of one in the gift shop. Does that count? It did look pretty parade-worthy.

Claire said...

Well, Easy Rider in a cemetery clearly beats my Enter the Dragon with a new live score at a museum. Very cool!

Great otter pic and I love your recounting of the shark babysitter's spiel. So funny.

Veronica said...

that sounds like so much fun - next time, we go in group, please? :)

Cheryl said...

C: I don't know, your movie-outside-a-movie-theater experience sounds pretty awesome too.

V: Yeah, I was sorry we didn't get to see you that night. Next time in group!