Monday, January 10, 2011

Vacation Day 6 - The Whole Shebang

I was well and truly rebuked by the Johnson family for not posting more blog entries. My apologies to all. If you want me to post more often, leave a nice comment below!

1st) Comments drive my writer's ego helping me to want to write more often. I am shallow like that.

2nd) Comments help me know that someone besides my own mother is reading this. The mother I love.


I've opted to continue with vacation before moving on chronologically to Christmas, etc. I may end up posting Christmas around Easter and Easter around Halloween, but it will help me later in my life not to be confused.

On Day 6 in San Diego, we went to Sea World. I woke up knowing it would be a great day, and it was. The sun was out. Bridgette was almost back to normal health. We were happy. Sea World was great.

I have posted an "eegads" number of pictures below because I didn't want to break-up the day. It was in fact one long day for us, sun-up to sun-down. I did not include photos of... so many things. But as you'll see, there are still plenty.

To start, this video explains perfectly why parents don't have to pay to take a two-year-old to Sea World. If you get bored after 15 seconds, don't worry. The other 3 minutes and 15 seconds are EXACTLY the same. :)

The great pigeon chase occurred right inside the Sea World gate and was our first main attraction.

In fact, we were in the process of renting a stroller when we turned around and Bridgette was GONE.

Yeah, great.

Some random, kind stranger said, "Is your daughter wearing a pink shirt? She's WAY over there."

Bridgette was following a pigeon who had no sense of obligation to us or decorum in general and had led our daughter across the whole entryway, where I suppose it was planning to introduce her to Shamu.

(And NO feeling sorry for the pigeon here, folks.)

That is how the day began.

We managed, accidentally, to stumble upon this fantastic, one-showing-a-day pet performance full of acrobatic dogs, cats, pigs, birds and other animals, none of whom are pictured here. Sorry.

It was wonderful! Bridgette loved it until she got splashed. And in her defense, it was a chilly day. We were glad to have the "don't-EVER-splash-me-again" warning though because otherwise we might have made the mistake of sitting in a splash-zone at the main water shows.

Bridgette's expressions as she watched the dogs frolicking about in a humorous and highly-trained fashion.

After the splash, the tears, the hoodie, the warmth, the kisses, and the recovery -- all of which lasted less than three minutes -- we were enjoying the show again.

Ok - so when I did the Festival of Trees "B" Tree in 2009, Grandma Hoose got a Baby Beluga book and CD for the tree and a second set for our home. For some time, Baby Beluga was our go-to song to help Bridgette calm down. She loved it.

This, in fact, is a baby beluga -- the whale in the foreground. Baby Belugas are born gray and then turn white after 1 to 2 years, once they are no longer dependent on their mother for survival. The mother, like other adult belugas, is white.

This is Bridgette throwing a fit by the beluga tank. We came to expect one 30 minute tantrum daily, between 10 & 11AM. No power on earth could stop it: no preparation, no offering, no love, no punishment. Then she would suddenly recover, and it was as though nothing had happened.

In the meantime, we learned to take photos and stare back at the people staring at us.

These are walruses. They were quite curious and came to get as close a look at my camera as possible.

Too close. A little too close.

There is a reason the orca show is famous. It's really good. And in a theme park, it's nice to be able to sit a while and just enjoy a show. "Shamu" is the name of one particular orca, a female. So we got to see the orca show and Shamu as well. I believe there is one "Shamu" at each Sea World park.

In this first photo, I had my shutter speed set for the dark underwater shots I'd been taking of the walruses, so it's overexposed. But it's still so cute. Please note the peanuts. She ate nothing but peanuts the whole day. She finished that whole jar.

You know, looking at this photo, I will always remember changing Bridgette's (very peanutty) diaper on the ground in the bushes behind the sound box. It was the most private place I could find (not having many options in the middle of a show).

Below Jeff and Bridgette, I have a whole series of photos taken with my rapid shutter. I hope you enjoy them. Imagine the music, and BELIEVE! (And clap! And sparkle!)

Four shots of the poor fools in the soak zone. Yeah. It was too cold a day for that for sure. Glad we were up above the deluge.

Orcas are the top of the food chain in the ocean. They hunt in a pack, like wolves. Nothing hunts them. They are beautiful and terrifying and powerful. You could tell they had a special bond with their human pack-mates, much like those sometimes forged between humans and wolves.

Bridgette has some bath toys shaped like various sea creatures, and I have diligently tried to teach her their proper names for the past two years. All it took from Jeff was one comment, "Bridgette! See the fish?" And suddenly, no matter what either of us told her, orcas were forevermore just plain-old fish.

After the show, Bridgette was extra-lovey-dovey and adorable. And she kept saying, "Fish!"

While Bridgette was sleeping, I took the opportunity to go visit one of the orcas up-close, as close as the park would allow anyway. S/he came over and eyed me carefully. It was eerie-cool.

I didn't take any photos of the new show, Blue Horizons, but it was great. It's dolphin based, so I liked that, but actually, the best part were the synchronized high-diving humans in their plumaged costumes. Very impressive.

It's a new show, and there were some technical difficulties. For example, the dolphins didn't all want to perform. Also, the storyline was too cutesy for me -- definitely written for girls who dream of being princesses. It felt like a Disney knock-off, complete with an after-show photo-op with the "princess" main character. But it was still a fine display of dolphin and human prowess.

Having done a number of theater productions, I'm always impressed by a good set. Blue Horizons had a beautiful set. Kudos to the designers.

This is why I didn't take any pictures of the show. I was holding a sleeping babe all cuddly and warm.

This was Jeff's favorite stop, and Bridgette and I liked it too. The sea lions were hilarious. One of them, the King of the Rock, put on quite a show. He flipped a fish in and out of his mouth, twirling it like a master batonist at a pageant, until a bird swooped down and snapped it up, mid-flip.

You should have seen the King's face! It was awash with disappointment and disbelief. His prize, his show -- gone! All gone!

When we go down the toy aisle at the grocery store, among all the other toys, Bridgette seeks out the snakes and alligators. So it didn't come as much of a surprise that she really, really, really liked the shark tanks.

If I were to guess the first-place rank of each of our favorite exhibits at Sea World, I would say Jeff = Sea Lions, Me = Dolphin Encounters (not much guesswork there, see Happy Mama), and Bridgette = Shark Tanks.

After observing sharks above water, you could run down a long series of tunnels (which Bridgette did -- run, that is -- with fervor, zeal and zest) to this fantastic conveyor-belt under/through the main tank.


I love this photo of Jeff. Not only is he super-cute, but seriously, he looks like he's 20.

I promise we did not teach her the necessity of pulling on the conveyor-belt handrail to keep it turning, but had she not picked up on it herself those people would STILL be stuck in the shark tank.

Following the sharks, we went to see piranhas and other fresh-water creatures. Bridgette was tired of me taking photos and chose a proper hex.

"Piranhas to me! Now... fly, my pretties!"

My camera escaped. Barely.

When we left, we were greeted by this beautiful moon in the parking lot. I don't know who put it there, but it was so thoughtful. Such a friendly place to hang it.

And this was our last glimpse of Sea World... the Christmas tree of lights that was visible from all over San Diego. Nice. :)


Tiffany W. said...

I read your blog! :) We are going to Sea World with our kids this Spring Break (but in San Antonio). This post made me excited. It looks fun! :)

PS I saw this documentary on Discovery channel about Killer Whales... I was horrified! Seriously I was scarred for life! you think Shamu and Willie are cute and sweet.... so NOT true! :)

Lore said...

Oh, I am so happy that there is another post! I didn't want to complain, but I WAS anxiously waiting. Thanks for sharing your wonderful Sea World day with us. I do so look forward to reading more.

Davina said...

Thank you for posting! The video of her chasing the pigeon cracked me up, thanks for that. Love you guys!


Tammy and Alvin said...

Just call me your 2nd mom. Ok, not really, but I bet I read your blog as faithfully as she does!

Heidi said...

Those are some friendly walruses. The sea lions are pretty cute and friendly, too. :)

Angela said...

Those lovey dovey pictures of you and Bridgette, ADORABLE! Doesn't it make you want another baby?!? :-)
Sea World in Orlando has the Blue Horizon Dolphin show down pat. Come to Orlando!
Yeah the story line is pretty cheesy, I would say it's my least favorite show because I don't like the costumes or story. But I'm weird like that. The animals are amazing.

Paul said...

Yay!! A new blog!!! Great pictures and while I thought I might only make the first 30 seconds of the video after you said that I lasted the whole time - it cracked me up!!

Love you!


Unknown said...

I've always follow your blog as I am a hd mom. My son is one y/ o. and still has the ileostomy. You all are heros to me. The blog gives me strength. Love all the sea world pics...

Anonymous said...

I love to read your Blog, of course. I just may be a little behind because I don't look too often and risk being disappointed that there's nothing new. Now if you were to post every day ... Ha! Loved all these pics and especially the pigeon episode.

Love, Lynn