Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

"So long and thanks for all the fish." - The Dolphins, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

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The Boy and Pugsley stare at lots of tiny fish. Lots of tiny fish.

Since my in-laws decided to live in a place accessible only by submarine, we stayed in Houston all week. I took off some vacation time (that I had been planning anyway) and we decided to do what George Lucas decided to do with the last three Star Wars™ movies, namely, just coast.

The rain that has been plaguing Texas to the north finally decided it was Houston’s turn, and dropped in for a visit – every day of my vacation except for today, it has rained, and in most cases rained heavily. What to do? Too wet to go out and too cold to play ball, so we sat in the house and did nothing at all. All we could do was sit, sit, sit, sit. And we did not like it, not one little bit.

So we went to the aquarium. I know, pouring buckets of rain, and all we could think was to visit the aquarium. We drove downtown and found the aquarium.

The first thing that bothered me about the aquarium was that they wanted $6.00 American dollars to allow me the privilege to park my car on their lot. Not good – the only thing that I would pay $6.00 for parking to go and see would be Ronnie James Dio¹. Ronnie wouldn’t ask, either. He’s cool. Since The Boy wanted to see fish, well, I’d pay it anyway.

The last aquarium I had been to was in Albuquerque, and it was a fine, fun facility where you could spend hours looking at all manner of icky swimming things. This building we were walking toward was smaller than your average Starbucks® (not the one in the lobby of the Starbucks©, but the one Starbucks™ with the Wells Fargo© in its lobby).

The first sign of trouble that I saw at the aquarium was that it wasn’t owned by the city or the county, but rather it was owned by Landry’s Seafood Restaurants, as it said in teeny-tiny fine print . In my mind, that’s similar to the dude who makes fur coats owning the zoo – it’s just a conflict of interest. I also began to question the quality of exhibits that we were going to see – would all the fish be filleted and fried on a nice platter with coleslaw?

We finally found the tourist fleecing station box office and paid – about $26.75, not counting Pugsley, because they charged no admission for critters as small as he. We made it into the aquarium. The first exhibit we saw was . . . sea bass – does Landry’s just scoop out the exhibits and feed them to the diners in the restaurant above the aquarium? My suspicions were being confirmed. I was expecting to see the next tank full of hush puppies, which I believe are the larval form of Pop Tarts®.

Alas, no, an actual aquarium was next. The Wilder enjoying the show the very most was Pugsley. What goes through a two-year-old’s mind as he stares at fish swimming, well, he won’t tell us. But he was amused. We saw alligators, lots of little fish that wouldn’t even fill a fish stick (but they would have been colorful fish sticks), and some swimming things that look like they should have been Muppets®, rather than real living creatures. I kept expecting to see vats of tartar sauce.

After five (really, five) rooms of various fish tanks, we were confronted by that great denizen of the deep, the Great Albino Tiger fish. Actually, two living, breathing, bored as hell albino tigers were stretched out, reading the paper and watching CSI: Congo reruns. Did I miss the high school biology lesson where tigers were classified as fish and should thusly be placed in an aquarium?

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An albino tiger with, I assume, Buddha. In this version, Buddha lost his razor and has been on Slim-Fast®

Around the corner, the gift shop loomed – filled with – stuffed albino tigers, albino tiger t-shirts, albino tiger panty-hose, and albino tiger Pez® dispensers. Oh, and there were some fish thingys.

The nice thing about the “aquarium” is that it didn’t take all that long, and since it was raining, neither The Boy or Pugsley could complain that we weren’t going to go and hit the “aquarium” Ferris wheel.

Did we have fun? Sure. Going back? Ummm, not unless Ronnie James Dio is playing there.

Rock and fish? Makes more sense than tigers.

¹Ronnie James Dio is a rock and/or roll singer.


Blogger Dame Koldfoot said...

CSI: Congo? Must be something transmitted in the Sounthern hemisphere that that is accidentally picked up by NASA satellites and rebroadcast with English subtitles. English is still the offical language of Texas, isn't it?

8:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a similar reaction to my first visit to the Dallas World Aquarium -- are jaguars suddenly fish? And what about the monkeys and birds? Texans confuse me. At least the plain old non-worldly Dallas Aquarium is just a run-down building containing nothing but aquatic creatures and the occasional human in a dive suit feeding them and answering questions...

12:32 PM  
Blogger SusanE said...

Did you eat at the restaurant?

12:05 PM  
Blogger Uncle Crappy said...

Kind of related:

A couple of years ago The Wife and I were driving into town and passed a strip mall that features a pet shop and a Subway next door to each other. Each store has its own marquee. The pet shop's sign was advertising a sale on fish. Subway's announced a new menu item: a tuna sandwich.

No. We didn't stop.

1:14 PM  
Blogger John said...

dame koldfoot,
Hope you're enjoying Fairbanks. 95F plus when you walk outside someone throws a hot wet towel around you. Ugh.

English IS the official language. If you press "1"

Must be that Texans can't tell birds from mammals. Explains all the fishing with rifles.

Nope. Not on your life. They'd charged me for parking. We ate at Whataburger (which is greasy-good).

uncle crappy,
I did have the fish sandwich at Whataburger.

See, if the aquarium was run by the Subway people, then at least it would have made sense, and the Subway could have been a real sub.

Lemmee have another swig of wine. Maybe that will then make sense.

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Skinny Budha! LOL

That looks like fun, once. :)

6:37 PM  

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