Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

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Monsters in the Dark

John and I had a long road-trip this morning. We went north on the 101 all the way up through Oceanside and then back down all the way down the isthmus to the Mission Bay Fair, which has a huge roller-coaster and The Plunge, which is a huge, Olympic-sized swimming pool. Right on the beach. Right. Like Jet would go to the pool when he knew there was a roller-coaster right outside, or the beach to dig in or the ocean to run from...

But it was good to know that it was there.

The ride up was leisurely. Lazy, even. Just rolling along and looking. We had one stop for a Birkenstock sale. John needed new ones, and the store said that they were having a sale. Not on the Birkies, sadly, but he has a hard enough time finding a 47 narrow, that when he found a pair, we just bought them anyway. They also had some really comfortable Teva flip flops. So I bought those for me, for bare $20, can't beat Tevas for that cheap.

I needed to use a restroom, so we happened on very nice little food court, just a little way down the street, used the facilities, and walked back the more social way, through the strip malls rather than on the sidewalks. We stumbled upon a little hand-crafted chocolate place. They did their own chocolates, and the place was filled with the scent of raspberries. Yum. We bought a small box of their chocolates, a bag of orange peel in dark chocolate, and some bars. For later.

I've been so full for most of this trip that it's hard to get that much enthusiasm for Yet Another Food. But these looked like the Right Things to get excited about. I'll do a better review when we actually eat any of these, but the orange peels in dark chocolate say that they "caramelized the peels for two whole weeks", though how that lends anything good to the process I am still not sure. Low heat for that long on peels only means drying them, to me.

We kept going, got through Carlsbad, into Oceanside, and when we saw little good in Oceanside, we went back through Carlsbad and stopped at the Harbor Fish Cafe, right by the ocean. It was a beautiful location, and when nearly all of its menu was fish, we decided this was good. I had a teriyaki yellowtail sandwich on grilled sourdough and John got the Fish and Chips and we had a great conversation.

In just four months I've changed dramatically. It's odd to realize that I now really do feel like a peer with John, when, before, I've always felt the peon compared to the engineering god of Rosty. And it's odd to realize that, at a fundamental level, I've always been willing to talk about his ideas for himself and his life with him at a mostly equal level. But now it's equal even at the professional level and it makes a difference to both of us.

We had a great lunch and unwound the same journey back towards home. We had a quick stop at the Black Sheep to look for bead cordage and found some candidates for my use of it. Then we drove through beach town USA to find the fairground area, and walk through it and up and down the beach a little.

Then back to my parents' house, when they drove us down to the Point Loma Fish Company and some great sandwiches. Jet decided he wanted rice, and since they served sushi, John asked for rice, and Jet got a good bowl of it and ate most of the rather big bowl with plenty of sauce. He shoveled it in with gusto. I was impressed.

I got a crab cake sandwich that was crisp, spicy and good. Freshly made and freshly fried, it was tender on the inside and significant on the outside and very tasty. I'd definitely recommend it. John got tacitos, just in case Jet would eat them, but they were slathered with guac, cheese, and fresh greens, so Jet refused to have anything to do with something that complicated. But he did decide that he needed a big bottle of Gatorade, which I would be grateful for later.

From there we headed east and north to the Wild Animal Park. I'd been there a lot as a kid and hadn't been impressed with numbers of animals that one could see; but all those previous trips were in the heat of the day. We arrived just before twilight, and it grew completely dark during our 1:15 minute tour. Normally it's a 50 minute tour, but so many animals were out, visible, or even active that it was much longer than usual and the lady could explain quite a lot more.

Jet loved seeing the baby elephant trying to climb a bank. We saw more animals than I've ever seen before there, including a good dozen rhinos, a herd of giraffes, a white tiger, 20+ mountain goats all perched or bouncing along a mountain side, two lions stretching before their night prowl, and heard a love-lorn buck bugling his heart out on a mountain side. There were more creatures than I could ever name, and they were all out with their babies, which they hide during the day.

Jet, being three was bored by the 55th minute and started singing songs to himself until we got to the station. Then we found the stroller, and ran for Dinosaur Island. It's a display of 20 mechanized dinosaurs in the HUGE, in the midst of a botanical garden and stream. I think that in the daytime it would have been beautiful, a walk in the woods with mythical beasts, but at night with the "monsters" lit, full-on, it was pretty frightening for me, even. The first half was mostly herbivores, then there was a display to show how all the creatures were made, with controls for moving the beast. Jet played with it and talked about how the tail was broken.

The second half were all the giants and meat-eaters, some with dinosaur parts hanging out of their very nasty, sharp-toothed mouths. And while they weren't all to scale, the really big guys at the end were HUGE. It's one thing to see a brachosaurs, it's an entirely other thing to see a T. Rex that's looking in another direction suddenly swing it's huge head to look right at you, piggy eyes gleaming, and open those jaws to roar in your direction. I am SOoooooo glad that they didn't get the British smell guy to work here. No stinking reptilian carcass breath for me, thank you. Even knowing it was a mechanical marvel, I wasn't stepping anywhere closer to it than I had to.

Jet did astonishingly well, sitting quietly in his stroller and peering at all the "monsters in the dark." Afterwards, as we were on the path outside the exhibit, he said, quietly, "I'm done with monsters. I don't want to look at them any more." I agreed with him, just as quietly.

When we got back to the lights and people of the central area we found a ring-side seat at the safari show, until Jet said he had to use the potty and we rushed him on his way. Then he got to see the rest of the show, laugh and talk for a while before and falling asleep in the car on the way home. Mmm...

He didn't seem scared at all, and he laughed when we asked him what was his favorite part and he said the dinosaurs. So I think he'll be just fine.

A very good day, all in all. A very good day.

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