09 April 2008

Today was all about the fish...

Cathy and I arrived today in Chicago. It was a pretty easy drive, and an interesting trip in that we stopped off and ate lunch at a restaurant that caters to truckers. It was especially handy since after eating, you could take a shower or buy various adult themed items. We opted not to do either but still, there were plenty of chances to walk on the wild side.

We got to Chicago early afternoon and headed on over to Shedd Aquarium. Here's the view of the city as we walked toward the aquarium:

We did get closer to the water but I kind of started to get all twitchy and to be honest, had to fight back the urge to clutch onto Cathy even though we were standing a good ten feet from the edge and it would take someone shoving me hard to push me in. I have a really really bad problem with large bodies of water. I think petrified is a pretty good way to put it (which is why you'll be proud of my upcoming Where I Stand Sunday photos).

I admire large collections of water. I respect large collections of water. I respect them so much that I stay entirely away from them.

I know what you're thinking: then why was I going to a gigantic aquarium? Here's why, I got to see stuff like this:

And I got to see them without having to go into the water or on a boat. (Boats sink...into water...so I have issues with those as well.) Bonus points.

We also got to see this komodo dragon. I think his name was Frans. I can't exactly remember now but I recall squinting at the sign because he had a german sounding name. Didn't seem to fit. He's pretty cool to look at:

The signs on the outside of his exhibit space cautioned me that although he was laying in the middle of a huge space like an enormous slug, he could chew my face off in about ten seconds flat. Apparently he is quick (when he wants to be) and likes to eat a lot. In fact, the sign also explained that the staff at the aquarium scatters when he is eating since attempting to get between him and his food is, as Martha would say, a bad thing.

I felt pretty safe that he couldn't get me since there was very thick glass seperating us but I think I'll show him the same respect that I do to the water and just leave him be.

In the basement of the aquarium there was an exhibt called the Ocenarium. It had penguins, I like penguins. But it also had something that kicked my water phobia into severe high gear.

There is a gigantic tank that houses these cuties:

They are beluga white whales and the little guy grey is a baby named Miki. Very sweet, he hugged on him momma while they swam and they stayed near the surface chattering and splashing and spitting whale snot on little kids much to their delight.

However, if you went into the basement where the penguins are, you got another view of their tank (the shot above is looking down into their tank from the main level). Here's what it looked like:

I don't think this photo conveys the feeling of crushing abyss and panic that came over me. You could feel the pressure change in the air and I was convinced that the glass couldn't possibly be thick enough to keep that water at bay.

The whale swam close to it at one point and I cringed, thinking all he would have to do is tap the glass and it would crack and kill us all. I started examining the ceiling and realized it was too low and the water could easily fill the space so there would be no room to breathe and I started wondering how painful of a death it would be if I got smooshed by a whale as it came crashing through the glass.

Cathy drug me away from it and when I told her my concerns (I felt the need to spread the panic), she said she thought it was the watery wall of doom (which was her name for it) as well. That made me feel kind of better to know that we would at least be crushed by the water thinking the same thing.

Don't worry, I"m better now. Cathy is watching bad TV and I'm...well...its pretty obvious what I'm doing. The aquarium was beautiful and I do recommend it. I have tons more pictures that I will put on my flickr page when I get home but now I'm tired.

Hopefully tonight I don't dream of viscous komodo dragon attacks (I'm worried he might be pissed that I can't remember his name) and becoming one with the whale tank...I have issues with water, did I mention that?

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