21/10/13 – Marine encounters

Up and packed, Skyped Mom, then went for a nice waffle-y breakfast. Headed straight out to the Texas State Aquarium. Less than twenty dollars admission and it was easily better than Seaworld the other day! We looked round some of the tanks (including a variety of jellyfish and also some teeny tiny seahorses!) and listened to some info on sharks. After that was more tanks and then a dolphin show! The two dolphins were called Shadow and Kai. After the show we went down a level so we could watch them underwater. They were so adorable – they looked like they were trying to play basketball underwater!

Upsidedown, underwater basketball! It's all the rage in the ocean...

We found more animals outside in other exhibits, including giant sea turtles, an otter called Merlin, various birds of prey (one was called Gus!) and a fat alligator. Best of all was still the ray pool for us. We just love those friendly little kites. I stroked quite a lot of them – a much better improvement on last year – mostly because they actually seemed to want the fuss! Too cute! There was a similar pool under the canopy, though this time I got to stroke a horn shark! Most of the sharks had hid in the middle and out of reach, but I found this guy kipping in the corner. He felt so strange – kinda like a living, breathing rock.

After that was another show. Mostly of birds, but there was also a mammal apparently from the raccoon family and a tall wildcat that I think was called a serval. It was very cute – I wanted to hug it. We got to touch a ball python at the swamp encounters talk (I felt proud that through my snakey knowledge I knew they were one of the most popular for pets) and then watched the people feed the rays. We opted out of doing it ourselves – partly because you had to pay and mostly because they ate small dead fish. Urgh. I’ve decided as well that fish eyes are terrifying and I don’t like them.

We wanted to find a Walmart before our next long drive and guess what was next to the first Walmart we found? An Ihop! I’d been dying to go back to one and had exactly what I had that time last year – country omelette (cheese, ham, onion and hash brownies) and a side of pancakes with lots of strawberry syrup. So good! We then did our Walmart shop and got back on the road itself. The drive itself took around four hours; it was a killer. We discovered that Cody is very greedy too. We had to do our first petrol stop, which was a complete faff, but at least we get the idea of how it works now. We got to our hotel then around half eight.

By this point we didn’t want to do anything. I’d felt crappy for most of the drive too, so I didn’t even want anything to eat (shock horror!) So instead I showered and then we watched bits of This Is 40. It was weird but actually quite funny. Especially Billie Joe’s random-ass cameo line of “Shut the fuck up, Tom Selleck” to a beardy Chris O’Dowd. Honestly though, I was just happy to sit somewhere that wasn’t a driver’s seat and unwind. We have another three-plus-hours drive tomorrow as well, just for a change. Yay.

Strokey strokey Sharky

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