Tag Archives: National Aquarium

Many and many a year ago, in a kingdom by the sea: Adventures in Baltimore, Part Two

Here we are! OK, so we talked about the day I arrived…on to day two!

On the second day, R. kept CeeVee home from daycare so we could take her adventuring with us. When I woke up, she was a little shy, but she warmed up almost immediately. This kid is pure sunshine, seriously. I miss her already. Our most successful game was called “Pretend to Eat Baby CeeVee’s Fingers in a Most Delicious Way.” I would pick her up, and first she would play with whatever necklace I was wearing. I purposely brought necklaces that babies would enjoy. I learned that these are baby essentials from The Nephew. Then she would try to put the necklace in my mouth. I would say “UM YUM YUM!” and pretend to eat it. This would make her squeal with delighted laughter. Then she would try to put her most wonderful teeny-tiny baby fingers in my mouth, with similar “UM YUM YUM!” pretending to eat results, and most delighted baby squeals of laughter. This never got old, and once she realized it was the best time ever, it happened every day I was there. I was more than happy to oblige. If it makes a baby happy and doesn’t hurt me? I’m down with it. (And I learned in The Nephew’s case, sometimes even if it starts to hurt but makes the kid happy, you continue to do it, like catching him repeatedly at the end of a slide even though he’s kind of heavy and tipping him over and making him laugh and laugh and the next day your arms ache but you can remember the laughter and that makes the achey arms hurt less.)

On day two we had two plans. First, we went to…

THE NATIONAL AQUARIUM IN BALTIMORE!

It’s not even a rinky-dink aquarium, you guys. It’s totally national.

We parked on Level 8. That’s the Sea Turtle level. I was already excited and we weren’t even IN the aquarium yet!

Outside the aquarium there was…

THE U.S.S. TORSK! I mentioned that was a thing I might see in Baltimore and look! I accidentally did! A ship with a shark painted on it! RAWR! Also, hee, Torsk!

First there was a whole room of jellyfish! Jellyfish make me think of Finding Nemo. There were many kinds. These pretty little ones with long dangly bits…

These funny darty white ones…

These that look like floaty sea garbage but I promise are really jellyfish, just maybe jellyfish that have had a really hard life and are trying to make good but just…aren’t…making…it…

These gorgeous white ones that were mesmerizing, and also this photo turned out really well (and by the way, Baby CeeVee really liked the aquarium. We found out when we got there that no strollers were allowed, though, so poor R. had to backpack her all around, and Baby CeeVee REALLY liked to get handfuls of R.’s hair and just yank yank yank all while grinning cheerfully. R. didn’t even get angry. She’s such a good mom)…

These upside-down jellyfish which look like nature played a prank…

And this brown one, which was a lot bigger than this photo suggests and was very pretty but also probably the most deadly. I’m pretty sure a lot of the things in this room could kill you dead dead dead.

Here’s another shot of him and a little friend. SAY HELLO TO MY LEETLE FRIEND!

This is for Andreas and is the octopus. For some reason, Baltimore loved octopuses, and there were octopuses painted on people’s doors and buildings and things, and I liked that a lot and know Andreas would, too. You could not use your flash while taking photos of the octopus. The lady working there asked me if I knew why. “BECAUSE HE WILL INK!” I said cheerfully. She said, “Yes, he might do that!” so I think I win aquariums.

This is a very depressed yellow seahorse. I think the other seahorses wouldn’t let him play seahorse games.

This is the REDDEST SHRIMP EVER. I think it was a flame shrimp. ZOMG you guys how much do I want one of these? He’s kind of the coolest and the most jaunty. “BONJOUR!” says Jacques the Flame Shrimp. “Welcome to my love nest! Please to be taking off your shoes! Help yourself to some champagne!”

Ready for the best photo ever? Seriously, this should be on the brochure. I’ve never taken anything like this in my LIFE.

AN EEL THAT WANTS TO EAT YOUR FAAAAAACE!

Even A., who is like a super-professional photo guy and took a class and stuff and takes the BEST photos, was all, “whoa, how’d you do that with the glass there?” My answer, which probably should have been something filled with focusing and F-stops and such, was “I turned off the flash because I learned in New York City in March that if you use flash when there’s glass, you get a glare. Oh, also I zoomed.”

This is a Snowflake Moray. He is most scary and also kind of jaunty, and looks like he needs to blow his schozz. Need a Kleenex, Snowflake my man?

This is a sea urchin. I took this to remind myself to tell you all a story. See that fish way in the back there, through the spines? Well, there was a little girl at the tank with her grandmother. And the little girl said, “Gramma, won’t that fish get hurt by the urchin?” and the grandmother said, “That’s not real, honey, that’s tank decoration.” EVEN THOUGH THE SIGN SAID THE TANK CONTAINED FISH AND URCHINS. Because these types of fish hide in the urchin when predators come around and the urchin’s spines protect them from predators. I think the tank was supposed to show us how symbiosis worked. SERIOUSLY, LADY! I was so embarrassed and now that kid is going to go to school and have false knowledge. READ THE SIGNS OVER THE TANKS!

This fish is really, really big. I don’t know what it is. Just that it’s huge and it made me laugh with its huge old hugeness.

This is a pretty lionfish, I think. It looked like it had feathers. It was very dainty.

It’s very hard to tell, but this lump is a stonefish. No, seriously. The crescent shape on the far left is the mouth, and there are eyes somewhere. He’s like an optical illusion. Not a trick. If we’ve learned anything from Arrested Development, it’s that tricks are what whores do for money.

This fish had the funniest mouth I’ve ever seen and I stood at this tank laughing and laughing for the longest time. HE HAS A FUNNY KISSER. Also kind of a funny face. I don’t even remember what he was but he was MOST awesome.

Here he is at another angle. Look at his funny lips!

This fish really, really wishes you hadn’t worn that skirt today, because it’s too short. Also, he thinks you’re making a lot of inappropriate life choices, and he thinks you laugh too loud. Tone it down, says this fish.

I know I already showed you this guy, but I’m doing it again, because he balances out the Gloomy Gus up top. This is Cheerful Carl the Catfish! He is SO HAPPY you’re here. He’d like to thank you for coming, and also wants to know if there’s anything you need to make your day any better? He’d be happy to help. Seriously. Just ask. He’s right over here. Happily waiting. Anytime, chum.

This fish just looks confused, and also his face is too short for his body. What’s going on, fish? Why so bewildered?

This is a Blair Witch frog. He just would NOT turn around. I think the Blair Witch told him to stay facing the wall, dammit.

Also, SIDE NOTE, in the frog area was a group that I assume was a family. They did not speak English. There were two middle-aged men and a middle-aged woman. They were Hispanic and spoke very rapid Spanish. Español rapido! And at one of the frog tanks, they could not find a frog, and they were sad. Then one of them SPOTTED the frog! And they were happy! SO HAPPY, in fact, that they did a little dance and the two men HUGGED one another while pointing at the frog! And I was equal parts perplexed and touched at the joy that frog-sighting had brought this little group.

At the end was a shark walk thing, where you walked down this walkway and there were walls and walls of shark tanks all around you, and THAT was cool. This was the only shark who could stay still long enough to be photographed because if sharks don’t keep moving, THEY WILL DIE. Except maybe not this shark, I guess.

Look at his jaggedy teeth. Whoa!

Then we were done with the aquarium! We had lunch in the middle of the trip but I’m not showing you lunch. No fish were involved. And also we went to the gift shop and I bought a little key-chain thingy and also a present for Andreas but it’s a secret so you can’t see it. And neither can he, probably for a very long time, because it’ll be not until I send another package to the land of the Finns.

Next stop: FLOWER MART!

Flower Mart is a Baltimore tradition going back many and many a year. You can buy flowers or garden plants or many craft items or food or listen to local singers or watch interpretive dancers who confuse the heck out of you. The street is all closed off and it is a very pretty area I was very much in awe of.

Here is an old church that was near Flower Mart. I was obsessed with this church. It was the most beautiful of ALL the churches and R. and I agreed it reminded us of Europe.

This is the Washington Monument in Baltimore. I thought R. was screwing with me but that’s really what this is called! I like this photo because randomly I captured a bird and little does this bird know he is blog-famous right now. Also, look how pretty the sky was! It’s deceiving. It was SO COLD AND WINDY this day. And I was the goofball who forgot her sweater. I brought it with me all the other days but of course those other days, I didn’t need it.

This is the backside of a lion at the park near the Flower Mart where we took a timeout to give Baby CeeVee some snacks. Babies need to eat a lot, I assume to power how insanely awesome they are. I mean, if you were that awesome, I think you’d need a lot of calories, too.

This is another photo of that church. I WAS OBSESSED WITH THIS CHURCH YOU GUYS.

Also, this was a thing at Flower Mart. R. and I had to investigate when we got home.

It is called a Lemon Stick. And yes, it is exactly what it looks like: half a fat peppermint stick stuck in half a lemon. You suck on the peppermint stick and it kind of melts into the lemon and then you kind of suck and bite at the lemon and the sugar/mintiness of the peppermint takes away a little acidicness of the lemon. R. and I were SO PERPLEXED. And SO MANY PEOPLE HAD THESE! It’s totally a Baltimore tradition; we found a very good article about them in the paper.

And that’s about it for Flower Mart! R. bought some flowers and some household goods and I almost bought some gorgeous jewelry until I talked myself out of it because it was out of my price range and we did share a fried dough because SERIOUSLY, people, if there’s fried dough, you’ve got to get it. And it was the best fried dough. Totally light and not greasy at all.

Outside of the Flower Mart Jim had a whole art gallery named after his family, which was nice, because he hates Baltimore. I assume because there is a DIRE RIVALRY between their football team and his. Don’t be hatin’, Jim, yo. There’s enough room for all the awesome cities in the world.

When I told Jim this, here was his reponse.

Sheesh, Jim, YOU CANNOT HAVE IT ALL!

What’s that? You want to see what Baby CeeVee thought of her day out?

Well, luckily, I can show you that. I asked for permission to show you all Baby CeeVee and it was granted! R. said it was ok. THANK YOU, R.!

She LOVED it! Also, ZOMG, look at that face. Are you the most in love? I know I am. She’s ALWAYS this happy! She loves all things about life! I am just head over heels for this kid, most sincerely.

As you can see most clearly here. BEST OF FRIENDS AT THE FLOWER MART!!!

Time for bed for me, my little babushkas. Have the best of Wednesdays! More adventures soon! Tomorrow: ANIMALS and SOFT-CORE PORN! (Not related, but most definitely in that order!)


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