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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

You know your holiday's going well when your host starts paying you to get out of her house. And so it was that Big Sis handed us sixty dollars yesterday afternoon and told us to leave. Personally I wanted to stay in and write my blog, but apparently that wasn't an option. We were packed off to the local train station with a timetable and a map, quicker than you could say "outstay your welcome".

Our destination was the Dallas World Aquarium, and our preferred method of transport (not that we had any choice in the matter) was the DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) - a cross between a train and a tram which runs downtown every twenty minutes. Not that Sis has ever used it, but she was more than happy to look up directions to the station if it meant getting rid of us for a few hours.

As it turned out, we liked the DART. It's like the London Underground, only it's cleaner and it goes down city streets at 40mph whilst displaying adverts for torn earlobe repairs. Within half an hour we were in the west end, and with the aid of a map (kindly supplied by Big Sis, in a sort of 'take this map and get out' kind of a way) we soon found the Dallas World Aquarium and paid the exhorbitant entry fee out of our bribery money.

Aquariums (aquaria?) hold one advantage over zoos, namely that they tend to feature more fish than monkeys, which for a simianphobe (I'm not sure that word exists, but it should do) like Lisa is a major plus. So she was a little less than thrilled when we walked through the door expecting to see a tank full of goldfish, and bumped straight into the first monkey enclosure. But hey, she soon perked up once we were past the tarantulas and heading towards the vampire bats. They were next to the crocodiles. Which were just past the snakes.

A couple of otters and a kinkajou later, we actually saw some fish. They were a surprisingly small part of the Dallas World Aquarium, and were slightly overshadowed by the penguins and rabbits, though the highlight for me was undoubtedly the manatees. I've decided I want one. Mainly so I can ride it. I'd like a pygmy hippo for overland journeys, and a manatee for underwater travel. I've yet to find a creature capable of providing me with airborne transportation, but I haven't given up yet.

Anyhoo, we made it past the flamingos and leopard (a volatile combination), through the shark tunnel, and into the gift shop, where Lisa took pity on me and bought me a cuddly manatee for nine dollars. The place closed at 5pm, so at 5:20pm we eventually agreed to leave, and made our way down the road to TGI Friday's, where Lisa chose from the Atkins menu. And then stole my chips.

A quick jaunt over to the JFK memorial, and we caught the DART back to Garland, where Big Sis was waiting for us. On the other side of the road. It was 15 minutes before we spotted her. Anyone would think it was a high crime area.