Monday, March 19, 2001

Vacation Wrapup

Blog catch up (I really have to stop letting so much time go by). Finished vacation. Discovery Cove was pretty cool, though with some disappointments. The first clue was that just as we got to the front of the line to 'sign in' and get passes made, their computers went down. (The happy part is that I got to pet the cutest little Two-toed Sloth you ever did see.) We waited over a half hour... as I nearly burst into tears at the thought of my dream being delayed. Finally got in, not much time before I had to report for my "Dolphin Interaction". They have three dolphin lagoons, each with between four and six dolphins. We separated into 'pods' of about 8 people each and went into one of the lagoons (they alternate lagoons to give the dolphins a break... nice). Each pod had two trainers, a photographer, and a dolphin assigned to us. I'll be honest, at some level I expected this to be a life changing experience... I thought.. when I get in there, those dolphins will just KNOW I've been waiting my whole life for this and will shower me with attention and love. Alas, proof I am delusional ensued.

Our assigned dolphin was named Goofy (second clue), she was a 37 year old Sea World retiree. As we got into the chilly water and lined up, Goofy disappeared. I looked at the other pods and they were all petting and playing with their dolphin, laughing and having the time of their lives. Goofy was still MIA. Held back tears. Goofy finally came back. All the actual interaction seemed to be centered around photo opportunities (for a mere $100, you can get 5 5x7's, two keychains and a snowglobe... woohoo). Got to kiss Goofy (click, click) then scratched her chin which she really seamed to like. Hurrah, connection with dolphin... then, Goofy is MIA again. Held back tears. One by one our pod people went out to the center of the pool, posed with Goofy (click, click), then got "brought" back to the line by Goofy. My turn, ooh, ooh. I get to put my feet against Goofy's pectoral fins as she pushes me back to shore. Whoopeee, moving fast, this is fun... smile for the camera (click, click). Kind of strange having a giant dolphin between your legs, I hope I don't slip... but hey, THIS is the kind of stuff I paid an extra $110 bucks for!!

Couple more minutes. Get to touch her flukes. Look at her underwater. She likes me, she really likes me... the delusion is back! Damn, it's almost over (after a mere 20 minutes). Goofy does her last trick of jumping up out of the water and spinning... she does this three times in a row... not bad for an old broad.

It's over, we have to leave the lagoon. So sad, want to cry. Really want to get a job as a dolphin trainer. Believe it or not, I'm semi-qualified. The psychology degree and the experience at the zoo as a docent. I'm so in there. I'm going to their HR dept today. Later that day... HR is closed, but I'll get on the web when I get home. Must work with dolphins, they'd be almost as fun as the wacky crew I work with now. Got on the web, no jobs available. Lifelong dream will not be fulfilled any time soon. Hold back tears.

All in all, with the delay, the MIA dolphin, and the rain (oh yeah, it poured!), it was a great experience and I would do it again and again.

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