Down Under - Winter/Spring 2009 travel blog

Long Beach panorama

Long Beach aquarium

is this a fish?

great color



oil drilling island

Queen Mary

men cooking

Movie Clips - Playback Requirements - Problems?

(MP4 - 2.88 MB)

jelly fish

(MP4 - 3.20 MB)

ready to pet something

(MP4 - 4.63 MB)

not very shy

We are staying in a nice condo in Long Beach, a few blocks from the sea. It has a large kitchen, giving the impression that lots of cooking is going to take place this week. Maybe if Barb & Gary do it.... We all awoke much too early, still on our home time zones. After all that sitting yesterday, it felt great to take a walk in the warmth and sunshine. With no particular plan in mind, we moseyed toward the sea shore, walking right through a scene where a film was being made. This is the Hollywood area after all and we should have been a bit less oblivious of the cameras and equipment. Looking for our walk on roles in "Prison Break" at a theater near you.

The Aquarium of the Pacific got rave reviews in the guide books, so we followed herds of school kids on field trips in to view the fish. The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago is highly regarded, but there's something about being located right on the coast where many of these fish could have recently been swimming free. There were many tanks with a variety of habitats and lots of opportunities to touch the fish, including small sharks and rays. The kids shrieked with delight and quite frankly, so did we.

Eventually our feet had had enough and we boarded a boat for a tour of Long Beach harbor. The Queen Mary, a classic ocean liner, has been a museum/hotel here ever since she retired from active service and was prominent on the horizon. The large dome next to her used to house the huge Howard Hughes experimental plane The Spruce Goose, but now the Goose has flown north and the dome is a Carnival cruise ship terminal. A number of small manmade islands near the shore looked like lovely vacation spots, covered with palm trees and an occasional condo. Closer examination revealed that this was all a ruse. They really are oil drilling platforms and they were disguised in this Disney-like way to look like assets on the horizon rather than what they really are. Only in California!

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