I Think They’re Turning Japanese (Los Angeles, Day 5)

Micaela says hello to her new lorikeet friend.

Micaela says hello to her new lorikeet friend.

Jessica says hello to her new lorikeet friend.

Jessica makes a new birdie buddie.

“Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” This is the movie quote du jour that Las Super Chicas learned.

We spent a rather relaxing day, compared to the previous ones. My shark-diving pal Patric hooked me up with his fishing buddy at the Aquarium of the Pacific, where we got a behind-the-scenes tour. We started out with an up-close shark feeding, where bull sharks, zebra sharks, sawfish, and other toothy pelagics swirled about to get their daily nibbles. Then Steve took us back to the main quarantine area, where we saw animals awaiting their turn to be put on exhibit, or simply enjoying life as they couldn’t out in the open ocean. One in particular was a blind sea lion, who would have been Purina shark chow himself had he not been taken into captivity.

Micaela and Jessica with their host, Steve.

Micaela and Jessica with their aquarium host, Steve.

We got quick peeks at the animal food prep area, the diver staging area, and then onto the above-tank viewing area, where we looked down upon the ginormous exhibition tanks that all the hoi polloi could see only from below. Then Steve asked what the chicas’ favorite animal is, to which they answered, “Sea horses!” Moments later, the girls’ grins were wider than a porpoise’s as they saw the hundreds of miniature sea horses, some less than a day old, galloping around in their tanks. We even saw leafy and weedy sea dragons, relatives to the sea horses but more like silky plants, say las chicas. Perhaps the thoughts of ramen are finally getting to them: Like Japanese tourists, they viewed much of the aquarium through the camera viewfinders on their cell phones.

After our VIP treatment, we headed back to join the masses, this time viewing the exhibits with the commoners. The girls were excited to finally meet Rungus, the binturong I’d told them smells like popcorn and looks like a cross between a cat and a monkey, complete with whiskers and prehensile tail. But their favorite part was the lorikeet exhibit, where dozens of the brightly colored birds fly free in an enclosure, even landing on guests bearing cups of nectar. Las chicas so adored this part of the aquarium that we returned after the first movie, and skipped a longer viewing of the puffins and sea otters. Actually, I take that back. Their favorite part of the aquarium was, of course, the gift shop, where they spent the better part of 40 minutes.

Las Super Chicas meet their culinary match.

Las Super Chicas meet their culinary match.

We strolled the boardwalk a little bit, taking in such sites as the Queen Mary and lighthouse in the distance. Then we headed north to sate their hunger for the legendary ramen, which they haven’t been able to get out of their heads ever since I mentioned it the first day. They asked what flavors were better, Oriental or Roast Chicken, and they were shocked to learn that those would not be options at Ramenya. When they got the menu, they had trouble deciding what they wanted, unable to find anything that would satisfy them both, since they’d be sharing the vat of soup between them. When the bowls finally arrived, they couldn’t believe how big they were. The chicas’ stomachs had finally met their match.

Then home we headed for a viewing of The Princess Bride, which went over well, despite our having to rewind multiple times so they could pick up on key plot points. Their questioning and interruptions were nicely complemented by those of the grandson in the film, whom they wisely chose not to criticize.

Now they’re performing minor surgery on each other’s blisters in preparation for an early night to bed. Then they’ll have to produce either a thank-you note (for Patric and Steve) or a journal entry before they get their nightly bedtime myth, which they now beg for.

Only one day left, and still a few fun places to squeeze in.

Videos:
Sea Horses and Cell Phones
Coral Crab Research
Sharks-to-Be

Day 1: Las Super Chicas Invade LA
Day 2: Santa Monica and the Hollywood Bowl
Day 3: Raging Waters, Raging Chicas
Day 4: Disneyland and California Misadventure
Day 5: I Think They’re Turning Japanese
Day 6: El Capitan, La Brea Tar Pits, Friends and Family
Day 7: Sin Chicas, Silencio

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