Mr. Dragon and I got away for the weekend. It has been so long since we had the chance that we needed just to get away to have fun for a change. I’m pretty much a homebody anyway – antisocial and at ease with evenings spent doing nothing but reading or crafts or poking about in the garden. However, everyone needs a break from their daily routine now and again so we saved and did it. We didn’t go far, to Tampa. We ate out at a place called Crazy Buffet that had touches of many different Asian cuisines plus quite a bit of standard generic fare. Mr. Dragon, of course, gorged himself on sushi (‘not a wide selection, but fresh and tasty’) [there was a sushi chef right there crafting the rolls to replace as they were depleted] as well as some Thai cuisine, Vietnamese and anything with seafood in it. The kim chee had him sweating! Personally, I went for the hibachi – they had selections of raw meats and veggies that once I piled my plate full, they cooked right in front of me. Then added sauces I chose (a mix of teriyaki and chili pepper). It was delicious. That reminded me of my favorite, what is called ‘Mongolian barbeque’ though I couldn’t begin to say whether this type of food service originated there or someone just named it that for fun – though with Mongolian barbeque, you normally pour on the spices and sauces yourself so you can mix and add as much or as little of each as you like. In any case, it was a satisfying meal for both of us and we enjoyed it.
We then went to the Lowry Park Zoo. I’m of two minds about zoos. On the one hand, I hate to see animals caged up so that they cannot live their lives as they would in the wild. On the other, I know that we humans are terribly destructive and many of the animals that live in that zoo have no other place to go because we’ve destroyed them or are in the process of doing so. And if I had a third hand (wouldn’t that be ‘handy’?), I’d consider the conservation efforts that most zoos work for and the education and the help and safe harbor for wounded animals they also provide. The three manatees we saw were all very terribly scarred by boat propellers and are clearly safer where they are. Are they happy? Who is to know? I don’t. In any case, despite the horrid heat and humidity, we had a good time.
While at the zoo we observed some interesting behavior. No, not the animals. One of the Animal Services Managers (that’s what his nametag said) was over by the rhinocerous pen writing up on a chalk board when the next rhino feeding time would be and how much it would cost to feed the rhino yourself. He seemed to have a bit of difficulty. As we stood there, he wrote “sat & sun” on the board. Looked at it, erased it and started again. He wrote “sun & sat” and then “feeding 1 $” and erased that and wrote “feeding 1 $” and then tried again…each time the dollar sign got either bigger or smaller or put further away. While he was doing this, a kid came up and got excited and told his parents that the feeding would only cost a dollar. When the guy heard this, he said ‘No, the feeding is actualy five dollars.’ and started to erase the whole thing. About this time we gave up ogling the spectacle and went away. We couldn’t decide if he was dyslexic, overheated or hung over.
Our hotel was pretty interesting too. Nothing fancy – our basic requirements are bed, bathroom, cleanliness and a coffee pot in the room. But, even though this was a budget hotel, on the back of the property they had a little man made lake with a ‘nature walk’ around the perimeter. It had clearly seen better days and needed some repair. There was so much erosion in one spot that a bench that had been placed in the ground was hovering over the water instead of ground. But, while it could have used a bit of sprucing up with an eye to safety hazards (one of the fountains on the side of the lake had a large electrical plug right out in the middle of the path) it was quite nice. The lake was populated by a great number of muscovy ducks, mallards, gallules, gulls and at least one cormorant. There were three sets of moscovy ducklings – one was a single duckling, one was three ducklings and one had 15 ducklings. Watching them was one of the best parts of the trip. Most of the ducks were clearly used to humans traipsing around their territory but the momma ducks were definitely more skittish about letting anyone near their ducklings but they also had their routines and you could almost tell what time it was by where they were on the lake at any given moment.
In any case, we had a very nice weekend away from home but we are also very happy to be home! I may have some pictures to share, depending on how well they came out – we didn’t bring the camera but used Mr. Dragon’s phone to snap a few.
Make someone laugh today!