Have you ever been to an aquarium and not smiled after stepping inside?
There is something about those aquariums that bring out the child and photographer in everyone. Even the most drab-looking fish, which are usually strategically placed at the entrance, get their share of excited pointing and close attention. If they were placed in the most exciting places of all, say by the octopus, or by the showiness of what has commonly come to be known in kid-world as ‘Nemo and Dory fish’ people would rush past without a second glance. As it is, initially determined to enjoy the experience to the full and eke the value of every cent spent on entrance, even seasoned aquarium-goers will linger for a while.
Garnet (my usually extroverted husband) can be surprisingly crowd-phobic. In retrospect, perhaps he was never going to see Baltimore Aquarium at it’s finest on Good Friday – the Friday on which all Spring Breaks overlap. Added to the chaos of six-deep-crowds at each tank were the renovations of the main tank, which meant no gliding rays, or three-flipper massive turtles, just scaffolding and chip-boarded off areas.
The difficulties of getting round the aquarium faded away when met with the animals. The huge octopus, with it’s massive suckers attached to the tank. The spotting of lurid, poisonous frogs and snakes. The grinning sharks hanging out hopefully by the barriers in the main tank where they closely watch the huge, herbivorous fish swimming innocently around. Brightly coloured birds flying around the giant tortoises and two-toed sloth in the rain-forest display. The dolphins – who can fail to smile and feel good when faced with dolphins or puffins? One of the best exhibitions in my mind is the dark, jellyfish exhibition where these most alien of creatures hypnotically float around aimlessly. I would happily spend a day photographing them, but alas the issues of little Bradly illegally banging on the tanks or Chloe needing her nose wiped destroy all inspiration.
Another happiness to be found in the inner harbor in Baltimore are the desperate performers and buskers. Seb enjoyed watching the hapless man trying to juggle with fire though. I was a bit worried how large his eyes were when the performer ate the fire, and had to repeat several times that the man had probably trained many years to be able to do that and consequently it was not something for 5-year-old boys to try, under any circumstance. I hope I repeated that advice enough times to cut through the faraway expression that mothers of little boys know only too well. Garnet was worried by the dodgy hangers on following the busker, so we headed for the big book shop and lost each other.
The next day, after brunch cocktails and the obligatory pedalo around the harbor during which we got told off many times by the watchful guy on the boat, we headed south to Annapolis and the Navel Academy. What a beautiful old town that is. There are a number of places up and down the East Coast that are rich in history, with wonderful wooden buildings. Each house looks more photogenic than the last and the streets are paved with uneven bricks. Annapolis even had a roundabout. We had a lovely afternoon tea, complete with scones, cream and jam in a proper tea shop. I think that was Seb’s first proper afternoon tea – I tried to teach Seb the proper way to drink tea is with one’s little finger sticking out, but was dissuaded from that endeavor by the delicacy of the cups we were given.
All in all a lovely couple of days away topped off by a wonderful Easter Meal, with much wine and hilarity at a friends house back in Delaware.
More pictures of our trip are on the photo album page