Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Christmas Eve with the Jellies and Seahorses
Jelly (not Jellyfish)
I had an odd Christmas Eve. I didn't plan it that way, but as most of you probably remember, it was a nightmare of a travel day for those flying. Between the horrible midwestern storm, a fair amount of agents calling in sick, cranky luggage workers, as well as it being a huge travel day, a couple of airlines just fell apart. When I arrived at my gate (after not being able to find it due to the non-working screens), they were already asking for volunteers to take a later flight. After talking to my family and other lucrative negotiations with the airline, I agreed to take a flight four hours later. Fortunately, this all worked out fine and I got home that same evening, unlike other stories I heard where people never got to go home at all, or their luggage was lost, etc.
With four hours to wait for the next flight, a T pass to anywhere in the city, and no real interest in hanging out at the airport, I pondered my options. Revere Beach is quite close to the airport, but being on the beach with a suitcase seemed problematic. Did I have time for a foodquest in East Boston? Again, the suitcase factor seemed a problem. And then I remembered, the New England Aquarium, just two t-stops away, has a show about Jellies (not jellyfish as they aren't fish) that I'd been wanting to see. I'm not that into fish, but I'd seen some jellies at another aquarium and could barely tear myself away from their tank. So off I went to see some new ones. And the suitcase factor wasn't even a problem as I was able to park my suitcase in the Aquarium's stroller park. I highly recommend this as an alternative to sitting around at the airport if you ever have a long layover -- although be prepared to drop $15 to get in.
I took some photos of the jellies which I'm posting here. I just find their undulations and colors to be mesmerizing. Some even generated their own light, which was this wonderful irridescent glow that even the folks at Disney would never have thought up. I learned some depressing facts about them as well: mostly that their population is increasing rapidly because of global warming, which means a decrease in lots of other kinds of fish populations which are preyed upon by the jellyfish. Sigh. Once again, it's all our fault.
I also saw my first seahorses outside of a textbook and they are just as wild as the jellies. Apparently, seahorses ARE fish (unlike jellies). You really don't need science fiction -- we've got plenty of freaky stuff that already exists. The seahorses really do look like dragons. The ones in the photo at the bottom (Leafy and Weedy Seadragons they are called) had such elaborate limbs, such incredibly ornamented bodies that they looked like living jewelry. I was just entranced watching them move. The photos really do not do these creatures justice. And I haven't even talked about the noisy blue penguins or the giant turtle feeding!
So I went back to the airport all wowed and agape and refreshed for my flight home. It was a weird way to spend Christmas Eve, but definitely magical in its own way.
Leafy and Weedy Seadragon