On Saturday, we went back to
Jungala = Jungle + Gala -->
Gala = Boring Celebratory Gathering -->
Jungala = Boring Celebratory Jungle Gathering -->
Cancel repetative terms: Boring
Jungala = Boring Jungle
Because of this, and because our annual passes got us in the door an hour before the park opened, we arrived in Tampa at 7:30AM banking on the theory that who the fuck else was gonna wake up early on a Saturday for something so obviously lame and boring?
Answer: 2,500 other brilliant strategists.
I know it already sounds like I had a miserable time, but I’m actually capable of having fun while being completely annoyed. So don’t cry for me. Plus, Jungala wasn’t lame and boring after all.
Here’s a group of rude people blocking foot traffic for the sake of conducting their petty conversation. To protect their privacy, I’ve altered their appearance (but not much).
Tour Guide Troll Tip Of The Day: The best way to deal with people like this is to plow right through the middle of them, preferably with a stroller, and subtly offer suggestions as to how they can improve their behavior, like, “Hey, assholes! Let’s move the convention to the side of the road!” It’s the only way they’ll learn.
All right. Enough about the animals. Let’s see some wildlife. Here’s a random monkey:
This picture was taken from the top of the three story tree-top canopy playland, which is completely enclosed with nets so little kids don’t plummet to their death. I don’t speak monkey, but if I did, here’s what our conversation would’ve been:
“You’re in the cage.”
“No way, dude. You’re in the cage.”
“No, you’re in the cage.”
“No, you’re—hey, you got any bananas?”
I love bananas. Anyway, the orangutans were hiding, so I didn’t get any pics of them. But just imagine this guy with longer hair.
The tigers, however, were out in force.
It’s hard to tell from this photo, but the tigers were really agitated. Lots of pacing and snarling and swatting of paws. I think I saw a couple of them roll their eyes too. It was like they’d spent the last nine months in relative peace and quiet, and then all of a sudden a buncha humans showed up pointing cameras in their faces. Imagine you’re a celebrity and you’ve built this new house, and just when you’ve settled in, the paparazzi appear at every window and won’t leave you alone. Except it’s worse than that because the tigers can’t exploit themselves with a lucrative tell-all book deal after long bouts of drug and alcohol abuse.
The tiger enclosure was actually pretty cool and elaborate, all kinds of unique ways to get up close and personal without having your face flayed off. During the planning phase of Jungala, Busch Gardens conducted a series of focus group meetings with people who'd been to the park, and what they discovered was that tourists, more than anything else, wanted to see some tiger genitalia:
There was more to Jungala (I think), but about this time the rest of the park opened and there were roller coasters that needed riding.
Also, we totally missed it last time, but they have a baby gorilla at
Well that’s about it. Oh wait, the beers. On the way home we stopped and visited my wife's grandparents, who live close enough that we get to see them every so often, yet far enough away that we only have to see them every so often. Within five minutes of our arrival Grandpa offered me a beer, which, in retrospect, I should’ve regarded with a little more skepticism, but hey, free beer. I'm often amazed at how the human mind works, how various stimuli will trigger obscure memories of traumatic experiences long buried and forgotten. For instance, the taste of skunky horse piss on my tongue caused me to recall that this was the same crappy microbrew Grandpa tried to pawn off on me during our last visit, eight friggin months ago. And the only reason he had it in the first place was because his daughter stuck him with it when she visited, sometime in 2006. And pouring the shit down the drain never occurred to him because he lived through the Great Depression. I know I exaggerate at times, but this stuff really was horse piss. I mean, the label didn't even have any words, just a stylized etching of Mr. Ed's schlong. I nursed the "beer" for a full hour before vomiting in a plastic fichus tree, at which point Grandpa offered me another one. This is only important because it’s the first time in my life I’ve ever refused beer simply on principle. The things we do for family.