Friday, April 11, 2008

Tour Guide Troll – Lines, Tigers, And Beers

On Saturday, we went back to Busch Gardens for the opening of Jungala. Except for tigers and orangutans, we didn’t really know what to expect, but I deduced from the name that Jungala would probably be lame and boring:

Jungala = Jungle + Gala -->

Gala = Boring Celebratory Gathering -->

Jungala = Boring Celebratory Jungle Gathering -->

Cancel repetative terms: Boring
Celebratory Jungle Gathering -->

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.

Apparently, Busch Gardens thought their new attraction was lame and boring too, because they were clearly not ready to handle the large crowd efficiently. There were only about two hundred people in front of us, but it took us thirty minutes to get inside. They had everyone going through a side entrance, the major delay being the obligatory We Check All Bags For Security Reasons Illusion. If you haven’t been to an American theme park in a while, ever since 911 all bags are “inspected” by “people” who really don’t “give a shit.” What they do is they poke and prod the contents of your bag with a plastic chopstick, though it must be a magical plastic chopstick because they don’t have to actually see what they’re poking and prodding, or even check all the pockets. Look, I’m all for reasonable security measures, but if it’s just for show anyway, I’d rather roll the dice and take my chances. You think a guy making minimum wage, armed with a chopstick and a toy security badge is gonna stop a terrorist with a suitcase nuke? Besides, if the terrorists can’t do any better than Busch Gardens, we’re probably overreacting. I’m tired of waiting in line so that the lowest common denominator can feel secure.

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:

Wait. Sorry.

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 Busch Gardens. Here are a couple of pics for you to go ga-ga over:

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.


blogless_troll said...

Whoops. I was editing the post because, as Pete astutely pointed out, I accidentally implied I had nursed a horse penis. I must've hit the wrong button because I ended up with 3 copies of the post as drafts and when I tried to delete them, I deleted the whole thing. Luckily I have a photographic memory. Ha.

Robin, Sarah, and Pete, thanks for your comments, I appreciate them, but I think they're lost forever.

If this ever happens again, people can think what they want about me and horses.

Sarah Laurenson said...

No sweat, BT. We are all learning about how this bugger works. Love ya, man!

Robin S. said...

Hey - I wondered what happened!

I can't recreate perfectly- but basically what I said was - I hoped and wished you'd use this voice as the narrator of a novel or figure out a way to do a national column - it would be a hit!

And I said, re: this...
...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...

that it sounds like your wife's grandpa either IS or IS RELATED TO my great-uncle named Skeeter, except you all are down in Florida and ole' Skeet lives in Western Kentucky.

Also loved the 'strollah' push through the crowd of inadvertent-Bozos.
Go, baby.

ChristineEldin said...

OMG, This is friggin hysterical!!!

Love this line (it's at the beginning, so you have to have a good memory) You think a guy making minimum wage, armed with a chopstick and a toy security badge is gonna stop a terrorist with a suitcase nuke?

That's so true!!!!

And the whole bit about you nursing a schlong was off the top! LOVE it!

Keep it coming!!!


pacatrue said...

The main question I have: is the word gala pronounced "geila" like a geisha, or "galla" like a gall-a? Or is it "gal-a" like, "hey, a gal-a-minute is enough for me."

Robin S. said...

You're so lucky your kids still don't mind being seen in public with you.

And then, there are the teenage years...

blogless_troll said...

Thanks, Chris.

Paca, I'm pretty sure it's gall-a. But don't quote me on that.

Robin, it's not so much they don't mind. It's they're too young to have a choice. Funny video.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Hey Paca - I'm pretty sure it depends on what part of the US you live in. Not sure what the official version is, but I've heard all of those you post in different parts of the country.

Can't speak for the rest of the world. Unfortunately, I've hardly set foot outside the US.

Ello said...

I was trolling your blog again (trolling) and realized I had somehow missed this post! Ah hAAAAAAAAAAAA! That's me laughing hysterically as I read it. Too funny. I'm gonna go read it again.