I have seen a real live manatee.

Oh my god, I want to kiss their big wodgy snouts. And they’re so TRAGIC! One was missing a flipper, and the other had been savaged by a boat propeller–the one-flippered one was suffering cold stress and was due to be released when he’s fattened up a bit, but they didn’t think the big one would be releasable, since his tail was shredded. I got choked up. Granted, I had champagne for lunch. Good coral reef exhibit too, great seahorse tank, and there were little horseshoe crabs booking across the sand. They’re awesome!

Then we caught a dolphin training exercise and ate our way across the faux world, a small snack at a time. I bought T-shirts and drank random cocktails. It was a lot of fun. And the Polish cart made something called a Chopin raspberry chiller which tasted like a raspberry smoothie and left me staggering. Into an Oaxacan carving exhibit that left me gibbering. (I have a VERY small Oaxacan carving collection–all of two specimens–and I do not have the budget or the cat-and-crisis-free zone to collect them seriously, but god, I love them! I gushed drunkenly at one of the painters, who I don’t think spoke English well enough to quite understand what "I’m so sorry! I’m not sober enough to tell you eloquently enough how much I love these!" meant. Actually, I’m not sure *I* speak English well enough…) They had this one of a deer with cactus antlers. I must paint cactalopes. Eee!

Also, I am extremely sunburned. I never think of sunscreen. Then I discover that I have epic cleavage burn, with a lovely slash of white diagonally across where the strap of my messenger bag fell. But this is as nothing, because I have seen the Manatee!

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