Friday, December 31, 2010

Vancouver Aquarium

Grumpy red fish

Having arrived in Vancouver last night after enduring various grumpy Air Canada staff, each apparently more aggrieved than the last (and all annoyed because the lemon-sucking woman on the check-in desk had stapled our tickets together), we got up slowly this morning and walked over from Gastown to the Aquarium.

Vancouver Aquarium is in Stanley Park, which is a change from most of the aquariums (aquaria?) that we've been to in the last year; although the National Museum of Marine Biology in Taiwan was in the middle of nowhere, only accessible via a bus driven by a betel-nut-chewing upskirt-staring loon, Seoul and Kuala Lumpur both think it's better to store large numbers of fish at the bottom of a shopping centre. I'd last been there back in 2005, and hadn't realised that between Christmas and New Year it might be full of people, rather than practically deserted.

Still, the crowds weren't an awful thing, as it was ferociously cold and they provided extra warmth to huddle against, while we watched the belugas being put through their paces or the dolphins leaping through the air.

The aquarium does feel smaller now that we've been spoiled by Taiwan and Malaysia though: although there's a large window into the beluga and dolphin tanks, there aren't the huge underwater tunnels we've got used to. The tropical areas aren't as great, but then I suppose that is ridiculous quibbling, given that we're in the Pacific Northwest rather than in south-east Asia. Plus there's sea-lions and better labels on exhibits than elsewhere (in some of the aquariums there's not much more to see than a label saying 'Fish' and I'm not sure that it is just a matter of a loss in translation).

It's also rather expensive if you're accustomed to Asian prices: 21 CAD for a single entry is rather a lot of money to pay to look at fish, even if you like fish as much as I do. Still, there are some frogs and some tropical birds to see too, so it's not as if you're being fleeced for fish alone.

If you were being fleeced to visit a museum of sheep shearing, well, that goes without saying.


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