Vacation (Part Two)ANIMAL KINGDOM
"Chicken nuggets were not the original nuggets," Gloria said to Eli, while we were trying to explain the origin of "Denver Nuggets." He didn't know they were talking about gold nuggets.
We rode a roller coaster called "Expedition Everest," which was quite a sight from a distance. This sight, actually:
We saw a sign as we got off Everest that said CHILD SWAP. "Hey, do you want to see what's available?" I asked Gloria.
"Hey!" Eli said.
Eli's been walking around singing "I'm just an orphenated boy," which never fails to make me start laughing (that's a highly broken version of a Miley Cyrus song).
I've always wanted to have a picture album that's nothing but pictures of other people taking pictures.
We stopped at one point and got Eli a Sprite. "Dad, there's a bug in my drink," he said.
"It's a small bug," I said. "Drink it down, baby!"
We went on a "safari ride", and at one point, the narrator said "This is the wild Africa we're trying so hard to protect." Only wild Africa was nowhere in sight.
"Little white bird," I said.
"Squirrel," Eli said.
Later on the safari ride, we drove past a rhinocerous who was standing motionless. "Their feet are actually glued to pedestals," I said. "Not many people know that."
We stopped at a drink stand and the vendor was a very witty older woman. At one point, Eli said something about getting run over by an elephant. "Oh, I hope not," she said. "I'd hate to have to call the offal truck."
I wore a shirt that was captioned "the evolution of man," and featured a series of images that progressed from ape to video game player. A clerk at a gift shop complimented me on the shirt, and as I had been hoping to ask a Disney employee a question about the dual joyful/soulless nature of their job, I figured this was a good time.
"So, what's your favorite thing to do in this park?" I asked.
"I really don't hang out in the park," he said. "After I'm here all day, I really want to go home."
"So is it strange working here?" I asked. "I mean, this is a distillation of something real, but it's also incredibly sanitized. Is it a surreal feeling to work here?"
"It is, it really is," he said. "I found out that so much of this is manufactured happiness."
"I bet you get a ton of training in that," I said.
"We do, and it's very specific," he said. "It's so specific that it's a little unnerving."