The Witless Clunkery of a Third-Rate Mind

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Date To Hell

Last weekend, I had a date. (I can barely believe it myself!) I won't go into too much detail but suffice it to say it's someone that I first met when I was living in Nagasaki. I've known her for something like 5 years, but I haven't been living anywhere near her until lately, so we finally had a chance to meet again on Saturday.

We had a great time! First, we went up to see the most famous of Beppu's "Hells". These are places where thermal vents open directly in the ground, and produce some bizarre and various effects. There are 8 famous Hells (some of them bubbling mud pools, for example) and others have different colours depending on the chemicals in the surrounding rocks, and so on. The Hell we went to was called "The Sea Hell" because of its blue colour. It was really impressive, with massive amounts of stinky, sulfurous steam hissing out of the ground. Apparently, the water in the pool itself is something like 98 degrees Celsius. You wouldn't want to fall in.

The Sea Hell has a very nice park around it, as well as a greenhouse which I imagine is heated geothermally in the winter. There were some beautiful flowers in there of all inscrutable varieties, but I liked these lillies the best. Supposedly, they have a variety of lilly-pad that grows so large that a small child can stand on it. (There were some that looked like they were already two feet in diameter.) So, in August, they have some event where you bring your kids and get their pictures taken standing on the lilly-pads.

After visiting Hell, we went to the local aquarium. Beppu is a cool place because it's a tourist town. It's quite small, population-wise, but it has a disproportionate number of tourist attractions, including a safari park, an amusement park with roller coasters and rides, two viewing towers, a ropeway to the mountain-top, and the aforementioned aquarium. So far, I've only seen the aquarium.

I really can't remember the last time I went to an aquarium, so this was actually a pretty cool trip for me. I felt like a kid again, especially seeing the large mammals. You can't really appreciate just how enormous a walrus is until one is swimming two inches away on the other side of a piece of glass.

Or a huge, 300-pound grouper.

Or an enormous sea-lion. I was reminded of the fact that they mostly used sea-lion noises for Chewbacca in Star Wars when I saw this guy. Apparently, sea-lions spend most of their time trying to intimidate each other.

What visit to the aquarium would be complete without leaping dolphins?

Anyway, it was a great day. The only downside was that I got a bald-head sunburn. I have to get used to the fact that I am going bald, and start wearing a hat whenever I go outside. Sigh. Somebody should make a special spray-on sunscreen specifically for people who have some hair on the heads, but not enough... Or better yet, a pill that safely and reliably grows hair.


At 9:34 PM, Blogger Zambo said...

Hey buddy!

Sorry I haven't checked this site in a while...

Seems like a great day out! Despite the head burn...

Take care out there!

Your Pal,



Post a Comment

<< Home