Me and Chairman Mao
  Something's fishy ...
Actually, lots of things were fishy. Pretty much everything, as a matter of fact, although a few things were mammaly, reptiliany, or ... insecty, I guess. Why? Because, we were at the ...

Yes, it's a lame intro, but other than making jokes about Aquaman's sexual orientation--that cleft chin, the finely-coifed golden locks, you know what I'm talking about--I couldn’t think of anything else. Whatever--the point is that recently I have been to the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium not once, but twice. At no time during either trip did I figure out why they call it an "Ocean" aquarium, since it's next to a river and has lots of animals that would actually die if put in the ocean, but you say salt water, I say freshwater, etc. etc. etc.

I must confess that, before going, I was a little skeptical about how worthwhile it would be. In fact, I was worried it would be awful, mostly because of some of the things I have seen in terms of animal treatment around here--like, for example, a puppy in a garbage can. (Seriously.) In fact, I half expected the entire aquarium to consist of a few algae-covered fish tanks filled with fish from the river, possibly with some kids either a) trying to grab said fish or b) throwing candy or some shit into the tank, along with maybe a few seals chained to a rock in front of a green, plastic pool in the shape of a turtle that was half-filled with dirty brown water.

Turns out, for the second time in my life--the first time was in the late mid-nineties, when I should have had the chicken--I was wrong: the aquarium was actually very cool. I know, I was surprised, too. It was actually the coolest aquarium I have ever been to. And sure, I've only been to two other aquariums in my life, but it's always nice to be the best. Why was it so cool? Several reasons, the biggest of which were the sharks. Because, let's face it, as long as they are safely behind glass--and even then, it's best if they aren't genetically-mutated super-smart sharks, like in that shitty Samuel L. Jackson movie--and not either trying to munch or actively munching on one of your limbs, sharks are cool.

But besides the sharks, there were a lot of other things that made it cool. Like, for example, a bunch of really big fish tanks full of a bunch of cool fish, like devil rays:

(Side note: Sadly, a lot of the photos aren't that great. Turns out, taking pictures of moving fish in a dark, indoor area is not exactly an ideal photographic environment. Who would have thought?)

It's hard to tell how big the tank is, so I took this picture with my sister in it, who's around 5' 5" or so (that's 1.65 meters or so for some of you):

Here's another big tank, this time with seals in it, none of which were chained to anything or flopping around in dirty, turtle-shaped pools, thankfully. It's completely blurry--seals swim pretty fast, as it turns out--but I think it's cool, and it's my blog, so here it is:

More big tanks:

A big tank full of electric eels. Note that they are not shrieking eels--those are usually found closer to Guilder than Shanghai and they always grow louder when they are about to feed on human flesh--although the resemblance is uncanny:

This was another cool thing: a voltameter that let you keep track of when the eels were ... electrifying, I guess? Anyway, it would flash red and make a chirping sound whenever it detected electricity, which was pretty neat:

Another cool thing--open tanks. Cool because in America, a country that, let's face, has roughly 96.8 percent more lawyers than it needs, no aquarium would ever have this. Some bad parent would let their stupid kid jump into the tank and get an eye infection or something equally meaningless, and the lawsuits would start flying because the aquarium staff did not prevent aforementioned stupid kid from jumping, despite the fact that this should be aforementioned bad parent's responsibility. But maybe that's just me. Anyway, that's one good thing about China--more of a sense of personal responsibility, which is refreshing. Sort of like jumping into this tank would be on a hot day ...

Another open tank. In the background, you can see a crocodile. Or maybe an alligator--I'm not sure which, and I didn't feel like getting close enough to figure it out:

Yet another cool thing: tunnels!

Still more coolness--an escalator that is surrounded by a pool/tank. (Note to self: find synonym for "cool.") Sadly, the swan or whatever it is would not cooperate with my picture-taking by pulling its head out of its ass (well, ass area), but still--pretty KEEN, don't you think? (Thank you, Merriam-Webster's thesaurus!)

Of course, the fish were pretty SWELL too:

Kissing fish!

Big-ass fish! These are Arapaima, which are apparently the biggest fresh-water fish in the world. They can be almost 10 feet long and weigh over 500 pounds. Like I said, big-ass fish:

Big-ass fish with normal-to-smallish ass diver:

A saw fish. GROOVY!


March? What march? How come no one told us?

Horseshoe crabs. Is it just me, or are these things freaky? They remind me of the aliens in the Alien movies, which--for the record--are MARVELOUS movies:

Possibly the ugliest animal ever. Ye gods:

Really big swimming cockroach like things. We were talking about how gross it would be to get dumped into a tank of these things, although--while I obviously wouldn't enjoy it--I think you could get dumped into a tank with worse things:

Like, say, these spider crabs. They're big AND look like spiders--so basically, being in the tank with them would be like being surrounded by spiders that have legs that are two-feet long. I mean, it would be better than being in a cave with Shelob, but not much better ...

And now, the big finale--it's actually the last thing in the aquarium---the sharks. Which, of course, is what makes the museum so DANDY:

As with some of the other sections, you are actually in tunnel in the shark-part of the aquarium, so they are swimming all around you:

(Side note: If you pay enough you can, apparently, swim with the sharks. Feel free to make your own joke about the "price" and "arms and/or legs" now.)

Sharks need braces, too, apparently:

Sharks! Sharks! Sharks! Sheila shark saw Sally selling sea shells by the sea shore and snacked silently on Sally but spit out Sally's sea shells onto the sea shore. Would you believe I just made that up?

Q. Two Feet.
A. What is "As close as ever want to get to a live shark."

And that, my friends, is the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium. Pretty HUNKY-DORY, don't you think? In fact, you might even say it's DIVINE, although just saying it's cool is, well, you know ... cooler.

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