Saturday, 12 June 2010

4D - home experience packs

MP3 track of the day - Sunny afternoon - The Kinks

Weather: hot, very hot with a very strong sun (however I didn't need any sun cream ... maybe I'm used to the sun)

Today I decided to go to Vancouver's Aquarium, west Canada's most popular attraction. The aquarium is located in the middle of Stanley Park; stepping outside of my hostel the weather was beautiful, which was a slight problem as I thought the aquarium might be packed (being a Saturday) ... but with the weather so good maybe the Canadians might spend their time in the park instead.

I decided to walk along the harbour footpath as the walk is quite beautiful and I'll save money in regards to the bus fair. I also missed a few photo opportunities, along the harbour front yesterday, and so I wanted to get these done.

I stopped within the park to have a drink of water and a chocolate bar before entering the aquarium. Yet again I managed to blag the student rate (after the guy asked me what university I went to and a lectures name) which was great as it saved me $5.00. The aquarium itself was good; I saw beluga whales, dolphins, sharks, sea turtles, sea otters (brilliant) and a host of other things however I didn't think it was worth the full adult fair of $22.00 (£15.00). The aquarium was indeed packed ... packed full of children (shouting, crying, running and getting in my way!), where do they all come from?

I saw fish and reptiles from the tropic zone, the British Columbia coast and Canada's arctic. About halfway around there was a '4D cinema' ... '4D', never herd of that. The cinema's was showing a nature programme of some sort and the price was covered within my admission ticket. Just like Macaulay Culkin (in Home Alone) I decided to 'give it a whirl' .

Once sat down I found out three things; firstly '4D' referred to a '3D' film with additional special effects (more on that later), secondly the programme we would be watching was the 'Planet Earth - Shallow Shores' episode which I owned, and had seen, at home. Finally the third thing was that this was only a 15 minute showing and so the episode had been shortened to meet the North American peoples concentration span.

I was a bit gutted I had wasted my time to see something I owned at home; however, on the flip-side, I was proud to see a BBC documentary being viewed in a North American cinema and I was looking forward to seeing the animals in 3D.

Now the '4th D' were special effects to 'emerge the audience' into the film. They included a spray of water (done when a creature created a splash on the screen), bubbles when we were watching an underwater scene and, for some reason I still cannot understand, a poke in the back from the chair when a water snake came on the screen.

As you can imagine, having water sprayed into your face, bubbles floating around and being poked by what felt like a big stick was very off putting and the novelty soon wore off. However the North Americans loved it and even clapped at the end of the programme (I know comedy is terrible over here, but this is ridiculous).

I left the cinema, on the one had annoyed that I had wasted my time, and secondly with a great new idea. I called it the '4D home experience pack'; for $30.00 (£20.00 in real money) you get a big stick, a bottle of water hair dressers use and a bottle of bubbles and a blowing stick thing. The instructions are perfectly simple; sit down to watch your favourite film and get someone else to join you, who isn't bothered about seeing the film; it is there job to squirt water in your face, poke you with a stick and blow bubbles to obscure your view and bingo ... 'the 4th D experience, in your own home'.

Then I thought further; what if you don't have someone who could do the '4th D experience for you'? Well I solved this by adding the option of hiring a professional 'cretin' to do it for you. I could even create a new degree ...

Person one: "... so what degree do you have?..."

Person two: "... I got a first BA (Hons) degree in how to be utterly annoying whilst someone else is trying to watch a film..."

After this 'experience' I went outside to see the Dolphins and the Beluga whales before visiting the frog exhibition and heading out feeling the same feeling as I did when I visited Calgary Zoo. Should we really cage these animals up? Some signs were encouraging; they said that "... the specie in this tank is endangered and that the aquarium is delighted to inform you that the male and female had just given birth to a healthy set of fish. Hopefully once the numbers were back up some could be released back into the wild..."

However the cage for the Belugas wasn't that big and you still had idiotic people taking photos of anything and everything, mainly using there flash (which can't be nice for the animals). I didn't take any photos but if you want to see more about the aquarium, click here.

It was 1:30pm and lunch time as I left the aquarium. I did hope that the aquarium would be a little larger and that it would take me a little longer to look at everything. I found the hot dog stand I located yesterday and purchased 'the big one' (I had also brought some crisps and a bottle of water with me).

At 2pm I headed back into the city, again walking down the harbour path. This part of the city has grown on me and its very beautiful. It was 3pm when I arrived in the city centre and I hate that time; it's too late to really start anything new (as loads of stuff closes at 5pm) but it's too early to go back to the hostel.

I read my guidebook and decided to get some shopping and then head back to the hostel. As I went shopping I decided to do something I have been putting off ... I purchased an American Hershey's milk chocolate bar just to see what it tasted like. Allot of people have told me that Hershey's chocolate tastes vial; waaay to sweet with a horrible after taste. However the bar was okay; no way near as good as Cadburys or Nestle but eatable.

I'm back now and it's 6pm; I'm going to catch up on my uploading of photos, check out today's F1 qualifying and cook tea (bought another stew meal, same make as the ones I had in Jasper). Not bad on the cash front today, $47.00 spent.

Tomorrow I'm planning on going to Granville Island as there is supposed to be a market, then a walk along a couple of beaches and that's it. If the weathers good I may take my book with me to finish reading it either on the beach or in the park (though then I would have to post it home and buy another book ... more money). Hopefully if I get back in good time I may also be able to catch the Canadian F1 ... mum I hope you are recording all of the races?

Toodle Pip!

P.S. I emailed Seattle about a Baseball (rounders) game and it looks like I'm going to miss it as the only game soon is Friday night, and I fly to Alaska Friday afternoon ... nooooo. I really, really wanted to catch some American spot but I arrived too late for the ice hockey season and now I'll miss the rounders. When I'm about to travel home from Vancouver I might have to make a special trip to Seattle.

P.P.S. the World Cup has started. In Canada there are loads and loads of England shirts being worn and England flags flying ... I always liked the Canadians.


P.P.P.P.S. If you haven't seen the Planet Earth Series buy it (click here). It is a superb outlook on the wild life of our planet. The last disk is three, one hour debates about what is happening. Don't be put off by the talking it's worth it ... oh and remember, before watching it make sure you purchase your '4th D' home experience pack.

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