summer is nearly over. we have been trying to repair our pool and there is no swimming for now. it suffers from issues related to the installer we had problems with a couple years back. the factory is supplying us with new parts, but I am the labor or I hire labor. so we decided to get the most out of summer and take the kids for a fun trip to sea world...
fed the dolphins...
here is the current situation at sea world, it costs around $200 to get a family of five in the door, with discounts I found online. regular prices would be about $250. we got there before they opened so the kids could feed the dolphins. we left after 5 pm, over eight hours. we fed the dolphins, saw the shamu show and got TWO rides. the math is rather depressing, about $12.50 per event/ride and eight hours invested.
part of the problem is, some people paid extra for a wristband that allows them to bypass the whole waiting in line formality. so when we got to the log ride and the sign at the end of the line said "estimated wait time from this point is 45-55 minutes", that does not take into account the wristband people enjoying the water rides on this hot day over and over again.
hot, with heat index was 108. we stood in that log ride line for 45 minutes and were not even half way to the front. I was getting thirsty, REAL thirsty. #1 son was laying on the ground and had been asking to give up on this ride for over 30 minutes. see, we went to sea world a few years ago, waited nearly an hr in line for this same ride when a thunder clap shut it down. that was weather related so it was mostly our tough luck. kat had affirmed that this was the year, we were going to get on the log ride. it was around this time we were getting close enough to note that the line rarely advanced and when it did, it was often related to attrition; people getting out of line.
after waiting in line for one and a half hours we were finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. then the ride stopped. the log loading area slowly filled up with sea world employees of differing shirt colors, red, blue, light blue. they scratched their heads and sipped their waters, we all stared and thirsted. after about ten minutes some people started to demand an answer, "is this ride closed?". sea world employees avoided eye contact with the public, said nothing. we had been in line for two hours by this point. people started to get angry and finally one SW employee admitted, "yes". this resulted in more angry shouts from the people who had continued to stand in line hoping to still ride a log. they had let us all stand there for a good ten to fifteen minutes after they stopped to ride before telling us we might as well go elsewhere.
once again, we left the log ride without riding a log. I was severely dehydrated so we made a quick path to the nearest water vendor, where we stood in line. I was finally given the opportunity to buy two 16 oz water for $2.98 each! those bottles were drained within a few feet of the cashier.
we made our way towards the water park area where the daughter and my mom had opted to go instead of riding the logs. we found a line, much of which was in the sun and an estimated wait time of 1 hr to 45 mins. it was already after 5 pm and we figured that if we did wait in line to get in, it'd be time to leave right away. then we got to witness a bit of road rage/near fist fight upon leaving the seaworld parking lot. nice.
the positive side of things was that we loved staying at the hotel contessa, great restaurant with happy hour 4-7 seven days week! the tapas were extremely affordable with big portions. the kids loved the rooftop pool and they even had a movie on the big screen for the kids to watch saturday night.
kids eat free at the breakfast buffet, fresh squeezed orange juice included!
cork bar area at la contessa.
the tapas ranged from $2 to about $4, we paid about $8 for all that. feeds a small family!
really appreciated the happy hour prices on good imported beer at la frite.
loved hanging with the locals at the acapulco drive-in, $2 tall boys!
delicious appetizer at azuca nuevo latina
panderia at mi tierra
kat enjoyed a big bowl of menudo.
after we came home, we noted that we'd probably had more fun when we recently went swimming in wimberley and that was free and fewer thugs.
tech frustration, #1 son was so proud he'd applied a locking key code to his itouch. I explained that I didn't like that, he always forgets his passwords. later that day, he had locked himself out to the point that it quit accepting attempts. (came home and did a restore to get it unlocked)
while I'm on the subject of complications, we recently took the excursion to the dealer for an oil change and I complained about the poor MPG. they came back suggesting a few thousand dollars of work and charged me $90 for that diagnosis. I declined the repair and sought a second opinions. disclaimer, that 7.3 powerstroke engine is a complicated beast, I don't attempt to service or maintain it myself. the dealer USED to be an economical diesel repair place for us. so we finally took it to malone deiesel in dripping springs, a 40 minute drive. they charged us $45 for diagnostic time and found that the computer was going into "limp mode" because it was not getting enough oxygen, they found the air filter was so dirty it was being sucked into the engine. somehow we assumed the dealer would have known to check that. $35 air filter installed and our MPG is up 50%! they found no leak at the turbo...