In all fairness, talking trees ARE scary

Recently, in an effort to expand my horizons and appreciate the subtler and more refined qualities of fine dining, I ate at a rainforest-themed tourist-trap family restaurant.  And, this was no accident, and neither was I roped into it as part of a nephew’s birthday or any other consequence of someone else’s tastes in venue.  I wanted to be there, and was actually quite excited to go to a place that I’d been wanting to see for awhile.

I even convinced an attractive young woman to join me, providing a street cred that I would have sorely missed eating by myself in a restaurant decorated with robot monkeys.

The whole place felt like a ride at Disneyland.  It’s not that it was packed with people (we were clever enough to go on a slow night), but just that it was very… thematically consistent.   Moss and bark covered the walls, vines drooped from the ceiling, and the path inside was clearly marked by the pastel footprints of some giant mutant frog monster.  The gift shop in the lobby had a talking tree.

(Actually, the talking tree kind of freaked me out a little)

The illusion was damaged only by the bright “exit” signs, and the pleading, tortured eyes of the pleasant fellow who took us to our table.  We sat under the steeply-angled trajectory of some sort of predatory parrot, who dangled from the ceiling like a murderous, feathery Christmas ornament.

To say that the restaurant was like Disneyland is no overstatement.  Animatronic apes twitched and grunted.  Elephants roared and flapped their giant goofy ears.  A listless panther rested above a waterfall that poured steaming (but, somehow cold when I checked) water past a giant metal Atlas holding a neon-decorated globe on his shoulders.  I’m sure the colourful (real) fish darting back and forth in their tanks had no idea that they weren’t in their native jungle habitat.  Honestly, it was all rather a lot to take in, although the bottle of wine before we left for the restaurant certainly helped.

By the time it arrived, the food was a bit of an anticlimax, although I’m not sure what could have possibly topped the decor.  It was standard theme-restaurant stuff, washed down with a sangria that really did seem like just a few pieces of fruit dropped into Hawaiian Punch.

I tried to pay with an expired credit card.  Smooooooth.  That’s how you impress a lady.  Although, I probably forfeited my chance to impress when I was visibly delighted at flapping animatronic elephant ears.

So, why am I describing this?  After all, my blog posts usually have either some hint of social commentary or are just a chance to vent about something stupid.

Well, first, it’s not every day that I get to go somewhere with animatronic animals in the company of a hot girl.  This seems worth bragging about.

(I actually managed the same thing for my most recent trips to both Chuck E. Cheese and Disneyland.  Damn, I’m a stud.)

Also, I realised that the last time I went so long without a blog post, I forever lost the chance to have an “October 2010” entry in my archives.  That omission will haunt me forever.  So, a post on the first of the month seemed like a good hedge against being so busy later that the archive gets another irreparable hole.

But, mostly, I just wanted to come out firmly in favour of silly, tourist-esque (somewhat drunken) fun.  Schlock is amusing, and being too snobby to try out new things is just denying yourself a cool experience.  I’m not exactly burning to go back any time soon, but it was definitely worth the experience, and I even briefly considered buying a t-shirt on my way out, until the unsettling robot tree started talking to me and scared me away from that corner of the gift shop.

How many people live in a city for years without doing things that tourists get to in the first two days?  Tourists go to tourist spots for a reason: it’s fun.  I’m perfectly willing to admit that it’s easier to go to a place with robot elephants if you’re confident that no one you know will see you (what I call the “porn store effect”), but, really, even if you do run into someone you know, that person is there too.  It’s like running into your high-school math teacher in an adult theatre — if you never bring it up, he’s sure as hell not going to mention it either.

(Not that, um, that happened.  Right, Mr. Terwilliger?)

So, do yourself a favour.  Put on some clothes that partly obscure your identity, and go visit some of the goofier attractions in your city.  You’ll have fun, you’ll know your home a bit better, and if nothing else you’ll have fodder for that blog you’ve been meaning to update.  Bonus points if you don’t run from the talking tree.

Explore posts in the same categories: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: