Qingdao's Polar Ocean World

The week before we left for Thailand I joined two of my favorite momma friends on a trip to the local Polar Ocean World. In Qingdao we have two fun Sea World type places, but on a much, much smaller scale. (Polar Ocean World and Underwater World) Both have been on our to do list but we have yet to make it to either. I was super excited when I was invited along to check one of them out with Jessica and Amber! For 45 yuan, around $7, we saw some beauties of the sea and a dolphin show. Qingdaoren and Qingdao visitors, I have heard that it normally costs 180 yuan ($30). If you go on a day that it is 180 and you don't have children I would say it's not worth it. But if you go on a discount day, I highly recommend it. We had a great time, it wasn't too crowded and it was relaxing to watch all of the sea life. 
My favorite part of the time was watching these two play. They were swimming around enthusiastically, looking at us and playing constantly. 
Look at the one going in for a bite. Naughty, Naughty. 
Being a flirt. 
They seemed to really like the attention.
Next up were the super fat and whiskery seals. They were awesome. Just floating around, looking all old man like. 
I felt seriously depressed for this small pack of polar wolves. They had the smallest of small areas to live in and they just ran in a circle. Constant circle. Pacing back and forth dying of zoo boredom.
The water animals had a much larger, more interesting place to live. I guess compared to the ocean it's pretty bleak but overall they seemed happy. 
They seals loved performing for their fish snacks. The trainers and feeders all looked like they enjoyed their work and seemed to treat the animals with respect.
In this tank the fish were seriously ginormous. I felt like I was looking at Giant Land from Super Nintendo. This fish was probably the size of Chara. Huge.
Ya. This guy make look like your average fish but he was a giant. A giant version of the fish tank ones we get at home. Like he size of a cat or something. I mean, really. Are the majority of the fish we see in the fish tanks just being stunted by their tanks?! In the ocean are they actually giants?!
Look at how big those angel fish are. Those sea turtles are quite large. The angel fish were probably the size of a dinner plate.
The size of a car. Okay. Not really. But the size of a toddler at least. 
And we're back to the regular sized land. 
Anemones and coral are just awesome aren't they? 
I will eat your face off. 
Check out all of those teeth. Can you imagine not one, but two sets of those teeth going into you?! 
A kid really excitedly and completely realistically riding a dolphin, with a helmet on. 
Marrick with his fedora, waiting for the show to begin. 
We were impressed with the show. It was nothing too crazy but I always think it's cool watching people interact with these animals, to see how clever they are, and dolphins jumping. I just like that sort of thing. :) I also like to imagine how cool it would be to have their jobs. 
Overall we had a great time at Polar Ocean World! Zachary didn't get to go so I'm hoping to take him there and force him to watch those belugas for an hour or so with me. They were just so enchanting. :) 
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Chao Phraya River Khlong Tour

If you ever find yourself in Bangkok we highly recommend doing a Khlong (canal) Tour (over the floating markets, for sure) off the Chao Phraya River. On our first day in Bangkok, we set off to the pier that was 5 minutes from our hotel (Ibis Hotel guys.. just do it) to take the public transportation boat across the river and down to the Grand Palace. But, oh don't you know, at the pier they had Canal tours to offer. Be forewarned Traveller there are literally a gajillion things to do in Thailand, and there will be no shortage of people making sure you know ALL the opportunities to you. 
Lucky for us, we just so happened to have "Canal Tour" on our list, so we were super happy to oblige the eager lady wanting to sell us a long boat. She started at 1200 baht and we talked her down to 850 baht and I think it could probably go lower but she wouldn't budge that day. So for $25 we took an hour Canal Tour and then were dropped off near the Grand Palace. 
We loved being the only ones on the boat. It was relaxing and the weather was perfect. I absolutely loved looking at all the houses built on the canals and spent most of my time daydreaming what it would be like to live there and of course, move to Thailand. It was just so peaceful! There were tons of people outside on their little "balconies" sleeping, reading the newspaper or playing checkers. Many still eagerly & so very joyfully waved at us. You'd think they'd get sick of their backyard being a tourist playground, but they were so sweet. I guess it would be hard to get worked up in such a peaceful setting. 
Though this is a popular tourist activity we didn't see too many other boats. We were never bothered or distracted by other long tail boat tours which was so nice compared to tourist attractions in China. Things are usually filled to the max, to where you can't even enjoy what you're doing. 
These little ladies were the "floating market" of the khlong. Ha. We saw on a map that there was a "floating market." We were bummed when we got to our drop off point and never saw a big bustling floating market. We asked our driver and he said, "Ya. We go. The ladies. You buy beer." Oh. Right. You mean the 3 lady market. Okay. Got it.
I have to admit it was pretty cool having someone boat up to you. She had tons of little trinkets and souvenirs to buy as well as cold drinks. Despite the 100 baht each price tag, I convinced Z we buy three beers. 2 for us, and upon this little clever money maker above, one for our driver, which we thought was a pretty nice idea. 
Our driver chose Leo so we chose Leo. I figured he'd know best. If I knew something about beer I might tell you how it tasted here but I don't know anything. So I will just say, it tasted good. 

The long tail boat tour was a great way to start our first day in Thailand! We recommend staying on the River as you can get to most tourist attractions via the river. You avoid traffic, it's super cheap (regular city boat fair is less than 10 baht), safe & a fun new way to experience traveling through a city.  If you're interested in a long tail boat tour there should be boats available at most major piers. 
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