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Circus Xtreme Columbia, SC - Happy Easter!








After Huntsville, Jameson and I decided to borrow Brett's car for a road trip to the next city. Brett needed someone to steal his car so his kids could ride the train, and we needed a mini vacation, so it worked out nicely :)

We drove two hours to Chattanooga and stayed the night at The Chattanoogan. We woke up nice and late, had breakfast at the hotel, and walked to the Tennessee Aquarium, playing Ingress all the way. Nerdy but fun! For April Fool's, Ingress was overtaken by Pac-Man :)



At the aquarium we were disappointed (but not surprised) to find that the "backstage tour" was all sold out. We got regular tickets and enjoyed the Ocean Journey display first. Jameson had brought his good camera, and I had my GoPro. We started with penguins.


We viewed the jellies, beautiful as always.



At the shark tank, we watched as two divers came down to inspect the tank and prepare for feeding time later in the day. They took a moment to talk to us about their work. The shark tank has enough water to fill an arena! And it houses 3500 fish, including the sharks! He told us that the sharks are very docile, and there has never been a shark attack at the aquarium. I was interested to learn that the salt water in the tank was man-made. I wonder how they get the pH levels right?


We also saw two octopi, one of whom was really active, zipping all over the place and being super hard to photograph. The other was hiding in a corner. But I got him :P


After that we headed up to where the macaws were hanging out, hoping to catch a scheduled feeding.


For whatever reason the presentation didn't happen, so we moved on to the butterfly room.
It was unfortunately crowded and the butterflies were shy to come out, but we caught this little guy basking in the sun.



We decided to take a break for lunch, and found Bluewater Grille. I had seared tuna and he had grouper picatta (looking at fish made us hungry for fish!!) and afterward we shared the dessert sampler: chocolate layer cake, key lime pie, and bread pudding. Yum!

We returned to the aquarium for the River Journey display. There were turtles and baby alligators in this tank. There was also a MASSIVE snapping turtle, but he was hiding and all you could see was his giant tail and part of his giant shell. Yeek! We took pictures of the little guys.



Downstairs there was a seahorse display, and we got some nice pics of them even though they were fairly shy.



We left around dinner time and drove to Athens for another night in a hotel. What a fun day trip! I always have a blast with Jameson :)


On Tuesday we had brunch at Mamma's Boy, and it was fantastic. If you're ever in Athens go check them out. We both had the Georgia peach french toast, and it was made from scratch and filled with real smashed peaches and topped with real whipped cream. Delicious!

(photo courtesy foodspotting.com)

Then we drove to Columbia, where we learned that the elephant walk would be held two hours early thanks to an early arrival. We did a little shopping--he needed new shoes, I wanted a new matress cover--then we drove to the stocks where animal crew was busy preparing to unload the animals. This yard had a lot of debris, so animal crew carefully swept and shovelled the ground so the elephants wouldn't step on anything sharp.


As we were waiting, Ryan came around with some glow sticks for us! Apparently this was some sort of PR thing since the walk was taking place at sunset. Neat.


The walk was very short. It went through part of USC's campus, and a bunch of college kids came out to ooh and aah at the elephants. Jameson took Brett's car and went ahead to the arena while I did the walk. He got some nice photos as we arrived.


Afterward we did a quick grocery run, then returned Brett's car and unpacked at the train. My matress pad is of course too big and hangs over the edge of my bed, but there's just no way I'm going to find one that fits exactly, so it will do. And anyway it's super comfy!

Wednesday was load in. I took the opportunity to go into town and get my hair cleaned up. After the haircut I just walked around, playing Ingress and enjoying the fine weather. Back at the arena I was surprised to receive a late birthday package from my sister Kayle containing an elephant t-shirt, coconut candle, and some tasty treats :) Thanks Kayle!!! Opening night went well, we had a large crowd.



Friday was a one-show day. I woke late and enjoyed a lazy afternoon, then walked to a nearby antique mall. Didn't find anything to pique my interest, but it was nice to walk around :)

Saturday was three shows, a normal day. Someone here has a friend who makes their own moonshine in a variety of flavors, and those of us who ordered from him last week got our delicious deliveries today. Mine is pineapple upside-down cake flavored!



On Sunday, I went to church.


Julia (clown) Chantal (production) and Richard and their son were there too. This was the church closest to the arena and it happened to be Methodist. It's been a long time since I could go to church on Easter Sunday. It made me really happy to sing these joyful hymns, and enjoy the gorgeous weather, and reflect on the meaning of this holiday.

Meanwhile, the traditional circus Easter Egg Hunt was taking place! Larena (clown) was the bunny this year!


(photo courtesy Cindy, pictured at right)

The elephants got some festive treats too. CLICK HERE to watch Siam opening her "Easter egg"...by smashing it :P It was filled with bread, bananas, and other tasty treats. Video courtesy Adria.

After our Sunday show everyone got right to work loading out. The next city is Norfolk, and everyone is looking forward to more warm weather and another beautiful downtown area :)


Other stuff:


A photo from Blue Unit's Easter Egg Hunt. Looks like fun!


Our home arriving in Columbia. No cuts were made, so we were able to go home shortly after this photo.


The camels' sweet digs. Choice of indoor or outdoor seating!

(photo courtesy Robert)

Cody (left) and Colonel (right) enjoying each others' company!
apr5-2015-12.jpg
(photo courtesy Robert)