Touristy day in Monterey Bay

Trip Start Sep 11, 2009
Trip End Oct 21, 2009

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Where I stayed
Veteran's Memorial Park Campground

Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, October 6, 2009

We got a pretty good nights sleep, no racoons harassed us. This park does get quite busy in the mornings, when the locals bring their kids to the playground or walk their dogs in the park.

We headed straight for the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The GPS woman directed us to the Aquarium's "official" carpark. As you know, one is not normally able to see the charges at a parking structure until it is too late, i.e. when you are already at the ticket machine, which is past the point of no return. I was horrified to see that parking was $1.50 per hour, up to a maximum charge of $18 per day. We’d planned to leave the car there and walk around the town after the Aquarium!!! We parked regardless... what else could we do? We were already in! As we walked out of the parking structure, we saw some open parking areas opposite the “official” parking structure, and they were charging only $5 flat rate for the day!!! So we decided to pay the hour charge and move the car to the $5 parking. Lucky us.... the person manning the ticket booth was not there, and we managed to get out of the extortionate parking structure for free!!!

Monterey Bay Aquarium is FANTASTIC!!! Their exhibits were really well presented. We enjoyed looking at the various fishes, jellyfishese, sea horses, eels, sharks, penguins etc. We even managed to catch the feeding session at the Kelp Forest, where the Aquarius hand-fed the fishes, including leopard sharks.

My favourite exhibit was the sea otters. We also managed to make it for their feeding session. They are so so so so so so very cute! The otters at the Aquarium are actually unreleasable back to the ocean due to reasons such as health and adaptability. As they will remain at the aquarium for the rest of their lives, they are actually trained as well during meal times, so that they are kept physically and mentally active, and they continue to use their inherent nature to get food.

Azrael’s favourite was the Great White Shark. We were very lucky to be able to see her, as Great Whites are not a permanent feature at the Aquarium. In fact, she only arrived at the Aquarium last month. She is just a little one, but still very impressive. She is only the 5th Great White to have been exhibited at the Aquarium, and I was surprised to learn that they actually went out and caught the shark themselves for the exhibit! We later attended a very interesting presentation about Project Great White Sharks, which informed us about the research they are undertaking to learn more about the sharks.

Apart from the Aquarium, there is not much else in Monterey, especially since it is still too cold to hang out at the beach. It is generally pretty warm in the sun, but the wind has an awful bite to it!

We took a walk along Cannery Row... not all that much to see except touristy shops and restaurants and continued along the coast to the Old Fisherman’s Wharf. The walk along the coast was very nice as we got to see sea lions and seals basking in the sun.

Fisherman’s Wharf was typically touristy, as expected. It is pretty much just a smaller scale of the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. But at least we got to see more sea lions here! AND, their clam chowder is also better than that in San Fran

We continued further and discovered a farmers market, so we went to check that out too. It is a shame that we can’t do much with fresh produce as all their vegetables looked so nice and fresh! There were also quite a few food stalls but nothing really caught our attention. We did however end up with a tub of hummus with cilantro (coriander) and jalapenos. YUMMMY!!!

We decided that we could not possibly walk all the way back to our car. Thankfully, there was a massive bus interchange near the market and we managed to find a bus to take us back to our car.

Dinner was once again instant noodles! We replenished our stock in San Fran, and suddenly realised that we are only camping for another week before we get back to LA, so we have to try to finish everything.
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