It was the day after New Year's, and we slept late again, and we woke excited to be trying another Indian buffet for lunch, "Tandoor" at Katella and Tustin. ($6.99 with coupon.)
As with Gandhi, we looked over the spread first. Still no pappadums. (And I still can't spell it.) But the rest was good, if a bit Westernized (?) compared to the other buffets, with less sauce, less bite to the sauces, and more chicken overall. Unfortunately, the paneer dish was mislabeled and - clutch throat - there was no paneer. NO PANEER. However, the rice was terrific as was the dal, and the nan was brought out fresh in a basket. (We went with garlic this time.) The pakora were down to the dregs, but I still made a tasty plate:
In addition to the gulab jamun, there were three other desserts, all good. Here's Mike, sitting by the sunny window, content:
I will be brief with what happened next. We went to the park through Disney Way, as we like to park at Timon. A sign warned that Disneyland was very busy today. Sure enough, Timon was full. But! We were not sent to the Mickey and Friends garage, which is usually the case. We were sent to Simba. As in, the parking to Downtown Disney. Parking I didn't even know existed until this trip. Simba, in addition to not offering a tram and makiing you walk through all of DD, was also almost full. We sat in the car a bit, in the back of the lot, before reversing and driving away.
Back in the room, I resumed Ender's Game while Mike looked at the brochures. Seal Beach? Maybe it's like Newport Beach, and they have tours to see seals?
This time we took the freeway (22) and were on Seal Beach Boulevard in under 20 minutes. Nice! Parking in the near-empty lot was three dollars. There didn't seem to be an attendant, but we paid it if only because I've always had a crush on selkie lore. Also, because we are honest, of course.
I don't seem to have put up any photos of the beach on Flickr. Suffice to say it is wide and flat, and it's easy to see why this was where Moses parted the Red Sea in the original DeMille's Ten Commandments. (Not the one with Charlton Heston.) Wait, here you can see it behind this obliging gull:
We kept to the pier, a tranquil walk that invited long moments of contemplation:
Like, "What is that boat? It's coming right at us!"
The boat pulled up next to a heretofore unseen side ramp and let off a few crew members for lunch. Very nice. At the end of the Seal Beach Pier is a Ruby's Diner. (Just like at the end of the Huntington Beach Pier, the Balboa Pier, and 43 other locations in nine states, including at the airport in Las Vegas.)
We stood silently for some time with the fishermen at the end of the pier. I was disappointed that Disneyland didn't pan out, but Plan B had its own merits.
In the distance, we gazed on Long Beach and considered the Queen Mary (out of frame, to the left) for a future trip.
By the way, Monica loves Jon.
As we drove away, we made sure to get the Photo That Must Be Taken (even if it involved pixelated digital zoom):
Then we drove down the coast on Highway 1, looking for the wildlife reserve. (Turns out that's on protected military land.) Then we kept saying we would head east to the freeway again any moment now. Then we passed through Huntington Beach again. Then we were in Costa Mesa, which was below the bottom of our not-to-scale map. Then, for a good 30 minutes to 30 hours, we remained in Costa Mesa, where we toured many exciting suburban streets that look straight but really twist around, always eventually taking you back to the west where the sun was so recently setting and providing at least some light.
Eventually we found Harbor, and eventually we ended up going in the right direction on Harbor, and eventually we ended back at Disneyland and in the Timon parking lot. Hooray!
This time we started in California Adventure, which felt almost vacant. The wait time for California Screamin'? 25 minutes. (Which was probably more like 15.) This was only my second time to be on the roller coaster and Mike's first time, so it was extra fun. It's a smooth and snazzy coaster, that's for sure, and seems to go for ages.
If there's a negative, it's that the "the theme of this part of the park is to have no theme and have it be like a boardwalk/carnival" is too well done. Walking up the railed queue, while authentic, is pretty boring compared to other Disney attractions. It also brings out the pushy-shovey in people, and it was all I could do not to twirl my hair and smack some imaginary gum to fit in. Maybe stick a big comb in my back pocket and French kiss Mike with extra knobby tongue.
Skipping away, we headed for the Maliboomer, the drop tower ride that, again, I'd only been on once and Mike not at all.
Alas, you can be tall and ride the Maliboomer, and you can be fat and ride the Maliboomer, but it's hard to be tall and fat and ride the Maliboomer - your gut may be too high for the shield to clamp down well. Above you see Mike's Face of Sadness after he had to leave the Maliboomer. (I joined him out of solidarity, which meant the cast members had to go back and release me, too, and of course that was fun. Luckily they had just opened up another tower so there were some delays anyway.)
But how happy we were when we saw that Grizzly River Rapids had a two minute wait. Yes, 120 seconds. Yes!
We walked right on (and again, second time for me, first for Mike) and had some lovely travel companions in the form of a mother and a daughter. They had ponchos. We didn't. It was still fun, cowering from the splashes and enjoying how much more variety this attraction seems to have compared to its semi-counterpart in Florida.
But then? At the end? The geyser that shoots up over you? That makes you part of the fountain? That must feel so wonderful on an August day? That's just meanness.
It was in the low 50s/high 40s that night. Hence the two minute wait.
We tried to take shelter in It's Tough to Be a Bug, but A Bug's Land closes early. (Kind of the way Fantasyland closes early. Kind of stupid.) We tried to curl up by the fire at the Grand Californian, but it was hootenany time. After much walking, soaked to the skin, jackets/hair/pants/name it, the chafing setting in, we plopped down at the Farmer's Market. I got comforting cheese sticks and put our jackets across the picnic table to dry, and Mike went back to the pier for Pizza Oom Mow Mow. Which was also closed. And the burger joint was run by McDonald's. Luckily, Disney portions are always generous, so it was cheese sticks for two.
We should've been in crabby moods, all wet and cold and stationary. Some people were - another wet group came by to rant about how Disney should have hot air blowers when you step out. But when they asked if I'd ever ride again, I said definitely, maybe even as soon as I was dry! It's a really fun ride and, hey, as the sign says, "You will get wet. You may get SOAKED!"
(Still, would it kill them to turn off the geyser at night during the winter?)
We tried to go on Tower of Terror, but it was shut for the night. Now it was nine, and despite what the tram operator said, the park didn't close at ten, but at the the same nine that, when I heard the tram operator say ten, I said, "but wait, didn't the guide say nine?" Let this be an lesson in the perils of self-doubt.
Still thinking the park closed at ten and that the ToT bellhops were just jerks, we went to the Snow White display in the animation building. Well, actually we went to see Turtle Talk with Crush, but it was closed, too. (How strange! ahem...) But we enjoyed the displays of the original cels and sketches for Snow White, marveling at the process of hand-drawn animation and layering cels and whatnot.
And then we were kicked out of that, too. In the main gate gift shop we looked to see if there were any dry, fleecy pullovers for under ten dollars, but oddly they were all $58. (Imagine!) We also covertly watched several seconds of the end of the Main Street Electrical Parade, knowing that gawking is only permitted in the established territories. Ha! That will show you to close the park on time!
Then it was back over to Disneyland for some walking around and, of course, a visit to the Enchanted Tiki Room, a.k.a. church. The castle looks beautiful with its winter icicle lighting. (It's in its final hours of display as I type.)
05 January 2008 | Permalink