Good Friday continued...
At 3 o'clock I was done for the day. I went to my room to grab my laptop for some writing. When I opened the door I found Matthew sitting on the edge of his bed, checking his phone. He was done for the day too. Before I could grab my laptop, my phone rang. It was Yollana and she wanted me to come to the front of the cafe so she could ask me something.
I walked to the front of the cafe and found Yollana and Uzi sitting at a table. Leila was on Uzi's lap and they looked as if they had all been discussing something. I took the remaining empty seat and asked what was happening.
“Leila was just wanting to go to Seal Bay. I wondered if you might be interested in going too since you haven't seen it yet.” I wasn't dieing to go to Seal Bay but I figured I would go for the sake of Leila. I looked at Leila and she looked bored with the conversation, put off even.
“Sure, I can do that, except I can't drive so someone else would have to take us.”
“Oh yes, that's fine. Matt can drive you. He wants to go too.” She went on to explain that she even had a company card that we could use to cover the entrance fees. I nodded my head and went back to the room to find Matthew. The way Yollana said it, I figured she had previously talked to Matthew about the arrangement.
“I guess we are going to Seal Bay?” Matthew looked confused so I explained the conversation I had just had with Yollana. Matthew, like me, shrugged his shoulders and said he didn't mind taking Leila.
Within a matter of minutes Matthew, Leila and myself were all in the Festa heading for Seal Bay. I sort of felt like it was a taste of motherhood. Leila was in the backseat and Matthew and I took turns getting on to her about this and that. She kicked the seats, pulled my hair and asked a million questions about where we were going, despite the fact that it was only a ten minute drive. Each time I had to tell her to sit in her seat, stop punching me or act right, she would listen for a few seconds before moving on to another prank. Leila finally understood our authority when she kicked the back of Matthew's chair a little too hard.
Matthew pulled the car over and turned around to speak to Leila. I was careful not to let a grin cross my face even though I was having major flashbacks to my father doing the same thing with me as a child. How funny it was that Matthew and I were playing the same games with some Australian girl we had just met.
Matthew sternly told Leila not to ever mess with someone while they are driving. He then told her she could either straighten up and act nice or she was going to go back to the house and sit by herself. Leila tried to be funny at first but I think Matthew's severity eventually got hold of her and so she sat quietly with her arms crossed and face skewed. She wasn't happy but she also knew she wasn't in control.
The remaining three minutes of the drive were quiet and enjoyable. When we arrived at our destination I asked Leila if she was excited. She said no because she had already seen the seals several times. I thought that was odd considering what Yollana had shared with me but I disregarded it as a misconception.
Seal Bay had two options: a guided tour or a boardwalk. The boardwalk was $16 or so and the guided tour was $30. Since our trip was paid for we decided to go for the guided tour. The lady at the front desk told us the guided tour included a walk on the boardwalk as well. We orderd three passes and the lady directed us to a big glass door behind her. She said the tour would start in two minutes. When she finished her sentence I looked down to give instructions to Leila but she was gone. I looked around and found her across the room, looking at some seal skins. I crossed the room to where she was standing.
“Leila we need to go stand by the doors, our tour is about to start.”
“Look at this!” I looked at the fur in her hand and verbally admired it. It was pretty neat but I also saw the group of people at the door going outside. That was our tour.
“That's cool but let's look at it afterwards. Our tour is starting.” Leila was making it obvious that she didn't care what I said or asked her to do. “Leila, let's go!” I grabbed her wrist and pulled her toward the door. I could see Matthew waiting behind the rest of the group with an irritated face in our direction.
“Leila, get over here!” Matthew called from where he was at. Once again Leila crossed her arms and put her bottom lip out as she drug her feet over to the glass doors.
With an exhale of either relief or exhaustion I joined the rest of the group in time to hear the end of the tour guides introduction. She looked at Matthew, Leila and I and asked if we were ready to see the seals. I smiled and nodded and with that we were off towards the beach.
Seal Bay was and wasn't what I thought it was. It was definitely a beach covered with lazy seals but it was also really interesting and it didn't stink. The tour guide instructed us to follow her lead and to never get closer to the seals than she was. She explained that sea lions were actually really fast runners and if they were to get irritated they could easily run across the sand and put 400 kilos of force on a single human body. I didn't want that so I decided to take the tour guide's advice.
As we walked along the beach we stayed about six meters from the seals. I was really excited that we were allowed to be so close to them. I made sure I got a really good look at the creatures in front of me. They were huge, really but kind of cute. The tour guide explained that these were a certain type of sea lion, which was a certain type of seal. She said they were called sea lions because the older males developed a yellowish mane around their heads, similar to the mane of a lion. She explained that we could distinguish between the males and females by the size and shape of the sea lions.
As I gazed at the sea lions I couldn't help but get a kick out of what my brain was doing. It was making a very obvious connection between the sea lions and Minnie, my parent's basset hound back home. Both animals were fat, lazy and long-bodied. I watched the lions laying in the sand. The most activity they did was stand up, stretch their neck way back and then waddle around to another spot where they would lay back down and close their eyes. This was the exact routine of our family dog. She too enjoyed laying in the sun, sleeping and stretching her long neck. Minnie was also pretty tubby and she waddled the same way the sea lions did.
I tuned back in to the tour guide and heard her say that the animals slept so much because they had just finished their five day journey of hunting for food. Apparently the males go hunting for food for seven days at a time. They swim out to the middle of the ocean and dive up to 245 meters deep repeatedly; catching fish, crabs, and even octopus for food. When they are done they swim back to shore where they mate. They then spend the rest of their time sleeping to both regain and store up their energy for the next quest.
I was so intrigued by both the animals and the tour guide's facts. I looked down to see if Leila was enjoying it as much as I was. To my surprise she was sitting in the sand, looking at her feet. I knelt down and asked her what she thought about the seals and she mumbled something half-heartedly. I stood back up and took a few pictures. Matthew was asking the guide about the behavior of the seals. There was a couple of males about fifty meters in front of us who were barking and hitting each other's necks. We all watched in horror as we wondered if they were going to fight each other. The tour guide laughed and said these were teenage boys wrestling just like human teenage boys. We then saw one of the bigger males walk over to another large male. He barked loudly. The second male was sleeping soundly and didn't seem to even notice the angry bark in his ear. This went on for a bit before one of the females walked over to the loudly barking male and whacked him in the neck with her own neck. The tour guide laughed and said that was the female's way of telling the male to shut up and sit down. To my surprise, it worked.
After fifteen minutes of viewing and listening, the tour came to an end. Our guide had been excellent and had even answered lots of extra questions because our group was small and it was the last tour of the day.
When we got back to the shop area everything was locked up and the lights were off. Leila ran over to the clothes and pulled down a shirt she had been talking about since we left the hostel. Uzi had given her a fifty dollar bill and told me to only let her spend it if the shirt was under thirty dollars. I walked over to Leila and asked if that was the shirt she had wanted and she said it was. I then told her she needed to get the right size and I helped her sift through the shirts until she found a size ten. The price tag said twenty-nine dollars and I didn't want another fight so I followed Leila up to the cash register.
When Leila placed the shirt on the counter the teenage girl behind it looked panicked. She looked to her left at a middle aged woman and asked her what she should do. I looked confused at her reaction but then heard the middle aged woman say they had already put away the cash box. They both turned to me and asked if we were going to use cash or charge. I said cash and they looked towards a young man walking towards the back door.
“Hey, Adrian, bring back that cash box, right quick!” The man turned around and handed the woman a box. Leila handed the woman her fifty dollar bill and the lady counted out change. I told her not to worry about a receipt and thanked her for her extra effort, though I didn't think it was proper to close a business while there were still tourists on the property. The staff around me didn't seem to think it was an issue so I kept my mouth shut.
With Leila happy, Matthew and I hoped the ride home would be a simple one. We were wrong. Once in the car and buckled Leila started calling me a witch.
“Your nose is so big! You're a witch, you're a witch, you're a witch!” She was singing her own tune using these lyrics.
“Leila, it isn't nice to call people that.” I looked her in the eyes, hoping she'd relent.
“But your nose is huge! It's so ugly!”
“Thanks, Leila. I didn't already have a complex about that.” I tried to shrug her off so she would stop.
“Haley's a witch..Haley's a witch..” she continued her chanting with a rotten smile on her face.
“Leila! Did it ever occur to you that you might want to be nice to us? Did you ever think that maybe Haley and I are being nice by letting you come with us? We don't have to take you places. In fact, if you continue to be rude to us we probably won't take you anywhere else. You can stay home and not go anywhere.” Matthew was using his stern voice again and Leila realized it as quickly as I had. I was grateful and Leila stopped her chanting.