Monday, October 24, 2011

Caught up in events beyond my control, as usual

I suppose dirty diapers or stomach upset fall into this category as well.  But I am really referring to several agenda items to canvas from my recent jaunt to Florida.  Plants will be mentioned, if only to maintain my claim to the subcategory “garden blog”.  (Really, I should just have done with it and call this a blog about nothing.)

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Firstly, a lifelong Alaskan doesn’t often look so sharp in 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  A partially melted ice cream sundae looks more put together.  I did my best by packing my newly acquired linen clothing (why do I need linen in Anchorage? It’s about 70F on a hot day) and channeling Katharine Hepburn. 

The effect, once the sun/heat hit me, was more “celebrities without their makeup”.  My bit of makeup seemed to pool up about chin level and drop in spatters onto the pavement, where I could have fried the proverbial egg.  That would have been more healthful than all the donuts consumed over the course of ten days of family reunion-ing.

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Secondly, I spent less time in lines that I had supposed.  The longest was about an hour.  The result of that wait: getting deluged to the point of actually ringing my skirt and shirt out upon exit.  However, the sodden underpants were more refreshing than an adult has any right to admit. 

This wet ride, Bluto’s Bilgewater (or something like that) at Universal Studios, was a true water ride. As in, you will be taking a lot of water home or down the path at least, and an hour later, will still be looking as if you wet your pants. (Sorry for all the commas in this post, I blame, jetlag.)  The water ride at Disneyworld a few days later was quite a letdown.  Only my right sleeve was soaking wet.  Just not good enough when one is melting like a pat of butter.

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Thirdly, I thought nothing could be more exciting than running with the reindeer, but Florida proved me wrong.  The sleepy little beach town of New Smyrna was an eye opener.  Not only was I caught up in my first pub crawl (quite perplexing for a teetotaler like myself) but about half of the crawlers were clad in red dresses.  Doesn’t sound so bad, and rather posh, but hairy chests bursting from scarlet satin are still rather rare in Alaska, so forgive the ignorance. 

Some of the men looked rather fetching in their frocks and were brave, too.  The tail end of a biker fest was being feted at the very same bars.  Can’t say I saw any of the Harley Davidson crowd in a red dress, but it must be rather difficult to mount a motorcycle in a miniskirt.  Me and my lot of squares just ate our yogurts (bacon flavor-who knew there was such a thing?) and watched the crowd, secretly expecting someone would be thrown through the front window of a bar before our eyes.

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Fourthly, (is that a word?) what’s with all the houseplants?  Types I beg and threaten in turns grow into the sidewalk cracks here with a jungle-like abandon.  The shopping malls in Florida even have better landscape fodder than the most blooming and lush specimens here in Alaska. (I didn’t see any dandelions.  There, that’s one thing we grow better!)  I freely admit it: I am jealous of all this botanical vigor.

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Fifthly, and lastly, a rundown of things I learned:

*wear sunscreen, stupid!

*do NOT eat at Pinocchio’s cafeteria two times in a row

*if wearing a skirt on a wild amusement park ride, use hands to hold down skirt unless you have a desire to flash everyone (I really am sorry about that!)

*try a frozen Butterbeer, after, I repeat, after you ride Harry Potter’s Forbidden Journey

*perfect the art of pulling out your swimsuit wedgies as quickly as possible, so as not to flash everyone, yet again (so sorry, but I know you water park life guards have seen worse) at the bottom of the breakneck speed waterslide

*I (still) do not fare so well on long plane rides.  Orlando to Seattle: sanity in question, Seattle to Anchorage: insane, but welcome home

I loved Florida so much I was almost pressed into buying a timeshare.  Too bad twelve airplane hours with my six-foot frame cramped and near starvation (you call those peanuts sustenance?!) are what separates us.  I think I’ll try the west coast for the next family vacation.  Or even better, maybe somewhere within driving distance…I’m turning into a travel grump.


Vacation tips? Places you love to visit?

*Blurry picture with a portion of the red dress pub crawlers includes my brother-in-law, who insisted upon posing with this group


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