Lesson 24: Wish you were here – a postcard from Florida

Dear readers,

Hope you’re all doing well. I’m currently lying on the sofa, trying to enjoy my final day of my spring holiday. Unfortunately jet-lag combined with dehydration (2 hours doing different saunas and lying outside in the snow may not have been one of my more genius ideas) means that my final day is a little uncomfortable.

I’ve just returned from a 10 day trip to Orlando Florida and as my tradition dictates I’m going to write you guys a postcard after I’ve arrived home.

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MURICA!

Just a side note: it seems like the art of writing postcards has gone slightly out of fashion, something I personally find a big shame.
My best friend writes me a postcard from every destination she visits and the feeling of excitement I get when one arrives is quite difficult to replicate.

I found it very difficult to find postcards but eventually found some at Walmart…I bought a few… so please choose your favourite design 🙂

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Arriving in Orlando

I always thought that the 7th circle of hell was an IKEA on a Saturday (however the meatballs do save it a bit) but in fact it is the passport control at an American airport.

(No photo available as no phones were allowed in the line….)

After a 9.5 hour flight we were hoarded into a queue for the automatic passport machines. This took about an hour, however since we were a British plane all of our complaints were kept inside us or (when released) in the form of a low incoherent mumble or a tut.

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I type in British – I get Meerkats. I can live with that.

Arriving at the automatic passport we had to scan our passports, fingerprints and take a lovely photo. I was relieved when I was sent to the next room (naively) assuming that we were through. However I was then moved towards another hour-long queue where I would eventually meet the guy at the gate. At the gate the guy scanned my passport and my fingerprints and then proceeded to take a nice picture of me (sound familiar?)

After about 2 hours, we were finally able to pick up our baggage and go get our rental car (took another 45 minutes).

About 20 hours after waking up we finally arrived at our villa. I fell straight asleep.

I shan’t go into too much detail about what we did on holiday (postcards are supposed to be short) – however I will give you a few highlights.

Day trip to Ocala National Park

This was an absolutely awesome drive. We drove through “farm country” (not an official name – just what I wanted to call it) and there were plenty of “watch out for bears” signs. It was all very exciting. We stopped at a gas station and got a coffee. I also bought some bacon flavoured pumpkin seeds – which were delish.

I have croc eyes…

We arrived at Ocala National Park and passed through an RV park. The sizes of the RVs were absolutely amazing!! I would have loved to have gone inside. This is the way I want to camp (I am not the biggest fan of “roughing it” but if I could “rough it” with an indoor jacuzzi and massive couch then I am up for it!).

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We took a walk past the river and spotted two little eyes…it was only a resting crocodile! A boat came close and I was able to witness the incredible way the croc was able to silently descend without causing a ripple.

The next thing that happened was possibly the most British and embarassing thing that had ever happened to me.

Is it a croc or is it the Loch Ness Monster?

We walked along the river and walked back, hoping to catch another glimpse of Mr. Croc. Unfortunately he wasn’t there – however in his place were a few slightly tipsy teens swimming on fun inflatables (big duck, unicorn – you get the gist) and one guy just swimming around.

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NOT my pic – but pretty awesome. He’s watching you.

As you can imagine there were plenty of signs in that area warning you NOT to swim. We observed the party, muttering to ourselves how dangerous this was and glaring at them with our eyes  – willing them to realise what idiots they were.

We walked on by and spotted a ranger. One of our party explained the situation to the ranger and he looked at us with wide eyes “And you didn’t tell him about the gator?”.

Well…no.

It was none of our business really…

Oops.

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This is what I get for “oops”. This is what this lady gets for having this photo taken…

I felt slightly ashamed and the ranger was extremely shocked and drove towards the site immediately.

What is with theme parks?

I love and hate theme parks. I love the adrenaline rides and the funness everywhere. What I hate are crowds of people and queueing for longer than 10 minutes for something. The theme parks in Florida provided both however I was surprised at how well we managed to deal with it. The longest wait we had was 75 Mins for the Transformer’s ride in Universal but that went quickly and it was very much worth it.

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We blankly refused to queue for 3 hours to get on Pandora at Animal Kingdom. Apparently it is a ride that is “not to be missed” but seriously…3 hours?

Do I look like I got time to wait?

My little tip:- Single Rider lines. They are generally (but not always) faster. We got onto the Everest Ride in 10 minutes (the normal queue was 75 mins) and I gained immediate access to Men in Black. It didn’t work on the Mummy though.
You may feel the eyes boring into you as you skip the long lines but remember – you are a strong independant person and you need NO man.

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GO single girl GO!

My personal highlight of the themeparks was winning a dinosaur. I played “Whac-a-Mole” and was the first to 150. The Dinosaur costs about $20 in the shops…so my scottish stingy heart was happy.

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I named him “Hugo the stoned Dino”

28°C and Beach

Our last day we decided to visit a beach and it was amazing.

Wooooohoooo look at that AIR!

So quiet, warm and very clean. I was finally able to get a bit of a tan and collect a few seashells which I will then be selling by the sea shore.

Florida was awesome but I could never live there. Having to use a car to get absolutely anywhere really puts me off. In Switzerland I don’t even own a car and rely solely on public transportation (Öffentliche Verkehrsmittel) to get around.

Anyway that is my slightly longer postcard. Oh yeah…wished you were there 🙂

Have a great evening.

Laura xoxoxoxo

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