Day 9

Saturday 24th April 1999

Florida Mall

Bit of a nondescript day today. Walked around the ‘Florida Mall’ in the morning. Lots of shops and large department stores but by lunchtime we’d overdosed on shopping and decided enough was enough.

Kissimmee

Once again I took the wrong turning and joined the ‘Florida Turnpike’, a main highway to Miami!.

Luckily there was one more junction to leave locally as the next was 51 miles further south, and with only a quarter tank of petrol we could have been in trouble.

We planned to back to ‘Wet N Wild’ but with the temperature again in the 90’s we stayed by the pool for the afternoon.

Downtown Disney

After showering we went back to ‘Sizzlers’ (3rd visit now!) and then on to ‘Downtown Disney’ for atmosphere savouring and more shopping for presents. Later it was back home and bed.

NB Abby and Matthew both made friends in the afternoon, Craig a 10 year old from Nova Scotia, Canada who had arrived in Florida toady, and Abby met a girl who was returning to England that afternoon.

Other Observations (written on Sunday 25th April 1999)

The Americans

Americans are all genuinely friendly. In politeness, if you respond to them with “Thank you” you almost universally get the response “Your welcome”. They also all end the conversation by saying “Have a nice day!” or “Enjoy the rest of your day!” which is a nice touch and so different to Britain. Just as I’ve written this an American has just walked passed our room shouting to his friend/wife who is hurrying him along “This isn’t a holiday it is a f***ing marathon”. I think some people try to do too much to beat the crowds as it’s only 7.45am.

The Service

Eating in American restaurants is also an experience. You get the impression the waiters/waitresses all want to please, but you wonder if it is to get their 15% tip? Some I think are genuine but others just seem to be going through the motions. Food is good value and always plentiful.

Driving

Driving is fairly straight forward once you get used to the roads, but I still get confused by the road signs of should I say the lack of them. What is surprising that no-one seems to be in any hurry, and you very rarely see any road rage or speeding. Even overtaking on the inside seems safe on the roads! Whilst driving we’ve had the car radio tunes to Thunder Radio. This station plays classics from the late 60’s and early 70’s like Elton John, Fleetwood Mac and a lot of Rolling Stones. We laughed yesterday as they were running a competition for listeners to win a trip to London! Now that would be interesting!

The Hotel

I haven’t written much about our hotel. It is not the biggest around but quite adequate. The rooms are cleaned every day, beds made and fresh towels left. Each room has air conditioning which is certainly used during the day, but is too noisy to be left on at night. Thankfully our room is west facing and so does not get too hot during the day anyway. Each room has a TV with some 16 channels, but the pictures are poor. Luckily the pictures we provide our cable customers back home are better than those in the room. Abby and Matthew are told they are spoilt at home by the quality of pictures compared to these. You can hire a remote control, which seems a must for the American guests as I’ve seen them clutching them even at breakfast. The shower is fairly good, hot water at most times, but it does have a tendency to leak over the floor. There is a small gift shop attached to the hotel, which stocks drinks, snacks, postcards and stamps and T-shirts etc (I have never seen a holiday place sell so many T-shirts as I have seen in Florida!)

The Weather

The weather throughout the time we have been here has been good, only a couple of days has the blue sky been broken by clouds. In south Florida they have been suffering from severe fires as it’s been the driest April for many years.

Shopping

We have done a lot of shopping whilst we’ve been here, mainly factory outlet stores or cheap gift shops, selling Nike, Reebok and Adidas clothing at lower that normal prices ranging from $8 to $40 (£6 – £35). We’ve also been buying from the Disney stores for both ourselves and presents for those back home.

High School Kids

There seems to be a lot of older children in parties here in Orlando over the last few days and yesterday we found out why. Apparently, all the high school kids from all over Florida (some 11000 children) are invited to the parks. Good to see but it can get a little crowded in places, and groups walking together can be intimidating. Abby and me queued for a ride the other day in front of eight girls aged about 16. From the accents they came from the New York area. They didn’t stop talking about their bust and butt sizes and what they would be like as they get older. After 45 minutes of continual talking I was glad to get onto the ride for some quiet. It is a pity that most of them will end up extra large like most American women you see.

Abby and Matthew

I believe Abby and Matthew are enjoying their holiday so far, although they still seem to argue, so nothing changes where ever they are!