(AUG 17 - AUG 24)
Well i finally got to the USA and I knew i was almost there when i got my last snack before getting of my flight to Chicago from New York - it was so fatty - a bun with a thick piece of cheese, a bit of ham, and a thick spread of cottage cheese over the bun plus a packet of chips and a chocolate bar... yes everything is big about america - the cars, the buildings, the food, the people, the towns. Yes just about everything - including this update!
I got to West Palm Beach Airport in Florida at 10pm at night and as I walked outside from the airport I was immediately struck by the humidity of the place - it must have been 30 degrees+ with very high humidity
. i got to enjoy this heat for a while as my friend John thought my flight got in at 11pm and in the meantime i got a bit of a taste of the wealth that is found here. Almost every car coming through the pickup zone was a big SUV/4WD, BMW, Merc etc and i dont think i saw any older cars coming through at all... anyways...
When John got there i was pretty pumped to see his car, well i mean truck - a big black Dodge Ram 1500 (Male Grunt inserted here). He took me on a quick tour of West Palm Beach although it was like 4am in the morning as my body was feeling it so i didnt take in all that much...
The next day (thurs) we kept it low key and john showed me Jupiter island - where heaps of rich ppl live like Venus or Serena Williams - cant remember which one and apparantly Donald Trump has a place here too... he also showed me the local shops (mall) and afterwards we had a 3-course lunch at this place called foodshack - a small seafood restaurant that was voted as one the best places to eat in the States. i understood why - the food was amazing and quite cheap too... The owner does it for the love of food and wont open on sundays or monday nights. We started off with this Basil Tuna roll served on a hawaiian salad that had a wasabi dipping sauce - i didnt think we could improve on this for mains but it did
. i had a grouper fish served on this salad with the most amazing textures and flavours before we shared a dessert which was this white chocolate mash thing - wow! i would come back to florida just for this food... the amazing thing was the fish didnt have that fishy smell/taste because they were so fresh! well enough about food...
Later that night we headed up to Orlando (2hours) to crash at johns sisters place (on the floor) as we were heading to Islands of Adventure/Universal studios the next day. Ashley - one of johns good chic friends also came with us. i was so excited seeing the rollercoasters on the horizon on the way into the theme park the next morning. After we went through the security check we headed straight for the hulk - one the rollercoasters and we made sure we got the front row. The ride was amazing and I would describe it for you only i think it would be better for you all to expereince it for yourself... after that we went on the Spiderman ride - we had to wear these 3-d glasses based on 3-d imagery and it was really great - there was one bit where you actually felt like you were falling off a massive building but spiderman springs a web which saves you. then we went on dueling dragons - a rollercoaster with 2 parts - fire and ice. They start off at teh same time and at 2 or 3 points during the ride you really think that you are going to hit the other rollercoast carraige but at teh last second turn away..
. we also went on the jurassic park ride, and on dudley do-right - a water ride where you come out soaked. Later we went over to universal studios and went on ET, back to the future and the mummy ride which was an amazing indoor rollercoaster going round in pitch-black - it was so much fun. We went on this like 2 or 3 times. There was also this guy dressed up and on stilts standing right behind the door spooking random people as they came in he would reach down as if he were going to touch there face and as the person saw this hand coming in the corner of their eye - they would freak out. Quite amuzing to all the people waiting in line - he got me so bad... after the mummy ride - we had one of those tropical storms as you do in the late afternoon and once this happens all the good rides will shut for a while for fear of lightning strike. We decided to make a dash for the park entry and as we were running along Ashley has lost her hat and tried to turn around, slipping on the centre road line on the way and went crashing to the ground - it was quite amuzing to watch from behind and she was such a champion she got up and kept running before i had a chance to pick up her hat for her... anyways...we caught a movie to kill some time - Red Eye with Rachel McAdams - that was pretty good and we headed back to the place to get our stuff before driving like another 2 hours back home.
Saturday i got to go to the beach which was really nice - the water was like 25 degrees and it was just so nice to be in the water
! That night we went to City Place - a popular destination for entertainment which was really great. We had this meal at a place called the cheesecake factory and i ordered a salad. The salad could have served a whole family it was that big and i learnt an important lesson that day to always order entree sized meals! We later caught up with some of Johns friends and saw a movie. Florida also has a very large hispanic community (immigrants from mexico or cuba etc) and Ashley, who works for the government i think in the District Attorneys office and she was telling me to be careful of my actions and words as there was actually a lot of hard-core ganstas around. Anyways thats another story for another day.
Sunday was a lazy day going to Johns church and then later Johns family had a family dinner for him as it was his birthday the following wk and so it was great to meet the rest of his family. i got to shoot a BB gun for the first time which was fun and then later in the night i played my first game of poker with a $5 buy in and at the end of the night i had $8...whoo hoo big money winner right there!
Monday was another amazing day as i got to go to Disney World. We (John, Ashley and I)left early in the morning as it was another 2hour drive up to orlando
. It was amzing entering into the disney world complex and all the road signs change to red and purple and there is general buzz and excitement to the place. We first headed to magic kingdom - the largest park within disney world (there are like 4 theme parks and 2 water parks here!) We parked our car, got on a mini-road train shuttle before getting onto a monorail to the parks entrance. We headed straight to space mountain - an indoor rollercoaster where we got fast passes - allowing us to come back later and skip most of the line and we went on splash mountain - it was really hot at like 10am... then we went into the haunted house ride before using our fast passes at space mountain. the ride was amazing - it was pitch black and it was made in the 70's and so it tended to be jerky and rickety. THis made for a fun ride as you thought you were about to go one way before being thrown another way and you felt like if you stuck your hands up in the air they would be cut off! so much fun. We went on this again before heading over to MGM Studios where we went on the aerosmith rollercoaster - another indoor rollercoaster that went from 0-100kmh in 2secs straight into an inverted loop. My favourite there was the Tower of Terror - a ride based on the twilight zone and an elevator which was out of control. The thing would fall and then suddendly shoot up, stop. shoot up and then fall again and every time it was random so you could go on it over and over again and not know what would happen next. The first time we went on it we had to buy the picture of us as john was clapping, i was laughing hysterically and Ashley had grabbed my arm and was screaming her guts out (you can see it in the pics for this trip)..
. We went on a couple of other rides before we headed to the disney world shop area - not in the park, and i bought ashley this huge winnie the phoo bear for only $25...i thought it wasnt too bad for a tourist shop...
Well that pretty much ended the highlights of Florida. Tues was a rest/packing day and I left on the wednesday 2 days before Hurricane Katrina came through - it was only a weak category 1 at this stage.
Will update photos when i get a chance.