Florida is weird, but cool. Early observations:

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Beth’s in Orlando at a conference, and I’m tagging along.  Not a bad gig for me, huh?  

So my role is to hang out while she’s in class, not get arrested, and not spend ALL of our money.  Not wanting to rely on shuttles and taxis, I rented a car.  I’ve done some exploring, and a lot of people watching, and here’s what I’ve learned:

The key to driving is to make a plan and drive like a maniac.  It’s the only way to manage 4 lanes of traffic everywhere.  

The grass is too thick.  What’s the deal with blades of grass as thick as pencils?

Floating in a lazy-man’s river when the thermometer by the pool reads 98 deg is a most excellent feeling.  As an Irishman, I’m allowed 14 minutes of this per day.  No more, no less.  

The guy who ran the laundromat I had to use because some of our snacks exploded in our suitcase was run by a Pakistani man.  He was kind and helpful to me (in English), and then he gave directions in Spanish to a lovely black couple with their adorable kids, and not five minutes later taught a couple how to use the machines in French.  That doesn’t happen in East Millinocket.

EVERYBODY is wearing these black and white striped dresses.  Well, the girls that is.  ALL OF THEM.

school board billboard

Good luck, Jay!

I saw a billboard for a guy who was running for school board.  A BILLBOARD!  How weird is that.  They must pay better in Orlando than they do at home.  

I saw  huge electronic billboard/sign thing announcing the wait times in the emergency room of a nearby hospital.  The good news is, both the pediatric and adult wait times were only 5 minutes.  What a difference between health care availability/advertising between the far south and the far north.  

Between the Nike store and the alligator-themed lemonade stand is a helicopter offering $15 rides.

lobster car

 

In Maine, we have a boot/car.  In Orlando, they have a lobster/car.  Go figure.  

You can literally find anything you want to eat down here.  Mexican, Thai, Indian, Creole – all in the same mini-mall.

At home, there’s one road that goes one place.  Here, there’s a tangle of roads, literally a tangle, that seem to go nowhere.

There are tolls every 1/4 mile.poncho sexiness

Last time I was here, it rained for a half hour every afternoon.  Monday, it poured and poured and the heavens rumbled and the skies split!  Beth and I spent an hour trapped in a gift shop before finally buying $8 trash bags and venturing out anyway.  There is a direct correlation between how many people are stuffed into a small gift shop and how likely I am to buy an $8 trash bag.  Turns out 200 people x 45 minutes = purchase!

It’s hard to make a poncho look sexy, but I think we pulled it off.  

The economy around here must be awful – I’ve seen so many women who couldn’t afford enough clothing to properly cover their bodies.  It’s a shame.  Thank goodness it’s so hot.  Those poor girls wouldn’t survive in the Northeast. 

That’s all for now.  I’ve only been here a few days.  I’ll keep my eyes open and report more later in the week.  

 

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