I’m now at the fourth Orlando described on my previous article and settling in for the week. It was viciously hot in Florida yesterday afternoon when I first arrived, 93° f. / 34° c., but I did manage to get outside and walk about some local sights such as they were. I’m based in the International Drive area. It’s not the most attractive spot nor the most pedestrian-friendly, but there are lots of hotels here and nothing is too far away by suburban sprawl standards. Let’s head outside and stretch our legs.
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There’s no sidewalk from my hotel to International Drive as I cut through several parking lots to avoid being hit. There’s no shade either. It gets a little better up on the main road, though.
Now it feels like Orlando. Nothing says tacky tourist spot like a giant crustacean perched atop a Volkswagen Beetle. Somehow I imagine this lobster experience would be a bit different than the one I encountered last Summer.
Oh, nothing says tacky tourist spot more than a giant crustacean except maybe a miniature golf course presented in a Tiki theme. Has anyone ever seen a miniature golf course somewhere other than a place where tourists like to congregate? They always remind me of going to the boardwalk along a beach during my childhood days. There aren’t too many players on a day like this, though. People are wilting.
I met a guy from Edinburgh, Scotland while we waited for the hotel elevator. He was completely flushed with a beet-red face after a full day touring SeaWorld with his family. He explained that it was only 12° c. "back home" and after I quickly did the math in my head I understood why he was having trouble dealing with the situation here in Central Florida. I was having trouble myself and I was already somewhat acclimated.
Did I say the crustacean and the goofy golf won the tourist prize? No, I think it may be the upside-down building that houses a place called WonderWorks. It certainly does catch one’s attention.
It’s an eerie time to be down here. Spring Break for the children has ended but Summer vacation hasn’t yet started. Everything seems to be about a quarter full; the hotels, the attractions, the roads. I’m not sure if the general state of the economy has contributed to the feeling either, but I’ve stayed along International Drive several times and I don’t think it’s ever felt so empty to me before.
This has nothing to do with tourism and everything to do with my strange fascinations. Is anything quite so forlorn as the graphic evidence of the demise of the public telephone? Here is an entire alcove once set aside for that purpose completely abandoned, every phone ripped from the wall. My children will tell their children that once-upon-a-time someone could find a device hardwired into a wall, drop a coin (another object not long for this world) into a slot and make a call. The irony was not lost on me, by the way, as I snapped a photo with my mobile phone, uploaded the image to my Gmail account, pulled it over into WordPress, and published it to the world via a blog that most people view using an rss feed subscriber. I’m not mourning the loss of the public telephone, just feeling a bit nostalgic as I consider that every day we all get a bit older and the world constantly evolves.
Thanks for all of the suggestions I’ve received both as comments and personal emails for Orlando geo-oddity sightseeing opportunities. I’m a bit limited by time and distance but I’ll see what I can do to salvage some interesting experiences after work-hours this week. Please post more suggestions if you have them.