Sunday, April 12, 2009

Back in Orlando!

Like an unannounced trip to Iraq by the president, I kinda snuck in quick visit to Orlando starting Saturday. There were just multiple opportunities and things going on that made it feasible and necessary to do, so I decided to just go for it. Poor Heather had to stay behind (she not only has to work, but she’s sick as well -- don’t you just love it when that happens?), but I’ll bring her with me next time.

Actually, this probably wouldn’t have been a real good time to come for her -- the air here is even thicker with various allergens than it is in Victoria (at some points the air is actually golden with it!). Speaking of which, when you’ve lived in a flower-filled city like Victoria for a while, Florida looks very bland and washed-out by comparison (not just due to the haze, but the direct sunlight, the homogeneous landscape, the soft pastel palette of the paint jobs everywhere ... it all adds up).

This doesn’t diminish my fondness of the town and the various things we liked about it (add Bubbalou’s Bodacious BBQ to the list of “Things We Miss” below!), but it’s kind of jarring after being away for a while (about 18 months now).

Also a little jarring is the reminder of just how ridiculously muggy it is. As I type this it is a “balmy” (by local standards) 23°C (74°F) on its way to a high of 29/84. I have to say I have really acclimated to the weather on Vancouver Island and had kind of forgotten the feeling of breaking into a sweat merely by stepping outside. :)

The first thing I did off the plane was get picked up by my pal Liz for a quick tour of the town. It was nice to see a few new buildings up, disappointing to see that the economy has stopped a number of the proposed new things in their tracks (a number of large empty lots that are unchanged from when we left), fun to see a number of favourite places still chugging along and absolutely appalling to see the Orlando Arena (which true locals insist on calling the O-rena) renamed to the Amway Arena. I know crook-in-chief Rich DeVos lives in Orlando, but come on.

We also got to enjoy a Doctor Who-themed party over on International Drive, seeing old friends like Who Cruise organiser Dan Harris, several Guardians of Gallifrey old and new (shout outs in particular to Teri, Arthur and of course Julia and Sandy), and the special guests Frazer Hines (Jamie), John Leeson (voice of K9) and Laura Doddington (an audio-only companion to Peter Davison’s Doctor in the Big Finish adventures).

All three were, as you might expect, charming and funny and grateful for the free drinks bought them. Event organiser Jarrod Cooper has been doing a lovely job of bringing DW and Torchwood actors to Orlando for casual meet-n-greet events at a local British pub, and we certainly had a great time of it. Orlando is finally stepping up to the plate and putting on its own Doctor Who convention called Hurricane Who this coming October, and while we have no idea if we can make it back for that, we’d certainly like to try.

In the meantime, I have a lot of people to see and errands to run and contraband to acquire (more about the latter when I get back home) but suffice to say I’m having a very relaxed and wonderful time seeing our wonderful “Florida peeps.”

More (including pics!) later.


heddo said...

Sick and miserable and sad without you...