I like to travel,

and now that I've graduated from college and have a full-time job, I finally have the time and the finances (sometimes) to quench my wanderlust. since I can't take you all with me (though I wish I could), I decided to keep you updated on my whereabouts via the blogosphere.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

>>> orlando, FL: travel vlog #2!!!

video

Filmed at the Omni Orlando Hotel at Championsgate in Championsgate, FL
Featuring: Neeks, Paulo, Mario, and Kristina

>>> orlando, FL: travel vlog for 04.24.09

video

Filmed at NBA City Restaurant at Universal CityWalk in Orlando, FL
Featuring: Neeks, Feef, Mario, Richie, Keeks, and Chan

Saturday, April 25, 2009

>>> orlando, days 1 & 2

Can this be true? Tell me, can this be real? I'm actually BLOGGING??!

Yes, it's true. Greetings from Orlando! It's about 4AM over here and I'm still pretty much on Seattle/Pacific Standard Time, so I'm trying to take advantage of the quiet hours and catch up on some stuff. First off, I uploaded all of the pictures I have so far (from NWFASA Conference to lunch on the Ave to Orlando), then a video from yesterday, and now I'm at the next natural step, which is to update my travel blog. I also have a sort of vlog for yesterday, but I have to wake up in about 5 hours so I don't have time to work on that quite yet. Maybe on Sunday. :)

And yes, I know, I know, I never finished my entry about Forks. It'll come soon enough and I will send you (Sheree) a link to the post once it's done. Deal? Okay.

Let me start at the beginning of this lovely trip: 10pm Wednesday evening, Seatac airport. Wednesday had been a pretty terrible day: I woke up 3.5 hours late for work, I embarrassed myself horribly at work, I dumped a whole lot of freezing water all over myself at home, and then discovered while drying myself that the jeans I'd worn all that day had a giant hole in the crotch/thigh area. So when I got to the airport a couple of hours before my 11:55PM flight, I have to admit that I was expecting the worst to happen. It would've fit.

Luckily, the only bad thing to really happen at the airport was that our first aircraft was deemed "out of order" and they had to switch us to another aircraft a few gates down, and then we took off a little late because people were super slow putting their luggage in the overhead compartments. But by 12:20AM we were on our way to Houston, and I was seated next to a lovely older couple who gave me gum to combat inner ear pressure (or at least, I think that's what it was for... haha). I was able to sleep for 3 hours, and then I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Houston airport is pretty damn nice.

Then came the bad news: my layover was more than 3 hours long. I somehow overlooked that when booking the ticket because I was confused by the time differences and how they were reflected in the schedule. Whatever. I bought some beef jerky and took a nap in one of those uncomfortable airport chairs.

By the time I had boarded the second flight from Houston to Orlando, I discovered that the flight was full of high school cheerleaders on their way to a cheer competition at DisneyWorld. This would not have been so bad except one cheerleader's little brother sat behind me and was kicking the back of my seat for most of the flight. No sleep.

Anyway, the moment I stepped out of the Orlando airport I was greeting by the muggy 83F degree weather. Whew. Quite a leap from cool, rainy Seattle.. My parents picked me up (they were in Daytona for a few days before that for my mom's work) and we headed off to the hotel.

The hotel is nice; it's new and they did a lot of work to make it seem fancy like putting Sleep Number beds and flatscreen TVs in every room... The internet is free :) but the connection is terrible. Oh well, I have to make do with what I've got. We got here with a few hours to spare before going to my cousin's wedding rehearsal dinner, so while my parents napped, I worked out in the room and watched Ellen. And then after we got all dressed up, we headed out to Epcot to meet up with the family and the bridal party and friends.

My cousin Edith (or "Ditas"), the one who is getting married, grew up in San Diego but all of her first cousins grew up in Calgary (they're the Calgary cousins I've mentioned many times before). She moved to Orlando for her residency and ended up joining a medical practice here, so most of the wedding guests are from all over the place (in addition to the guests from Seattle and Calgary, there are guests from California, New Jersey, Minnesota, Virginia...). This meant that all of the out-of-towners got lost trying to find Epcot, then got lost finding parking, and then got lost trying to find the Guest Relations Center. So instead of going into the park at 6:30PM as planned, we didn't get in til after 7 and by then everyone was all sweaty because no one was used to this kind of weather but still happy to see one another. I, of course, was extremely psyched to see my Calgary cousins. Ah, good times.

We had a nice dinner in The Living Seas, and then afterwards we all trekked from the restaurant to Germany. If you haven't been to Epcot before, let me explain: a large portion of the park is called the World Showcase which is comprised of 11 pavilions that represent different countries of the world by displaying their architecture, food, music, crafts, etc. They have Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, The American Adventure (haha wtf), Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom, and Canada. Anyway, the groom's brother reserved a patio in Germany for us to watch the nightly fireworks display at 9PM, however dinner ran sort of late so we had to haul ass from one end of the park to another (see map: we ran from The Living Seas at the bottom to Germany at the top). Half of the time we were moving, my cousin Paulo and I were running with our heads turned to the side to watch the fireworks. Not the smartest idea in the dark with lots of young children around, but whatever.

Anyway, after that was done my parents and I left to stop by the grocery store for snacks, and then headed back to the hotel to get some rest.

Then yesterday morning I woke up early because my cousins and I were supposed to meet at the Orlando Premium Outlets at 10AM. They eventually arrived at 10:45AM and we then spent the next 5 or 6 hours walking around. I'm proud to announce that I did not spend a single cent at the outlet mall. Maybe it's because my cousins bought everything, I don't know. All I know is, I don't know anyone else who shops like these cousins. I don't know what they get paid in Calgary but I'm thinking I need to move up there and make bank like they seem to!

After the outlets, we decided to go swimming at the house my cousins and their families are renting for this trip. Luckily I remembered to bring my waterproof camera case, so for a couple of hours we had fun taking pictures and videos underwater until we finally got hungry. After swimming we took showers and 7 of us piled into Kiko's rental (meant to seat 5 only, haha) to head to Universal CityWalk for dinner.

I haven't been to Orlando since 2001 but I don't remember Universal CityWalk being quite like it was last night. It's the shopping/eating entertainment area between the two Universal theme parks (Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure) and it's free to go in, but damn dude. Teenagers everywhere! I don't know what teenagers in Seattle do on Friday nights nowadays, but I know they don't have a place like CityWalk to hang out at. It was insanely loud and rowdy and we all felt too old to be there. Nevertheless, we went to the NBA City Restaurant for food, booze, and alcohol, and left Universal CityWalk a few hours later with our spirits lifted. LOL.

Well, I guess I'd better get to sleep since it's now almost 5AM and I have to wake up soon. I'll try to update again tomorrow after all the wedding craziness is over... But we'll see. There are no set plans for tomorrow (Sunday) except that me and the cousins are going to watch that new Channing Tatum movie ;), and then Monday is DisneyWorld and Tuesday is Disney Typhoon Lagoon! I can't wait!

Hope you're having happy days, whoever/wherever you are!