Woo, I have had a whole week of walking slowly round themeparks and eating gigantic meals and going to bed early (like some sort of pensioner) and I have to say, I am thoroughly worn out by it. Who knew? So today we decided on a nice, quiet day lounging around. Plus, it being the weekend, the parks would probably be stowed.
With that in mind, we set off to the IHOP, which the Bossman loves more than life itself; and lo, the IHOP was stowed and there was a queue out the door. But we were eventually seated and I managed to order the pumpkin-pancakes-and-fry-up. Mmm, hash browns. Except it turned out I didn’t, so I just had this enormous pile of pumpkin pancakes; possibly because the waitress heard the word ‘pumpkin’, agreed that they were her favourite thing ever and tuned out everything else I said. Which meant I had to do justice to the damn stack, approximation of the Tower of Babel though it was, or risk hurting her feelings; and it sat in my stomach like a lead balloon until around teatime.
Having staggered out of there, with the Bossman laughing gleefully at my misfortune, we went down the road and I bought several hundredweight of gifts for everyone I know. (Oddly, ‘everyone I know’ seems to be a very different number depending on whether they are RSVPing for my birthday (few) or I am honour-bound to get each of them a holiday souvenir (at which point their numbers swell by an order of magnitude).
Having done around half of my obligations, however, I staggered a few feet further… and there was a guy holding up a gorgeous wee baby alligator and he said for ten dollars I could hold her and get my photo taken. Alas, I did not have ten dollars, but he said for twenty on the credit card, we could get the photo, play minigolf, feed the big gators and also get a photo wrestling a giant gator. Bargain!
I have not played minigolf very often, possibly at all, but I am fairly certain the course hazards do not include lizards.
The Bossman won, in the end, as I suspected he might because he is sickeningly good at everything (and I am not going to complain, because I have gone out with sufficient numbers of people vastly less competent than myself for the novelty to have worn off, and while it is not their fault any more than my competency levels are mine, that is saying something).
It was a nice wee course, however. In fact, the whole place had a charmingly home-made look to it (it is called Gator Golf and it is on International Drive, near the West Sand Lake junction, should anyone ever have the urge to patronise it). Especially with the gators lying sunning themselves in the middle of the lake in the middle of the course, and the series of cute wee gutters the ball dropped down from time to time – not to mention, the gator in a little pond with grass round it, on the roof – I had a happy image of the guy who runs it living in a little hammock here at night, overlooking his beloved pets. The more so after he encouraged them all into the water to be fed, by walking into the middle of them with a bamboo cane and rapping them all on the tail with it; the biggest one, who refused to move, he went up to and told off face to face, then eventually went round behind him and shuffled him into the lake, while shouting, Water! Water! Water!
But in a friendly, encouraging way.
(The Bossman said, Of course he does not live here in a hammock above his gators! What are you thinking?! And I guess the answer is: Inner City Tom Bombadil!)
After that, we got to feed the gators. Woo! This involved a fishing rod made of cane, a string and a hair-pin, onto which we slotted a piece of hot-dog and then dangled it over the edge. I had a moment of intense panic when a gator grabbed the hot-dog, hairpin and all, and did not let go and I feared I had hurt him, but I was assured it was okay and eventually the hairpin did come back out. Okay, the next few flew off because I was being too cautious, but I got the hang of it in the end. Just in time to empty the hot-dog bag, of course.
Then I got to hold a gator and it was the best thing in my entire life and screw the dolphin-swimming; other people no doubt prefer dolphins and fair play to them, but for me, Buttercup is IT.
There followed a big internal debate over whether I really want a picture of my actual face on my actual blog, after so many years of trying to conceal everyone involved’s real identities: nobody cares who I am now, it is true, but some day I might accidentally get famous, even for thirty seconds, for making an inappropriate comment such as, ‘I do believe people are born that way, and they should get the same rights even if others think their lifestyles are horrifying because it is alright to be ginger, dammit‘; and then some weirdo will hunt me down and kill me.
Then I remember that I have not been short of that sort of thing anyway, so screw it, this is a picture of one of the happiest moments of my life:
Buoyed with triumph, I then took the Bossman to a British Pub for a pint, and then out for an inadvisable number of rum-based cocktails at the Bahama Breeze.
It has phone-boxes!
If you look carefully, these drinks each have a drink on the side.
During the course of this, I also bought a bunch of steel-band CD’s, and stopped in at a rock-pub for many ales on the way home. My mate back in Glasgow is right: it may be a very advisable shopping tactic to fill up on food before going to a supermarket so you’re not tempted to buy too much, but do not ever apply this logic to going to the off-licence.
Despite this, I was compus mentus enough to order Chinese takeaway when I got in. They deliver right to your room here, hot damn!
Also: god, tomorrow I am going to feel like hell on earth.