a safe arrival on the first day, my cousin Andrew took me and his
family out for a meal at The Wyndham Palace Hotel, at the Outback
Restaurant, then Arthur's. We got back at midnight local time, meaning
I was up for 23 hours! Click on the picture to see Andrew (TopLeft),
Cable (TopRight) Coly (BotLeft) and Cristina (BotRight).
with Andrew, Cable and Coldon, before setting out for the meal.
The flight was uneventful, but I can recommend Business Class, it
does make life easier!! Despite stringent security on arrival
at Orlando, we were still heading out of the airport just 1 hour
first trip was to the Everglades National Park. As you can
see from one of the pictures, the major feature is Mosquitoes,
hence the head net (Picture without!)!
Though I have posted a picture of the "River of Grass"
Pa-Hay-Okee in Seminole, 80% of the Glades are Mangrove Swamp,
so I did a boat trip, and saw Alligators and Crocodiles in the
same piece of Water, the only place in the world this occurs.
Another feature of the Everglades is that it is very low. Rock
Reef Pass being the highest point at just 3 feet. It is also the
watershed. To the East, the water flows to the Atlantic, to the
West into the Gulf.
I saw lots of birds, Egrets, and especially Ospreys. It was great
being woken in the morning by a woodpecker, then to open the curtains
and see an Osprey perching on a tree outside. I also had the privilege
of seeing an Osprey bring a large fish home for supper. A fantastic
I also managed an airboat ride. Lots of fun, but not the best
way to see wildlife, since it is very noisy!!
The history and natural history of this area is quite amazing.
However, the 5 day stay was shortened to 2 days so I could visit
more of Southern Florida, so see below.
headed south for Key West, where I stayed in a luxurious beach front
hotel. Had probably the best meal ever which was a Herb Crusted
Grouper. Next day I went to the Dolphin
to meet and learn about Dolphins. I had a fantastic day learning
about them, then playing with them, then at the end of the day,
I got to go in the water with them. Sorry, no pictures of that,
just this one with a back view. If you are ever in Florida you should
stop was Key Largo, where I got to snorkel in a coral reef off the
Key. Pictures to follow, since I had to buy a disposable underwater
camera, and I am waiting for the film to be developed and scanned.
After Key Largo, I drove to the Gulf coast at Naples. You have to
be seriously wealthy to live there. No pictures, but there really
were some beautiful properties.
||I went to MGM studios
at Disney World on Friday 13th June! No bad luck tho'! Saw the parade
of film characters. Darth Vader (I think that's how you spell it)
is for Chris Abbott, a Star Wars fan! Also saw the Indiana Jones
Experience, and in the evening the Phantasmic Experience. If you
ever visit Disney World, that is a Must See.
I visited a place
called Blue Springs with Andrew. It is a place where 104 million
gallons of fresh water exit a limestone reservoir each day! The
water is crystal clear. You can swim right up to the hole where
the water comes out. Click here to
see me swimming in the hole! Whilst swimming down the river,
we literally bumped into an Otter. We spent at least 10 minutes,
just watching it, and later swimming with it until it went off.
Later we saw a Manatee and calf. A very rare mammal, very gentle,
and a bit like a Walrus. It was a real privilege to have seen
||In the last week of
the Floridian visit, I went to Disney's Magic Kingdom. It is truly
a delightful place. Did not have time to see too much, but did have
two rides on the Splash Mountain. Great fun, though a little scary
in parts. I can recommend a visit to anyone. I also revisited MGM
studios, and saw how they made animated film. It was really interesting.
||The final visit of
the trip was to see "La Nouba" at the Cirque du Soleil,
a permanent fixture here. If you have never been to see Cirque du
Soleil, it is the most amazing show I have ever seen. A Circus true,
but what presentation, and what wonderful performances. You are
not allowed to take pictures, so here is a picture of Andrew, Cristina
and me at dinner beforehand.
the final chapter of the visit to Florida has to be concluded
with a huge thank you to Andrew and Cristina for putting up with
me, and Carmen for being such entertaining company. I have had
a fantastic time, and they all made me so welcome. This was a
self portrait taken on the night I cooked us all a meal to say
"Thank you". I will miss them all very much.