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Friday - Having gotten through the hell that was US Airways, I managed to get to my hotel where I would be staying for the next 3 nights. The Value Lodge on E. Fowler is not what I would call quality accomodations, but it did have three factors going for it: it was clean, it had a bed, and it was very inexpensive. Now all I have to do is wait until Kiarrh and DustyRancourt get off from work.

Fortunately, I'm easily amused. I take a nice, long walk down Fowler to see what there is to see (a mall, USF, MOSI [although I didn't go in]). I crash for a little while, then get up around 4pm and start getting ready for the evening get-together.

Dusty and Kiarrh pick me up around 8:30ish from the hotel, and it's off to the first of the culinary delights, Steak and Shake. *chuckle* There, I get to meet Pri and her hubby, DBCooper, along with Jadedfox. For the next two hours, it's a session of furry talk, fandom talk, bad filksinging, noshing on food and soda and ice cream shakes/malts, and otherwise being perfectly normal. If you can call talking about military stuff normal (three ex-military types at the table). By 11pm everyone's ready to go home, and get some well-needed sleep. [The gentleman in a nearby booth who kept standing up for a few moments, then sitting back down, then standing up again and muttering to himself probably helped a little in this.]

Saturday - I'm an early riser. This is because of the fact that I work 7am to 4pm Monday thru Friday, so I have to be ready to leave by 6:15am. So you can guess what time I generally wake up to start.

Dusty and Kiarrh? If the sun hasn't passed zenith, it's morning.

Actually, I sort of understand why, their work hours are shifted forward of mine. So they get off from work later than I do, and in some cases, up to 4 hours later than mine. Which is why I rarely get to see them online. *chuckle*

But we did hook up around noonish, and took off to Big Cats Sanctuary, formerly known as Wildlife on Easy Street. Big cats. Pretty kitties. Showoffs and lazy bums. Lions and tigers and panthers oh my. Two hours wandering through the complex, watching the cats and having fun with bad jokes. And taking pictures, some of which are nice, some suck... at least, my pictures were that way. I'm still getting used to using a digital camera.

After that, we zipped over to a comics shop and drooled over items there (but didn't really buy anything, sad to say), then hooked up with Pri and DB to do Japanese. Arigatos is a wonderful Japanese restaurant, the food was excellent (I had the steak, shrimp and scallops) and another fun time was had by all. Thankfully we had reservations, as it was packed.

Sunday - Funday!

Even though Dusty and Kiarrh are not early risers (I'm reminded by the button I used to own: 'Not a morning person doesn't begin to cover it.') we all managed to get on the road for Orlando and Epcot Center. We included Pri, but no DBCooper, since he had to work. Earlier I had called Scudder and Jean Kidwell (old time GEnie Beastie Board friends and long-time employees of the Mouse) to let them know we were coming up to visit. They met us at the designated spot (far right end of the turnstiles into Epcot), waved their magic wands and in we went without paying cumshaw to the guards. *chuckle*

After arranging reservations for lunch (yes, we made them at 9am in the morning intentionally for 2pm in the afternoon) we went to Mission Space. Talk about a ride that will likely be one of the most popular attractions. First you go through a series of models and exhibits, then into a 'briefing room', then into the simulator itself. Four seats per module, six modules, complete with cockpit controls that come forward until they're like a foot away from your face. THEN come the fun part... launch, with you being pushed back in your seat at perhaps 2.5-3.5 G's of force. We're talking REAL G-forces here, folks... they warn you if you're claustrophobic or suffer motion sickness not to ride this one. But it's two and a half minutes of real fun, the sort space buffs can dream of one day.

Test Track was down for maintenance, so we couldn't go on it. The Living Seas is ok... so was Journey to Imagination, since they brought back Figment. Reportedly when they revamped the ride and removed Figment, people complained. Loudly. Very loudly. Management got the hint. For once.

After that, it was off to the World Pavilion, and a scampering through the countries. Lunch was at La Cellier, and folks, if it wasn't for the fact that Scudder and Jean provided a coupon good for 50% off of four meals, it would have been a major hit in the wallet. *chuckle* Even then, it was expensive, but it was very excellent food. I also picked up a t-shirt from Canada (from Roots!) and a plush husky that was surprisingly inexpensive. There were things in the Japanese stores that called my name (not loudly enough, but it was a near thing) and a few other spots were fun. Watching the Living Statue in the Italian area was quite amusing (kept trying to get Scudder to go up there, thinking she'd take his hat away) and we heard music from a band that played rock using bagpipes (Off Kilter is the band's name). Scudder and Jean had to leave around 5ish, and we left shortly thereafter, figuring that we've had enough for the day.

We had a late dinner at this middle-eastern restaurant that Dusty recommended, and it was indeed very good. Then it was take Pri home, drop me at the hotel, and off they went.

Monday - The last chance to see Dusty and Kiarrh was at Waffle House, about a mile from where they lived and a half mile from where I was staying. Kiarrh had to head to work afterwards, but by then I would be heading homewards. I ended up taking the bus to the airport (actually wasn't that bad, made as much time as I would in a taxi, but saving $26 in the process). Tampa security was... well... let's just say they had better invest in air fresheners if they're going to keep requesting people take their shoes off. I manage to rearrange my flight back to the Ft. Walton Beach airport instead of Pensacola, so I ended up home about two hours earlier. And after having dinner, checking my email and catching up on things online, I zonked. HARD.

But a fun time was had by all.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Mar. 2nd, 2004 04:39 pm (UTC)
I can sympathize with your friends regarding mornings... The button I still have around somewhere reads: 'Morning extends for 4 hours after I get up. Good Morning.'
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


Tal Greywolf

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