Florida Day 5

I woke up at a time that I felt was appropriate, but Jessica and Pa were impatient, so about ten minutes after I walked into the kitchen, they walked out the door and onto the bus for the Magic Kingdom. I thought this was incredibly rude, but I didn’t mind too much as I didn’t have any interest in riding Splash Mountain or the Haunted Mansion again. Once is enough for me for things like that. So, I had my breakfast with the television on low broadcasting all the exciting news about the Royal Wedding. There is really nothing more exciting that the Royal Family — any Royal Family, I love them all.

After I finished up, Ma and I left for the Magic Kingdom, and even though I was already full, I had a brownie at the bakery, which was dry, but still tasty. After we sat about for a spell looking at the freaks around us, we made our way to Liberty Square to meet Jessica and Pa. The moment Jessica saw us she bellowed out, in a way that I am far too familiar with, “SOUP! SOUP! SOUP!” For those of you who don’t know Jessica, you should know that she loves soup and becomes rather insistent on getting it. It was one of those days.

When Ma patiently explained that we probably wouldn’t be going back to the English pub again for the third time, she threw a conniption fit like none I have ever before seen. It was spectacular — on a level I don’t think she will ever be able to top. I felt like I was watching a deleted scene from a documentary on insane asylums. She cried and yelled (she’s 19, by the way) and freaked us all out. Ma finally threw a twenty dollar bill at her and told her to go and get it herself, but Jessica cried out, “IT’S NOT THE SAME!”

I was highly embarrassed by this time, and of course, worried about her mental state of mind, as I so frequently am. I think that she might be like that Kennedy child that they had lobotomized — somebody might be needing it. So, she pouted, stamped her feet, and pitched a fit all the way to the monorail, which made her even angrier for some reason.

On the monorail, she refused to speak to me and Ma, as we were the ones who were doing this to her, at least the voices in her head told her so. She, like an angry three-year old, would only speak through my father, who tried to cool her down, but this was like attempting to turn a cat off the scent of a mouse or extinguish a ticking bomb. There was nothing to do. She was insane.

On the bus ride to the Animal Kingdom, she again shamed the entire family with her antics, but by the time we arrived, she had cooled herself down a bit. You can probably guess the first concern we had when we arrived at this park — we had to eat. I couldn’t understand it. These people cannot be so hungry all the time, so we rushed off to some pizza place. I was immediately enthralled when I discovered that they had straws made out of cardboard. I have always been passionate about banning straws. Can you imagine how many little plastic tubes are sitting out there somewhere, maybe a landfill or that plastic continent in the middle of the Pacific? They don’t break down for decades and they take up a ton of space when you think of the volume used around the world every day. It’s maddening for an eco-freak like me. So, I grabbed about ten straws to take home with me so that I can track them down when I get home. I will have them at my bakery someday. No plastic straws or silverware or styrofoam containers or metal condiment packages or cloth napkins or hand dryers or water in the urinals. It will be wonderful.

We went on the Kilaminjaro Safari first, which we have done so many times we could narrate the damn things ourselves. Why won’t Big Red and Little Red just stay out of trouble, I mean, really, must they run themselves into the poachers each and every day? The animals were as adorable as ever, and it is always a good ride.

After this we went on some walking trail that was kind of lame. There were pretty birds and mice and naked mole rats and ancient tortoises. There were also gorillas, which was a particular delight for me as Jessica is absolutely petrified of monkeys of any kind. They can reduce her to tears at a glance, and because she was already in a particularly crazy mood, I was sure this would lead to more insanity. It did.

When she first lay her eyes on the gorilla, just sitting there, munching a palm frond, she made some kind of strange gurgling sound and tried to make us all run away before the gorilla could leap the ravine, past the gates, and maul us. She was thoroughly convinced that this was not only possible, but likely. Of course, the rest of us stood around and looked at this mighty beast and evolutionary cousin. Jessica scurried quickly off, we could hear screams from the distance as she ran into a gorilla at every turn.

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Jessica pre-gorilla.

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Spotting the gorilla.

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Jessica post-gorilla

When we were finished studying the beasts, we went out and as we rounded a corner we found Jessica sitting on a bench, crying her eyes out, scaring the tourists with her choking sobs. She had thought we had all been eaten by the monkey…

We grabbed some ice cream and then went to my favorite attraction, the Maharajah Jungle Trek. I love everything about this. I enjoy looking at the bats and their paper thin wings, I love watching the disgusting Komodo dragon swish from one end of his pen to the other, and the playful tigers leap through the water as we all gasp with delight. Today everybody was comparing the tigers to their cats at home, and I must say, my beloved Tiggy would get along swimmingly with these wonderful big kitties. Pa and I studied the seeds to this beautiful plant we keep seeing with gorgeous purple berries. Jessica could not begin to understand why we would find this interesting. And when Ma took a picture of a flower, she lost her mind and ran off.

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After this, we were done, and Pa made a mad dash for the exit. There was a parade, so there was a temporary path made out of masking tape put down on the ground, which seemed incredibly wasteful to me. They had to have used more than a mile of masking tape just for a fifteen-minute parade. I was highly amused when the trails led through two gift shops. They will do anything to get you in there!

Pa did a bit of dancing for everybody to see. He has started doing this thing where he dances like a ballerina then turns into a cha cha cha. It is highly amusing.

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We rode back to the hotel for a little break before heading back to EPCOT for dinner. Mother, being weak, gave into Jessica’s maddening demands and went back to the Rose & Crown pub for a bowl of soup and bubble and squeak. I wouldn’t go back, so Pa and I went to Via Napoli in the Italian pavilion, and it was wonderful.

“Prego, signori! Prego!” The staff shouted to us as we were led to our table. The waitress, Jessica from Milano, smiled widely, gave us another hearty, “Prego!” and handed us our menu before darting away to lead the next group of diners in. It was a wonderfully short menu, I cannot stand places that offer you sixty different things to eat, you know it can’t be the best, then. This place had a large, but not extensive collection, which suited me just fine. Pa ordered the candele pasta and I had a margherita pizza with a bottle of my second favorite water, Acqua Panna. (I know that I have extolled my hatred of the bottled water industry before, and I’m ashamed to admit that I still partake in a bottle once in a while, but incredibly rarely. I feel better when they come in glass, and this did, so I enjoyed it.)

The pizza was divine. I have never had a more delicious basil in my life, either. I am going to have to figure out what kind of basil it was because I want to grow loads of it next year in the herb garden. Pa also enjoyed his dish, if the portion was a bit too small.

We sat next to a very angry family. You could tell they were tired of being around each other, the husband and wife looked exhausted and their three girls all looked pissed to be alive. None of them liked their food, as it had “red stuff” on it. The mother sighed loudly and said angrily, “What’s wrong with it?!!?” Her husband turned away and sighed, then cut up a piece of chicken for his eldest daughter, who couldn’t have been seven. I enjoyed listening to their argument from across the way. On our opposite side were two men who talked constantly about one of their daughters. He thinks she is a genius because she knows how to double-click on the My Computer icon. I don’t mean to sound rude, but kids still in the womb know how to do that these days. They then went on a nonsensical tirade against the iPad. I took it personally as I consider my iPad an extension of my own body. People who trash talk it either can’t afford it or have never used it. They are the greatest invention ever. Period.

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We had an awkward moment with another waiter, when Pa asked him where he was from. He said, “Near Milano, you know?” Pa shook his head to the negative, which dumbfounded the waiter to no end and we all sat there in awkward silence until I said, “Grazie,” and he went away.

I had a chocolate gelato for dessert and Pa had an Italian Gelato Soda with orange gelato. We both enjoyed them immensely.

It is really nice to understand a bit of the language when you go to the pavilions. I could understand most of the French, a bit of the Italian, and a smidgen of the German. It makes me feel like I’m part of an inside joke, though, of course, I’m not.

We all met up in the French pavilion to finalize our shopping there. I was going to pick up a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau, as it was the first day it was legally available for sale this year, but I decided to wait until I got home, as it is only ten dollars a bottle at the World Market for the exact same product. I’ve never tried this wine before, so, I hope there is still a bottle available when I get there.

We all piled into the bakery and picked up a few things. I don’t think I’ve ever been on a trip where we have eaten so much. I probably have eaten more this week than I do in three normally. I feel disgusting and I’m never hungry, yet I keep eating. I’m eating rice chips as I type. I look forward to going home just to get my body back, even though I never want to leave the splendor and beauty of Florida. I’ll move here eventually, I’m sure, when my book and film royalty checks start to pour in. Anyway, anyway, anyway, I had a chocolate croissant and a sacristain, Pa had a napoleon, and Ma and Jess both had a strawberry tart, which Jessica could not eat without dumping half of the strawberries to the ground.

We went to Japan straight away as we all love it. Pa looked at the candies, Jessica did, too. I looked at the bowls again and just couldn’t pass up a complete set of hand painted bowls covered in tomatoes. They will be great for breakfast. I also bought a miniature Buddha board, which was totally unnecessary, but it is so cool. You write with water on this piece of stone and it looks like ink, but once the water evaporates the board is clear again and you can create a new masterpiece.

Italy was lame. The masquerade masks were not always that expensive. Germany was lamer, and it smelled of caramel and beer, which I’m sure would make some people happy, but not me.

I bought a few bowls at the Chinese store, but it hadn’t changed at all since the last time I went there, at least in my mind. It seemed like I already had everything! Time was short, so we ran to the Mexico pavilion to pick up my last purchase, a hand painted ceramic Día de los Muertos skull. It took me a long time to pick out just the perfect one, but I finally did, and they cheerfully wrapped it up, saying, “My friend wrap it for you, okay?” Once my new skull was in my hand, the park was closed and we hurried out before the firework stampede.

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Once back in the room, I wasn’t ready to stop, so Ma and I drove to Downtown Disney to look around. All of my favorite stores were closed: the Virgin Record Store and this store that sold Hollywood trinkets. There was really nothing I enjoyed at all, a bunch of Disney stores and cigar shops. I was really disappointed. I bought a really good espresso and watched a musical group called Venice for a time. They were absolutely amazing, two men and a lady dressed up like they were 18th Century French aristocrats, full powdered wig and hoop skirt. I loved it. They played what I can only call electro renaissance classicism. It was awesome. I tried to find a video of them on YouTube to show you, but sadly, I can’t find anything, just take my word for it.

Their were Potterheads all over the place waiting for the newest Harry Potter movie to come out. I don’t have a problem with people being excited for a film, but when you dress up like your favorite character and start casting spells at others, I take issue.

Ma and I popped into the gigantic Disney store because I wanted a grey crewneck sweater with a vintage Mickey Mouse printed on it, like the one Dorothy gave Rose on The Golden Girls for her birthday. There was nothing like it at all. I found one by D&G, but I didn’t really feel like spending four hundred dollars on a sweater with a mouse on it.

We picked Jessica up and went to Walmart. She thought that we were going to go to Waffle House, but little did she know we weren’t. The fit that followed put her earlier one to shame. It was inspiringly, really. I don’t even know what the issue was, but we threatened to put her in therapy and then she ran away. It was awesome and terribly frightening.

I packed all my bowls up and there was no room left for my French bowls or the massive amount of shells I intend to pick up on the beach tomorrow for my Christmas tree.

Jessica was exhausted emotionally and collapsed with a sob on her bed, leaving us alone finally. I bought the 30 Rock soundtrack. I’m delighted to finally have my very own copy of “Muffintop.” I also pre-ordered the new Michael Jackson album and received the first single from it, “Hold My Hand,” and it’s wonderful.

Now it’s time for bed.

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