Florida Escape Day 4

I woke easily and early this morning which was odd because I am not a morning person at all. I loathe mornings and don’t believe it’s right to be conscious before ten o’clock. Sure, you lose a few hours of daylight, but what’s that matter when you get to stay up late and luxuriously lay under the blankets? Am I right or am I right? I’m right.

I made sure that I wouldn’t forget my debit card by writing a note and putting it on top of my wallet. I’m glad that the bartender had been friendly enough to send it up to the front desk. They all probably think I’m a drunk, when the guy from Dexter was really the drunk one. Maybe I was? I don’t really remember. That’s probably a bad sign.

I quickly put my bags together, walked the fifteen miles to the lobby (I swear it gets further away each time), and checked out. It didn’t take but two seconds and I was soon on my way to Downtown Disney. I would pick up the bus to Saratoga Springs there, the name of the resort I was transferring to. It arrived quickly, so I settled myself in for a comfortable ride. You know where this is going, right?

I had forgotten my debit card. F*%K! I’m a lady, I don’t write such vulgar words. Oh well, I sighed. I would have to go check in and then waste two hours hopping back to the resort to pick up my card.

At Downtown Disney, I waited for ages to get the bus to the resort. This was particularly annoying because you can see it from the bus stop. I didn’t know exactly how to get there, though, nor did I know where I was going when I got there, so I decided it was for the best to just wait for the bus. Annoyingly, once I got onto the bus, it had to make a stop at Typhoon effing Lagoon first. Why? To further annoy me? I assume this is the only logical reason.

After an absolute eternity, I found myself finally in Saratoga Springs and was alarmed at how large the place was. It’s kind of like, well it’s very much like Old Key West, the resort I usually stay at. It feels quite similar, but I still prefer Old Key West–they have palm trees. Saratoga Springs is meant to look more like it’s from New York, so there are trees that would fit into that landscape. Disney pays a lot of attention to these things.

Checking in didn’t take but two seconds and I was charmed by the gentleman checking me in. I shared tragic tale about my debit card and he said that I wasn’t to worry. He’d take care of it. How kind! They would call me in my room or on my cellphone when the card arrived. I appreciate this kind of treatment. Seeing as how I’m truly the son of some southern European monarch, I’m used to this. I’m still waiting to be claimed by my real parents and take over the throne. I’ll be beloved by my people. Probably. I think I’d rather be a First Lady, though and go all Evita.

I was very confused when I went back out to find my room. It’s all so big! After consulting various maps, though, I found my way, and once I did it once, there were no more worries. My mind is excellent with directions. I couldn’t tell you north from south, but once I’ve been someplace, I can easily retrace my steps.

The room was very nice, but I prefer the Animal Kingdom Lodge. I didn’t think I would. I certainly don’t like it’s location, but I did like the room. It felt, I don’t know what word I’m looking for. It just felt more like me.

I relaxed on the balcony with a bag of popcorn and it wasn’t long before the phone was ringing to tell me that my card had arrived. Marvelous! I set up my reservation on the Magical Express while I was on the phone, too. This is a supremely convenient bonus of staying at Disney. They have a bus that will take you to and from the airport for nary a nickel. And if you use certain airlines, you can even get your boarding pass at the hotel. Luxury. Of course, my airline didn’t offer this service, but that was no huge concern.

I took a leisurely walk back to the lobby and was happily reunited with my beloved debit card–that silly plastic brings me such joy. I never use cash. It’s dirty and you have to do math and it’s so much quicker to just swipe. I can’t wait for our phones to have that NFC thing nerds are always talking about. You just tap your phone on something and it’s linked  to your account and you don’t have to waste time swiping. I remember in one of my money classes in school we read about a system where you wouldn’t even have to go through a checkout at shops in the future. There would be an NFC chip in your wallet or whatever and you’d just carry your purchases right out the door. When you went through the door, your card would digitally transfer the money from your bank account to the store. I can’t wait for the future.

Now that I had money, I stopped to buy some sunscreen. I didn’t want to fry myself again. So I got myself some of that and hurried back to the room, slathered it on, put on my speedo, covered them with my normal swimwear, and hurried to the pool.

2013-03-21 16.12.00

I’ve never worn the speedo in public because it’s just not done here, you know? Besides, I still have the brain of a fat man. I know I’m not fat, but I still think I am. I’m glad I’m not. If I ever get fat again, please put me out of my misery. It’s no fun being chunky. I never was one of those funky fat people. I was just ugly. It’s a good time when you’re a waif. So, I was laying out there and listening to Justin Timberlake’s delightful new album, which is even better than I’d expected! Let’s take a musical interlude, shall we?

 

Then I started scrolling through my Tweets, when I saw Tom Daley (he pops up in my narratives a lot) post this:

2013-03-21 16.00.43[Don’t we look great together?]

I looked at it, looked at it again, and said, “Oh hell,” as I tossed off my swimsuit to reveal my lovely yellow speedo. Nobody cared. I don’t think anybody even looked. I don’t think I’ll ever wear shorts to the beach or pool again. Speedos just make more sense, there isn’t a bunch of fabric wrapped around your legs and you get nice tan lines, plus, if you look good in them, it’s a win for everybody. But, just in case people thought I was strange, I made sure to only speak in French when necessary so that people thought I was just your usual European man on holiday. I basically am. I’m more French than I am American. My tanning time was up, so I got dressed to go the gym.

I don’t like gyms. I like my home gym, but I don’t like public gyms. I feel like a fool. What do all those machines do? Why are there so many buttons? Ooooo! Pretty mirrors! I used the treadmills first, because I know how to use them. I thought I did, anyway. This one had too many options. Why can’t Apple design everything? I understand their interfaces. I don’t understand all these options. I just wanted to go on a 5K jog–why was that so difficult? I don’t know what I was doing, but I was sweating profusely on a ridiculously high incline. Fifteen minutes later, I quit that and went to something that looked like a bicycle.

I couldn’t figure it out either, so I just peddled lamely for ten minutes before walking over to the stair climber. I couldn’t figure that one out either. I must have looked pathetic because the guy next to me finally told me what to do. It’s a dumb machine. I still don’t get it. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have a treadmill like set of stairs that were actual stairs instead of whatever the machine does?

I had dinner reservations at Citricos, so I wasn’t too bothered and hurried back to my room to get myself prettied up. I decided to dress like a little sailer in my new dark wash jeans and striped shirt from Monoprix. I walked over to Downtown Disney, bought myself a margarita, and strolled to the bus stop to pick up the bus to the Grand Floridian.

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I have an insane love for Spanish moss. It’s so gorgeous. I want to drape it over everything.

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I love it at the Grand Floridian. I will have to stay there next time. I had some time to kill, so I sat near the pianist and sang along to his Evita medley.

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I’m sorry, people, I cannot help but turn into Madonna when I hear “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina,” or “Buenos Aires,” or “Rainbow High,” or “You Must Love Me,” I even get a single tear. It’s great. Believe me. He seemed to really appreciate my joining him. It was probably the margarita. As I’ve told you before, margaritas make me the most delightful man in the world. He finished his set and it was time for me to go up to the restaurant. Let’s have some music first, though.

Oh sweet Jesus, I love that movie! I need to buy a copy and sing along soon. I also need to go to Buenos Aires–I know that I’ll love it, I have a strong and unreasonable knowledge of that.

I was delighted by Citricos from the onset. It’s gorgeous in a kind of forgotten way. It looks as if it’s stuck in the 90s, but not in an offensive way at all. The service is perfect and the food is delicious. I loved it. All the food was great, and I’m going to talk about it, but I have to say that the bread and butter that they served were divine. The breads are made onsite and are fabulous. The butter is excellent, too, I forgot to ask what brand, but it’s sprinkled with sea salt on top and is amazing. I could have spent the entire dinner gorging on bread and been perfectly content.

The menu is not very big, five options or so for each course. I had a cocktail while my food was being prepared.

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For the first course, I had arancini, which was perfect. If you don’t know, they’re basically fried balls of risotto. Amazing. These ones, this one actually, it was one big fried ball (BALL!) had mushroom risotto on the inside and was plated nicely atop some roasted tomato sauce. Enjoyed every bite.

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I was underwhelmed at first by the salad course, but I soon changed my mind. It didn’t look very exciting or interesting, but after I took a bite, I loved it. The greens were excellent. I haven’t had arugula that good since I grew it in my own garden. The beets were amazing. I’m baffled by how much I love beets. They are definitely going in the garden this year. These were sweet and soft and I want them right now. The blood orange was the smallest sliver of citrus I have ever seen, but it was also one of the best bites of citrus I’ve ever had. It was marvelous. A great course.

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For my entrée, I had seared tofu and a kind of deconstructed ratatouille for the base. The tofu seemed a bit like an afterthought. It could have been breaded or flavored in some way instead of just cut up and seared. But that wasn’t too important because the rest of the dish was so good and very flavorful. I was very happy with it.

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For dessert I chose the berry gratin and some Russian Earl Grey tea. I have been looking for this variety for months and was delighted to finally get a chance to try it. It wasn’t all that impressive actually, but I was glad to try it. It was like Earl Grey with a touch of grapefruit. I would have liked more grapefruit. The blend of Lady Earl Grey I have at home is still my favorite. The berry gratin was lovely. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries were layered between a Grand Marnier and champagne sabayon that is topped with sugar and caramelized. All of this is on a tuile and it’s just very nice. I don’t usually like to order a fruit for dessert, but I enjoyed it. Their signature dish is a banana dish, but I really don’t care for those. Oh well. I enjoyed myself very much, paid a ridiculous price, and went back out to the monorail.

The monorail was broken! I sat and I sat and I sat waiting for it to move before the driver came on and told us to give up and take a bus or a boat. Boats were allegedly the quickest way to get back to the Magic Kingdom. I wanted to go to Port Orleans for beignets, so I took that route.

IT WAS FREEZING OUT THERE, GUYS! It was 55 degrees and we were all shivering like it was 12. I would have been amused if I hadn’t been frozen myself. I’m cold well into the 70s. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

I met a family from New Jersey waiting in line for the boat who amused me intensely because they acted like they were caricatures of what a citizen of New Jersey should act like. It was like watching Jersey Shore: Where Are They Now? Obsessed! The boat took forever and a day, so when we finally were on board we were lucky (depends on your attitude) enough to see the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom from the middle of the lake. It was very pretty, but ridiculously cold.

2013-03-21 22.09.59I felt like this:

Remember when Very Mary Kate emailed me? I’ll refresh you:

very mkLife. Made.

Once we made a landing at the dock, the fireworks were just over, so there was a massive crush of people heading towards the bus. I mumbled, “SHIT! SHIT! SHIT!” and took off for the busses. I wanted some damn beignets. You know how it is. The bus took for effing ever, so I gave up and decided that I would settle for some drinking chocolate from Downtown Disney.

Annoyingly, but expectedly, the driver drove slower than a butterfly flutters and decided to do the drop offs in reverse order. My stop is normally the second, now it was the second to last. It was dark and he didn’t tell any of us this, so I and a bunch of other people got off on the second stop and then looked around like “the hell?” but he was long gone. I didn’t have time for this Scheiße, so I started running. I had to have that damn chocolate.

When I say run, I mean sprint. It was like the lamest episode ever of Amazing Race. I was scurrying around in the dark leaving confused bystanders in my wake, confusedly studying maps, googling my ass off to make sure the place was still open. Kind of fun actually–I hate to admit that I like running. So, I ran like a madman for about twenty minutes, calling Ghirardelli and Ma while I was out and about. If anything, I’m unbelievably talented at multitasking.

I made it with about ten minutes before closing, and I happily ordered my chocolate and went to sit outside to cool down. It was a chilly evening, but I was so thankful to be there. Back home, it was freezing. Here, not so much. This spontaneous trip was easily one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’m sure I mentioned that already, but it has done wonderful things for my mood. It’s also made me very very thoughtful, but that’s a story for another post.

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Waiting for my drink, I chatted on the phone with Jessica and annoyed the other patrons by repeatedly shouting, “YOLO!” Finally it arrived and I was in heaven. Drinking chocolate makes one think of hot chocolate, but no, this is much more delicious. It’s basically melted chocolate poured into a mug and it’s decadent and rich and impossible to finish. I have never finished a glass of it. Whenever I have it, I’m reminded of the field trip I went on with Le Cordon Bleu to Angelina’s in Paris on the Rue de Rivoli. It’s a very chic (and a bit overrated) shop where everybody goes, tourist or not. Even Karl’s been spotted there. Their pastries are “meh,” but their drinking chocolate is out of this world. I wish they served it in espresso shot sizes because you really can’t do too much more. I think I managed 3/4 of the mug this time before calling it quits and slowly walked back to my room singing the soundtrack to Mulan. 

The pool looked nice and even though it was cold, and it was my last night here so I decided to switch into my swimwear and swim some laps. Swimming is my favorite thing that I never get to do. This summer, I’ll probably end up going somewhere, I tend to do that, but if not, I’m buying one of those aboveground pools and will work on my tan and swimmer’s body. I have some work to do if I want to get into the Olympics. That’s a new goal. Bet you didn’t see that one coming. I’d rock a walking competition.

OMG, GUYS, RACEWALKING IS AN ACTUAL OLYMPIC EVENT. I’M GOING INTO TRAINING IMMEDIATELY. I hope I get a cute outfit and Nespresso sponsorship. Yes, I’ll do commercials.

I packed my things up and realized I should get a gold medal for that alone–I’m amazing when it comes to making everything fit into a carry-on. It’s a gift.

Good evening.

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