Friday, September 19, 2008

Welcome to Orlando

I neglected to mention that this past week I have actually been in Orlando. I'm here on business, and you'll notice that there are no travel photos accompanying this post. This is because Orlando is...not the least bit interesting.

To put it simply, unless you are here for Sea World or Disney World, Orlando is quite miserable. There is no culture. There is no art. There is no nature. It is basically a gigantic cesspool of anywherevill with urban sprawl the likes of which not even a Texan has seen. It was a $70 cab ride from the airport. You have to take 10 mile rides to the nearest anything. Everything is a chain. Denny's, CVS, and anything else that would make you wonder why you ever bothered to leave home to experience new things.

I tried actually walking to dinner tonight to the local TGI-Mc"Fun"sters or whatever the hell pseudo-character-filled restaraunt Brinker International has deamed up , and I would place the experience somewhere between taking Bunker Hill and sailing aboard the Titanic. To start, I learned there are no sidewalks. This is because the first rule of the cesspool is you do not walk in the cesspool. There is also nothing remotely close to anything else. I had to hack through corporate nature for miles, which usually consisted of landscaping involving anything that drinks too much water and has a lot of spikes (palm trees, for example). When I finally got to what was supposed to be the place, I found out it wasn't actually a real restaurant. It was a small office-version sitting inside a corporate campus, which was now closed. It took a 15 mile cab ride to get to the next nearest place to eat.

The place is so bad, my own hotel even employed its own urban sprawl within urban sprawl! My room was - I kid you not - a two mile hike from the lobby. They have to run gasoline-powered golf carts to take guests to any of the rooms sprawled across their land. And this was a Hilton! It must have taken 30 minutes each way every time I needed to go to the lobby for something.

Despite all this, I'm actually enjoying my trip. I love being on vacation and staying in hotels. This will, however, be the first place I've ever traveled where I am intentionally not going on a photography expedition and have no desire to do so. It is a weird feeling watching television in a hotel room and actually getting a full night's sleep. I have never done this before. I'm enjoying it.

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