Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Thursday, 16 June 2016
Orlando is in the news quite a lot for the wrong reasons right now, eh?
I visited Orlando twice some years ago, but it was to work, not play like the rest of the Brits who were there in their thousands.
Not liking air-conditioning, I would leave the door to my Days Inn motel room slightly open every night, and every night an armed security officer would spot it, come up and ask me to please close it for my own safety. As soon as he had gone, I would open it again.
Then one day, I saw on the TV news that an English couple's car had been completely shot-up in the car park of the Days Inn next to mine, a half mile down the road. There must have been about 200 bullet holes in the thing. In those days, hire-cars had different plates, so were easy to spot. I closed the door to my room from then on.
Then one night, I was standing at the edge of the pedal-boat lake of my Days Inn, listening to the frog chorus, when I spotted a log slowly drifting toward me in the dark. Then I noticed that the log had eyes. Eyes that were fixed on me.
I went back to the Tiki Bar and told my old friend - the recently divorced, middle-aged, Californian barman - that I had just seen an alligator in the pond.
He asked how big it was, and I guessed around 7 or 8 feet, so he said, "We won't bother to report it. They will just shut the lake for a week or so, find the nearest alligator and kill it, then re-open the lake again. All these lakes are connected to the Everglades. You can never stop 'gators from going in and out occasionally."
Another evening, I was on the phone to H.I. (my AT&T bill was $800), when I saw a tornado twisting its way toward my little room. The clouds had come down in a black funnel, and debris could be seen being thrown skywards at its base. I told H.I. that I may have to get off the phone soon (and close the door), but the black snake just coiled itself up into the clouds again and peace returned.
I have never seen rain like Florida rain - rain of biblical proportions in which the road completely disappears and you are forced to stop the car as the water rises to the door-cill from the gushing fountains of the drain covers. Then it stops, the sun comes out, the steam rises and the humidity levels rise beyond a point which you had hitherto thought impossible.
I did not go to Disney World, but I did go to the more 'high-brow' Epcot on the recommendation of my client. I loved it, particularly the cinema which turned into a train which took you back 180,000,000 years to a place where dinosaurs breathed on the back of your neck as you passed by. All funded by oil money, of course.
I wandered through the area which contains a little piece of almost every country in the world, and I spotted an English pub. I could not resist going in and having a look.
It was absolutely typical of the generic sort of London pub which I avoid when in London, and it was full of English men, drinking bad English beer (the good stuff does not travel) and talking English in English accents.
They looked relieved to be magically sent back home for an hour or two, to stand around and forget they were in the U.S.A. as the rest of their families visited China, Japan, India, etc.