‘It’s a small world after all’

I’m fortunate enough to get to do some traveling throughout the year, and now that I live in a “big city,” I realize how small the world has become.

When I stepped on my first airplane 15 years ago (ironically, to come to the same city I’m in), it really was like landing on a different planet. There were so many things to see and do — so many stores and restaurants that just weren’t available to me at home. The travel bug had bitten me.

These days, I’m rolling through stores and thinking, meh, I’ll order it online. Suitcase space is at a premium because, unlike the old days, I’ve got to accommodate a laptop, camera, iPhone, and chargers for each. Hell, electronics get their own suitcase. But that’s the good thing about it — I can find a Disney store at my local mall and online. Sure, perhaps the cutest stuff is in the theme park shops, but if I go home and wish I’d gotten something, I *can* get it.

And when I get hungry, again it’s like “meh.” I try to look for things that I can’t get at home. Not that I go to the Planet Hollywoods and Hard Rock Cafes of the world by choice, but I COULD if I wantetd to. Instead, I chose to eat at Tutto Italia in Epcot’s World Showcase and have the best glass of wine a girl could enjoy there. (Incidentally, everyone in the Italy section of Epcot’s World Market is required to speak with an Italian accent. Even the Asian waiter. Talk about being in character.)

My hotel has a stunning view of Sizzler, Shoney’s, IHOP and Waffle House. Now, most aren’t available to me at home, but I don’t really care about those. 😉 I just hope that folks don’t arrive here from Idaho and think *wow* that must be some good Southern eatin’! (I admit I did partake of the Waffle House — I call it the colonic of the South, although that was yesterday and I’m still waitin’.)

I once thought this city was too big, too fast, too unfriendly. Now I’m used to it. Six-lane highways don’t bother me anymore. I’m impatient now, too. I’ve had more than one hotel worker ask me if I’m from New York. (Was it my awesome matching luggage in a color other than black or the fact that I abhor INVISIBLE COMPETENCE?

Y’all might have heard my rent check bouncing in D.C. as I decided to go on an unbudgeted theme park extravaganza. I did Epcot, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. I’m not a theme-park girl but hey, it beats working. 😉

What’s also different now is that if I want to do something, I do it. I think I did my last Orlando adventure for about $400 — and that was saving up for several months because I made four bucks an hour. This trip was a total whim and I spent that much on the hotel before I even got here. No doubt I’ve spent that much on cabs and theme park tickets, too.

But the film on France at Epcot made it worth it. (The usher was awesome — in his fake French accent, he wished us “Buenos Noches” as we exited the theater. Hah!)

Last night, dinner was at Universal’s City Walk. And yes, I’m 8 years old and say “Shitty Wok” like they do on “South Park” every time I see a sign for it. Heh. 😉 I was between Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville or Bubba Gump’s Shrimp. Co. I opted for Bubba Gump because the drink menu was better, oddly enough.

It’s good to be a grown-up; I mean, I’ll be doing some VERY creative financing to recover from this trip, but at least I can. I figure, I’ve been pretty unhappy for the past five months, and not spending if I didn’t need to. This week? I needed to!

But no good times go unpunished, unfortunately. I managed to twist my ankle somewhere in there too, which is awesome because I have to wear heels for the rest of the trip. ARGH.

My foot is swollen and I had to take off my toe ring (I can’t find where I threw it, either.) I had to break down and buy a pair of Crocs, those ugly motherfuckers, and let me tell you — those are the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned. Of course I paid premium Disney prices for them, but insofar as souvenirs go, getting the feeling back into the bottom of my feet is a win. Unfortunately, that feeling is PAIN, but if I can wait till I get back to D.C. to seek medical attention, I suppose I will live.

I must have walked 40 miles in a brigade of boots, flip-flops, cheap Wal-Mart sneakers and now finally mah Crocs. My grandmother used to insist on buying good shoes, but I became the poor man’s Imelda Marcos and if there were no Payless or DSW, I’d never be able to afford them. But for saying I own about 120 pairs, I cannot name one that makes me look AND feel good. Perhaps Gram was on to something after all — she always said you can always buy new shoes, but you can’t buy new arches. I get it now. After this trip, where I’m ready to cut off my feet at the ankle, her advice finally makes sense.

Anyway, the fun ends first thing tomorrow. I’m doing some laundry now (who the fuck doesn’t put a change machine in the laundry room? I had to cart my gutchies and laptop around the hotel to find someone who could give me five bucks in quarters!) and am hoping for the best for the rest of the week.

But at least I had a couple of days of sun and fun and good food. And I’m not allowed to complain about going back to being overworked, because that’s what’s going to pay for this epic adventure after all. 😉

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