Back from Florida

April 28, 2009

N and I returned from Florida last night.  All in all, a great trip.

We took a red-eye flight on Tuesday night, arriving in Orlando Wednesday morning.  We rented a car, drove out to Daytona Beach, checked into our hotel and spent the rest of the day resting. 

On Thursday, we spent most of the morning/early afternoon on the beach.  Our hotel was right on the water and had a really nice patio/tikki bar area complete with fire pits and Adirondack chairs.  After lazy beach time, we went for a run along the water.  Then, we went to a casual dinner at the bride’s family’s house.

Friday, we drove back to Orlando and spent about five hours at the Magical Kingdom, one of the parks in Disney World.  We saw some truly amazing temper tantrums.  Then, it was back to Daytona Beach.  We had a really good dinner at the hotel restaurant and then joined a bunch of people in the wedding at a bar.  We stayed there until three in the morning and by the end, there was some serious drunken emotion flowing.  I love you, man . . .

Saturday morning, we ran some errands, including checking out the Daytona Beach farmers’ market.  Books about decorating with vintage stuff always gush about what a great place farmers’ markets are for finding one-of-a-kind treasures, but all I ever find are lots of cheap new goods.  Lame.  

When we returned to the hotel, I donned my racing suit and headed to the beach for a swim workout.  It didn’t go so well – the tide was coming in so the ocean was too rough for swimming.  Then, I tried the hotel pool and it felt like bath water.  It was SO warm I couldn’t keep it up.  It wasn’t refreshing at all – I can’t figure out why anyone would want to swim in it.

That night was the wedding that took us out to Florida in the first place.  Everything was beautiful in a very typical wedding way.  The reception was pretty tame despite a well-stocked, hosted bar.  We left by 10:30.

Our flight back to Seattle left at 6am the next morning, so we woke up at 3am – it takes about 90 to drive from DB to Orlando.  At about 3:15, we were stopped at a stop light and our rental car simply turned off.  We tried to start it again but the engine wouldn’t turn over.  N wound up pushing the car into a nearby parking lot.

We called the rental car company – Thrifty and told them what happened.  They had to send a tow truck out from Orlando to pick us up because the one they contracted with in DB only had room for one passenger. The dispatch person at Thrifty was in Oklahoma somewhere  and not in the same time zone as us.  He kept saying, “We’ll try to get you to your flight on time.”  We kept responding with, “Um . . . that’s impossible.”  The guy persisted in being foolishly optimistic.

We spent the next hour and a half at Waffle House while we waited for the tow truck.  Interesting place at 4 in the morning.  The truck finally showed up and drove us and the car back to the rental car office.  We then had to wait another 30 minutes for a manager to show up since the guy on duty was not authorized to give refunds and we certainly were not going to pay for a car that broke down and made us miss our flight.  Luckily, when the manager did show up, he immediately refunded us the full cost of the rental.

Delta was pretty great about getting us on another flight.  We wound up home just five hours later than we would have if we made the original flight.  We finally got home at about 6pm west coast time, 18 hours after we started traveling.  Not surprisingly, we slept like logs last night.

I read a customer satisfaction study once that concluded the end of a transaction can color the whole experience for a person.  For example, if I went to a restaurant and had a great bowl of soup, an amazing dinner and then an awful desert, it would negatively affect my recollection of the whole meal.  Likewise, if I had so-so soup, a mediocre entree but the best dessert I’d ever tasted, I would remember the whole meal as better. 

I think the same must be true of travelling.  I logically know that I had a lot of fun on the whole trip, but when I think of it, mostly I just feel tired.

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