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We were up early today to catch our flight down to Florida. It seems strange that we are finally going as it is something we have talked about for so long. The alarm went off while it was still dark and we packed up our last few bits and headed out into the cold morning. Not having been used for a couple of days, Morty felt cold inside and the engine took a few minutes to warm up and get going.

As it is Sunday and early in the morning, the roads in town were relatively quiet but the motorway was still pretty busy. Stef was navigating while I drove and it seemed like we were going for ages before we finally turned off for the airport. We found the open lot long stay car park and had timed it just right to get the shuttle bus to the terminal. I felt a bit daft walking around in my sandals and socks on a cold autumnal Canadian morning.

We checked in quickly as we only had hand luggage and then went through the formalities of US customs and immigration. They are a gruff old bunch of officials. No smiles or “good mornings” from any of them just a grim faced fulfilment of their duties. We were fingerprint checked yet again (I still hate that) and before long were through to the departure gates. With time to spare we went to get some breakfast in a nautically themed café. Our bacon and cheese bagels were cold by the time we arrived and the bacon was in very short supply, much to Stef’s chagrin.

As we were relatively early for check in we had managed to get seats by the exit row and had loads of legroom. Stef did his usual and zonked out pretty much as soon as we got on board. I had picked up a copy of today’s Sunday Observer (pretty impressive that they have it in Canada in time for morning flights) and spent the flight reading the Sunday paper. At Orlando, we had expected to have to go through lots of security controls and checks again but there were none and we just walked out through to departures, starting to peel off layers in the heat.

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Relaxing by the pool

Caz and husband Andy had come to meet us and big hugs were exchanged all round before heading off to the house they have rented from the parents of one of Ben’s friends. Driving from the airport down to Kissimee we passed big longs stretches of mall type shopping and eating  interspersed with big housing developments that looked like they were primarily geared towards holiday homes. The place we were staying was just the same. It was a large house that could sleep ten with its own private pool and jacuzzi in the garden covered by a big framed bug barrier.

They had had a very long journey to get here yesterday and we all spent the afternoon soaking in the pool, drinking gin and tonics and adjusting to the humidity. It felt pretty muggy, not as bad as some of the places we went to in Ecuador, but if this is what it is like at the end of October the summer months must be unbearable. As the day wore on the wind started to pick up and then at about six it started to rain, hard. We watched the water pouring onto the street outside accompanied by flashes of lightning and the odd rumble of thunder. This was the start of Hurricane Wilma passing by.

Despite the bad weather we decided to eat out and headed for the local Red Lobster. There was a queue of people waiting to get in and our expected less than an hour wait was more than an hour. When we finally got to our table it was then another hour before food arrived. Stef and I were surrounded by four very tired looking people who all desperately wanted to get to bed. The food when it arrived was not great and to add insult to injury they overcharged us into the bargain. Needless to say, there will not be a repeat visit to the Red Lobster!