North America · 35 Days · 29 Moments · August 2017

Derek & Monica go to Florida (again!)

10 September 2017

Checked out Residence Inn at 11 A.M. and headed to Sawgrass Mills for some last minute shopping. Somehow Monica managed to put everything into the only suitcase with any space whatsoever. Bought lunch and headed to airport. Was unable to programme the car rental area into the GPS But we followed the signs and found it spot on. Rented a trolley for $5 for luggage and took the elevator to the bus level. At terminal 4 we got a porter. Saw Betty Austin and Tony in the airport waiting for the same flight we were on and we said hi. Flew home. Smooth flight. Landed at 10:30 pm. Walking through the in bond area we saw our little ATM machine and thought we would take out more US$. But it was out of service. Home by 2 am. End of adventure

31 August 2017

Road Trip! Back to Fort Lauderdale. First, outlet mall, then to Walmart to ship my light sabre. We stopped at two service station, Fort Drum and Port St. Lucie. Checked into Residence Inn close to Broward Mall, then went off to Broward Mall for some food.

30 August 2017

Last full day in Orlando. Some shopping at outlet mall. We went to Magic Kingdom and stayed for fireworks. Had to take the steamboat across the lagoon since the monorail was out of service. View of the castle from the steamboat is always nice. Took the train to fantasyland. Funny story. Every time I end up holding Monica's big Victoria Secrets bag security makes comments "shop at VC often?" The VC bag turned out quite well. It keeps the water or salads cold for a long time.

29 August 2017

Back to outlet mall and Florida Mall. Coffee at La Madeleine. Monica wanted to look a glasses frames but did not see any she looks liked.

27 August 2017

Bought Popeyes chicken on Sand Lake. Epcot! Had lunch in the nice little restaurant outside Soaring. This black dude next to us with his family wanted to know where we got Popeyes. Had a blast though it rained and we had to buy raincoats. Soaring again, then went to England and France before enjoying the laser show over the lake. Had coffee and cake in the little French patisserie, then Shopped for souvenirs. Bought a cup in France for Mom but the bag it was in slipped from Monica's hand and the cup broke. We went to buy a new one and Monica mentioned that the first one fell and broke. AND DISNEY REPLACED IT FOR FREE!! This place is truly the happiest place on earth.
We're back on the grid, baby! Monica celebrated by calling RBC bank and giving them some harsh words when she tried and failed to get US$ from an ATM in Walmart, where we went to buy the suitcase we stashed the night before. RBC says the daily limit is US$180, which is what led to Monica's strong words with a bank employee. The bank employee was probably like "When is this bitch's phone card going to run out? She's fucking berating me from Florida!" Bought Popeyes chicken on Sand Lake to take to Epcot

26 August 2017

Premium Outlet Mall. Rain. So we're trapped sheltering under a shed and there's like one bench. And the occupants of the one bench are like "Hey...the flood waters will have to get a lot higher before we give up this bench!!" Still got lots of shopping done. So Monica and I have perfected "coffee while shopping". Everyone, Starbucks, etc makes coffee too strong for Monica. So we walk with extra styrofoam cups and hot water in a thermos in my backpack. Pour out half the coffee into one day f my styrofoam cups and dilute Monica's coffee with hot water. Now we have two cups of coffee.
Well back to the Premium Outlet Mall to exchange some stuff a for more shopping. Then to Florida Mall. Coffee at La. Madeleine. Then to Walmart to scope out suitcases. We still not sure we need another job be so we hid one that we liked behind another so no one would spot it and buy it. These Americans shop like crazy. We fell off the grid with the our phone showing "no service" 😱. When we landed we automatically hooked in to AT&T but now we're out in the cold. Had to call on Eastlyn and Bryan to call b mobile and work out the problem.

25 August 2017

HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS!! Great day. Went to Indiana Jones show. Monica chickened out of Star Tours so I went alone. Stayed for fireworks and bought a light sabre. Decided to skip going back to Epcot and come back on Monday since we had such a good time!

24 August 2017

Epcot. Our favorite restaurant next to Soaring. We did Soaring and the Epcot globe. The new Soaring is great. Tried to do the Ellen ride but they have discontinued it. 😥😥

23 August 2017

Back to Florida mall. Schools are open and the mall is far less crowded. A leisurely day after Disney yesterday. Monica keeps having trouble with her credit card. The chip is malfunctioning. We called the bank tonight and they said they will reset it remotely and we should try it today. Up here they think Monica and I are some sort of dark Spanish or latin and they always trying to speak Spanish to us. Picture this..a spanishy looking couple (us) ordering pizza from a Spanish speaking woman. The guy (me) shakes his head and goes "I can't understand a word she is saying. Let's talk to the brother." The black guy behind the counter, perhaps seeing the irony, smiles and helps us out.

22 August 2017

DISNEY! Collected Disney tickets and off to Disney. We took the monorail in. Went to haunted mansion and pirates. Fireworks over the castle. They've done away with the electric parade however. Had coffee in our favorite air conditioned restaurant. Monica and I have been saving a lot of money by packing snacks and cappuccino coffee packs in our bags to go to the malls and parks. Walmart after. Ugh! Crowded with long lines. Bed after 2 am

21 August 2017

Premium outlet mall today. Tried to get Disney tickets but prices are over US$800 for two. Otherwise you get a good deal for attending a seminar. Disney Springs at around 8 pm but Monica was tired and we just walked around a bit. Bought Disney tickets online. $745 for five days from the Orlando Visitors Center. Good saving.

20 August 2017

Another bad night. Aircon in bedroom still not working properly. Maintenance came and this guy seemed to know more than yesterday's guy because he climbed up on his ladder and poked the vents open. Feels much better. Back to Florida mall. Started with coffee at La Madeleine. More people there this time. The guy remembered us and told the cashier we needed an extra cup for hot water. Then shopping. Ended the day with coffee from La Madeleine. We left the mall with the sun setting on the horizon. Better night tonight as Aircon worked. Except that Mon does not want to put unit below 76 degrees.

19 August 2017

Bad night. Aircon in bedroom not working properly. Maintenance guy came but he did not do much good. Florida Mall! First off lunch in their fancy food court. Then to the...get this...Christmas store! Bought some overpriced stuff! Discovered a cosy little 'French' coffee shop at the far end of the food court. Starbucks up here is so over rated. Especially when a voice comes on in the bathroom of the French cafe and teaches you French. Lol! Walmart after the mall. Crazy crowded, with looong lines. Weekend before school opens

18 August 2017

Well first off the air condition in the room is giving trouble. However the room is fantastic. 14th floor. Two bathrooms, and the usual kitchen, living room and dining room. View is great. Here is a pic of sunrise over the lake. Also, the hotel, and the pool from our 14th floor room. Lol Monica refuses to look over the balcony. We called maintenance about the aircon
ROAD TRIP!! Checked out hotel at Vacation Village and gassed up the car. We needed a 1/4 tank and I gave the clerk $25 but the car only took $10 so got change. Back to Sawgrass for some last minute buys, returns and exchanges. Had coffee and breadsticks at Cinnabon. Then we programmed Dorothy and set out. Dorothy wanted to take a long unfamiliar route to the Turnpike but o overrode her and took Sunrise Blvd. Her was was probably the best route because we got traffic. On the turnpike the going was good. We stopped at West Palm Beach service plaza for lunch and Port St. lucid for coffee. Reached Blue Heron hotel in Orlando by 6.30 pm. Went to Walgreens for cold tablets and had buffalo wings for dinner. Washed clothes.

17 August 2017

Well, day three of shopping at Sawgrass Mills. I took out more cash from my VTM card. So far I've taken out $1,300 and used it as a debit card to buy shoes for $95. Observation. Women shop different from men. Women willing to go though the racks diligently and methodically. With men it's got to be in your face there on the shelf or on hangers. We take a few minutes, see what we want and go for it. If we don't see what we want it ain't there, cause we not willing to spend too much time looking. Went till late and left the mall after nine. We bought dinner at the mall to have at hotel. Started packing. Road trip tomorrow.

16 August 2017

Lol! Monica thought I was a sorcerer. She's on the balcony and I'm there. Then she goes through the living room into the bedroom and I'm there to. She didn't know the balcony had a door into the bedroom as well as the living room. Here are more pic of the room. Notice the hot tub in the middle of the bedroom. So back to Sawgrass today, day two. Wonder if Monica is going to make me drag a suitcase around to stow our purchases. Well no. We decided to park the car outside Bed Bath and Beyond which is in the middle of the mall and therefore easier to drop off shopping bags during the day. We started slow, opting out the stores. School is still out so the mall is still crowded. Lots of people speaking foreign languages, mostly Spanish. But very cosmopolitan. Indians, Chinese, European, and of course Cuban. Finally found an ATM to give me cash from my VTM card. Took $500.
Meanwhile, back home... Sabre..."Coco, are they coming for us today?" Coco..."Not today." Sabre..."Well when?" Coco..."In like in two weeks." Sabre..."Coco..." Coco..."What..." Sabre..."How long is two weeks?" Coco..."Stop pestering me!" Sabre..."Coco?" Coco..."Grhhh!" Sabre..."When are we getting snacks?"
Day two continued. Did I mention how obsessed these people are about alligators? This poster is in the food court. Okay these people do not know how to build a Starbucks. Back home you have lots of seating to sit and enjoy your coffee and cake. Here in the mall, no seating in Starbucks, only about four seats which are always taken. We're not that loyal to the brand. We went back to the food court for coffee. Home a bit late after a brief visit to Walmart. The toilet is giving trouble to flush but Captain America came by to fix it.

15 August 2017

Well, first day at Sawgrass Mills. Went late. After 1:30 pm. Entered at one end near Rainforest Cafe and made our way to the food court on the far end, shopping along the way and looking at potential buys. Monica copied the style off a mannequin, buying the jacket, the top and the shoes. I bought a couple of timberland jerseys. These people are obsessed with alligators. Here is me poising with a female of the species wearing a bikini. She looks hott! Meanwhile, Monica made friends with a frog at the Rainforest Cafe. So practically everyone in the mall is using their wheeled luggage to cart around their purchases, or have rented trolleys. Monica asked a store clerk where to get the trolleys and she's like "girl that's gonna cost you ten bucks a day! Bring your suitcase that has wheels!" And I'm like "And I'm the idiot who'll be carting around a suitcase in the mall!" No just kidding I didn't say that. Went back to Walmart after to get a few things. Home before 9:30 pm

14 August 2017

Went Broward Mall for dinner after landing. Nice small mall. Been here before. Then to hotel. Some trouble (major understatement) finding our room in the dark because the place is laid out in different buildings and yes someone refused to ask for directions. It's a man thing okay!! Deal with it. The room is fantastic with a living room, dining area and kitchen, and a separate bedroom. We put our stuff in and it was after nine pm by then but we headed off to Walmart to get some grocery items. The Walmart next to Sawgrass Mills mall. Dorothy (our aging GPS) is still at her best, getting us to places accurately and with an air of condescension.
FLIGHT whoa! Rough flight!! ✈️🛩🛬🛫. Captain says weather system at all altitudes so it makes no sense changing altitude to try to get out of it. I think his navigation system was shot because SOMEONE (Monica) did not put her iPad on plane mode. So it was rock and roll baby! Okay out of it (the storm) and will be descending soon for landing. Drive all the way west over the Everglades then turn east to come in for landing. And touchdowns! On to get the car. Neat midsize Elantra. The registration # is "360 two oranges XRW"
AIRPORT OMG!! We found a little secret USD ATM machine on the way to our boarding gate! Mon and I each took out US$200. We're rich!!

11 August 2017

Had to drop my boy (and Coco) to vet for boarding. 😪
GETTING LEAVE Uhm...Yes boss, I've finished all my work. You can go ahead and approve my vacation leave. Why do I keep looking at my bookshelf? reason...just admiring the design.

10 August 2017

GETTING LEAVE OMG I will never finish all this work in time to go on vacation! Plan B - hide it all behind my bookshelf...

7 August 2017

PLANNING So it's that time again. Vacation!! Where shall we go? I know...Florida! Okay okay I get it we always go there...but that's where we're going so screw you! Monica says we have to be packed by tomorrow. Clothes are being washed. Decisions being made about clothes to carry. Our motto: don't carry too much because we will buy stuff up there. Plan - three days in Fort Lauderdale (August 15 to 17) and twelve days in Orlando (August 19 to 30). Also four travel days. By the way Samantha and family will be in Orlando for ten days from August 11 but I doubt we can meet up with them.