I know what you’re thinking: “‘Twirly Tries a Vacation’? Isn’t Twirly Tries It supposed to be for new experiences?” You’re right, of course. But this was a new experience; it was my first real vacation with my husband, other than our honeymoon. Ten days away, with no pager and no blogging. Anything can be a first when you’ve been married less than a year, right?
This was also my first real experience with the American south. I recognize how silly that sounds. I’m twenty two years old, and the furthest south that I’ve ever been (by car) was probably my own apartment in Annandale. But this trip shattered that little record.
We started by visiting Ryan’s extended family in South Carolina. It was a relief for me to interact with them without a wedding going on around us. They’re all sweet and supportive, and they love swapping stories. One aunt even asked me about books!
I once had a professor who said, “Maine is weird. Weird weather, weird landscape–it makes for weird people.” Well, the weird thing about South Carolina, at least in my thinking, is that they like everything sweetened there. Ryan tried an array of sweet teas and lemonades, and I nearly choked on a latte with added sugar. Sugar in a latte! Can you believe it?
We drove to Universal Studios next, stopping in Georgia for gas and supper. I never knew that there were palm trees in Georgia! My whole life has been a lie.
I won’t bore you with the details of our four days in the park or a review of Cabana Bay Resort. I will simply point out that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is my entire childhood in one location, and that being referred to as “Weasley” might be one of the greatest things ever.
Also, ferris wheels are cool–in the case of the Orlando Eye, literally; the compartments are air conditioned. And Madame Tussaud’s wax figures made me feel very uncomfortable.
We spent the last leg of our trip in Pensacola, visiting Ryan’s brother and his wife. This was easily the most relaxing part of the trip. We went to a beer festival on Saturday, where everything tasted like urine. (Well, everything except the pomegranate wine sample.) The food was good, so I’ve forgiven that much. And on Sunday we went to brunch and got actual mimosas! followed by a trip to Barnes and Noble.
If I can get away with it, I’m never going to Florida in the summer again. It is brutally hot and the humidity feels like swimming in quicksand. Even the early mornings and the nights are eighty degrees! I grew up in Massachusetts; you’ll have to forgive me for expecting the dark times of day to be cooler than the light ones.
The boat ride back from the festival was beautiful. The sun was setting, pregnant rain clouds cooling us from above. The water all around us rippled varying shades of green and blue. When I closed my eyes, the boat swayed and jumped beneath me, soaring over left-behind waves, wind flowing over me. And my whole body slowed down. This is vacation. Lounging in the bow of a boat filled with people that you love. All the right sensations. And a hint of nostalgia, as memories of other boat rides seep in–of cousins and ice cream and summer camp, knee boarding and water skiing, tubing and friends. This is vacation: escaping the constant screaming of pagers and cleaning, and drowning oneself in the thrum of a boat engine, the whooshing of the wind, and the laughter of others.