Reflecting on the vacation

The vacation was great. In the last two weeks we travelled 3500 miles by sea and almost 20,000 miles by air. Flying with an airline such as Delta simply sucks (SAA is worse) and you naturally lower your expectations to an all-time low to be pleasantly surprised (such as when the salted peanuts are really salted ;)).

During the two weeks we covered Ft. Lauderdale (walked the city in 1 1/2 days – can highly recommend The Cheesecake Factory and The Butterfly World). Everything else is pretty much “american”. The Discovery Museum did not really have much to discover and by accident we bumped into Body Worlds, a traveling exhibition of preserved human bodies and body parts that are prepared using a technique called plastination to reveal inner anatomical structures. Body Worlds was awesome (especially the “plastination” of a complete human’s arteries and blood vessels), but strangely enough all bodies were asian.

The only decent beer to drink anywhere in the US is Sam Adams – and no, Miller Light or Bud Light is not beer!

The highlight of our trip was obviously the 7-day cruise on the Caribbean Princess and I was amazed on how the cruise-staff manages the logistics of 3000 passengers. On our last stop, they ferried via tender-boats 3000 passengers ashore to Princess Cays for a beach barbeque!!! Everything was running very smooth and well organized. The checkin and boarding of the ship was done in 10(!) minutes (compare that to the concentration-camp-like rubber-glove searches at the US airports) – although many of the events had queues, it was never unbearable.

While in the US, we
– visited Ft. Lauderdale (Beach Place, Discovery Museum, Butterfly World, Body Worlds)
– explored Ft. Lauderdale by foot (did 15 miles on day 1 and another 12 miles on day 2)
– visited Bubba Gump (the Forest Gump fans will now what this is)
– hired a rental and got flipped off by a 80 year old granny (also learned that in the US you can turn right if the lights are red)
– went through the complete cocktail menu of the Mariott Harbour beach hotel (learned that they are skimpy on the alcohol)
– got addicted to Starbucks coffee (tall Caramel Machiatto) and also pondered if Wimpy coffee would be an equal substitute
– found weird food combinations (learned that sweet potatoes are just normal roasted potatoes with melted marshmallows (!) on top – WTF)
– determined that South African food is so much better (also learned that TGI Friday’s and many other fast food outlets offer bottomless sodas – you buy a cup and can drink as much coke as you like)
– pondered why we get strip-searched on airports while any terrorist can just walk into any big-ticket venue such as Seaworld and blow up 1000 people in the Shamu show
– visited Seaworld in Orlando. Seaworld was not really interesting enough, should have spent two days in Orlando and visited the Space Centre and Disney instead.
– saw a family of seven in Seaworld (not unusual, except that all of them wore bright yellow neon-shirts).
– cruised on the Caribbean Princess and got married on board
– met Nick Maley (the creator of Yoda in Starwars) and did an outride in the ocean in St. Maarten
– took part in a cancer awareness 5km walk on the ship (and also accidently bumped into an AIDS awareness walk in Ft. Lauderdale)
– went scuba diving with turtles (where I got into crap for touching a turtle – call me turtle-king)
– did donuts on a 700HP jet-boat
– lowered the average age to 80 on the cruise-ship during the daily Bingo-game (also learned not to make a mistake to avoid performing the public chicken dance)
– managed not to rock up for formal dinners and got shocked looks from fellow passengers (also learned, that seasoned “cruisers” are there for the free food and not the entertainment / activities)
– finished the complete cocktail menu on the cruise-liner (Rum Runners and 3-berry daiquiris rock; also learned that 2 large Rum Runners make you very happy in a very short period of time)
– got rubber-glove searched in Ft. Lauderdale on the way home
– pissed off a custom official for not registering a laptop (also learned, that when he really gets upset and is about to confiscate your laptop, you produce your receipt to really make his day)

Now that I am back in South Africa, I can openly say, that the US sucks… big time. People wanting to emigrate, should think again. First off, 90% of their population seems to be completely stupid and lazy. I have never seen so many obese people in wheelchairs to allow them to be mobile. Americans are also obsessed with signs — there are signs in showers to caution you of possibly hot water (what the fuck?) or signs in toilets to remind you that you should wash your hands for 20 seconds.

People complain about Bush, but yet, it was the same people who voted for the idiot twice. While waiting in the Delta Crown lounge in Atlanta, I watched CNN’s propaganda for the primaries between Hillary and Obama. I was fascinated watching a press-conference from Clinton where she proudly announced that the US needs to fight China, because China is the biggest producer of magnets. Yes magnets! The reasoning for this? WTF… Magnets are used on missiles — and that’s why. (I know, you will also struggle to understand the motive of this — neither did the other business-class lounge visitors — except one guy who proudly announced that the communists are again stealing US-trade secrets). (Don’t need to remind anyone, that when Bush started as president, oil was 27 dollars to the barrel)

I am glad to be back in RSA and an overseas trip like the recent one, really makes you appreciate your life more.

(If you wonder about the 4th picture above: Yes, this is a US-tour group on a Segway excursion, and yes, they are wearing hair-nets under their helmets – WTF?)

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