Sunday, 28 March 2010

Sunday 28th March 2010

OK, now I know certain people reading this will be aware that today was Sunday, and the Mormon thing is not to go shopping, eat out or otherwise do weekday things on the Sabbath. Well, we did consider surviving only on oatmeal and water but:

a) We didn't yet know whether it was OK to drink the tap water, and
b) Gwen and I had already been to Walgreen's at 3 a.m. so we figured, in for a penny in for a pound. (Cent/dollar?)

So we headed to McDonald's for breakfast where the variety of choice was mind-boggling, but I ended up with a breakfast burrito which was about as far from a traditional breakfast as it's possible to get, to my mind. But very nice all the same.

Then on to Wal-mart so that we would have food to eat for the next two weeks. On the plane on the way over we had been shown a charity appeal which opened by saying that one in five American children did not know where the next meal was coming from. I found that very hard to believe at the time, but now I know why. We spent $250 and everything except sushi (which we didn't buy) was much more expensive than it is at home. Which is odd, because on previous visits I remember it all being cheaper. Hubby Dearest put it down to the exchange rate, and the lack of supermarket own-brand items. Although Wal-mart did have a "Great Value" range - which we stuck to whenever possible - it really wasn't as cheap as the Tesco Value and Sainsbury's Basics we usually buy.

Anyway, we are now stocked for, hopefully, at least the next week, and have a wonderful range of things we can't get at home, including:

- Corn dogs
- Marshmallow fluff
- Froot loops
- Corn muffin mix
- Cinnamon toast crunch
- Ranch dressing
- Frozen fruit juice concentrate
- Lemonade mix
- Reeses Peanut Butter cups

Could't get tinned chopped tomatoes for some reason. But American butter really does come in little sticks. Who knew?

So we came home, unpacked, had corn dogs for lunch, changed, and headed off for church having programmed the location of the chapel into our trusty satnav. It was good to have a friendly English voice guide us to where we needed to be but partway into the journey I realised he was conning us, and we were going in completely the wrong direction. We ended up about ten miles away because the TomTom, not recognising the address, had decided to substitute a similar one and took us instead to the Hope Church of Orlando. I wonder what I should read into that? Our SatNav is Evangelical?

Anyway, we ignored its protests all the way back down John Young Parkway. We arrived half-an-hour late to what turned out to be Pleasant Hill Ward's Ward conference. But we still got to hear two and a half very good speakers, and even got a Disney metaphor. ("If you don't go through the turnstile and wait in the line for Space Mountain, you don't get to ride Space Mountain.")

On the way back it started to rain. A lot. Rain that would do Britain proud. It was as though Florida's entire rain allowance for the year had been flung on us for just that afternoon. And there was thunder and lightning in abundance too. Luckily I happen to know that a car is the safest possible place to be in a storm (Faraday cage, rubber tyres), but even so it was quite spooky when we heard a sudden loud bang and flash from the central reservation just two metres from our car and realised that lightning had struck the ground just just off our port side. If someone was cross with us for going to Wal-mart on the Sabbath, then He missed.

Anyway, we spent a lot of the rest of the afternoon in our timeshare, so perhaps this is a good time to talk about how wonderful it is. It's open plan, nicely decorated and well equipped. There's a laundry area with a great big American washer and dryer, and bathroom with a little tiny American bath - but we also have a full size jacuzzi bath in our ensuite. I bathed the children in it before we went out for the day. Not having had one before, I didn't know that you had to fill it above all the openings, so when I switched it on Hari and Ceri got squirted with three enthusiastic jets of water. When I had picked myself up off the ground and finished laughing, I switched it off again and filled the bath the rest of the way up.

By evening the rain had been downgraded from downpour to drizzle and the lightning had stopped, so we decided to go for a swim in the pool. Splashing across the car park in swimsuits and flipflops we ran into a German family on the way back from the pool area. "It's locked," they told us, and we shared a moment of disbelief with our European neighbours at the idea that the resort management would decide to close the outdoor pool just because it was 7 p.m. and raining.

Nothing to do in the evening but eat all the interesting food we had bought. Reese's peanut butter cups are quite nice, as is beef jerky, but I made a complete mess of trying to make American pancakes. Corn dogs and Cinnabons, though, I am really going to miss. But none of us liked the little white doughnuts. Any takers?


  1. Anna: you forgot the peanut butter to go with the Marshmallow Fluff-- a "fluffernutter" sandwich is the best!! (Even better when the bread is toasted and the peanut butter and fluff melts and drips all over!) I can't buy Fluff in MT so I always come back from NY with a bunch of it or have to have my family ship it to me! Hope the weather clears up soon and you can enjoy your vacation.

  2. The pool was probably locked because in contrast to the car, the pool is one of the least safe places to be in an electrical storm. Mom wouldn't even bathe us during thunderstorms in Arizona as a child!