Subj: On the Road VIII: Orlando, FL--Day Two

Date: 11/16/98

Hello again!

I spent most of Sunday at Epcot. At first it was disappointing; I enjoyed it so much last year that I realized only minutes after entering the park that this visit couldn't possibly live up to the experience I had last year, when it was all new to me. Spaceship Earth, while still entertaining, was exactly as I remembered it. Last year I rode it seven times. Sunday, once was enough.

Waiting to enter The Living Sea, I heard a young British woman admonish her father, who was following his family with a video camera, by saying, "If it's running now, you're only taking pictures of our bums. What's the point?"

Once I was in the "research lab" area of the Living Sea, I was disappointed that the manatees didn't seem to recognize me. I spent a good fifteen minutes watching them eat last year; I thought we had developed a real rapport. Maybe they're just shy.

It wasn't until I entered the World Showcase that I recaptured some of my old delight in Epcot. The different areas of the World Showcase are staffed by people actually from the countries they represent, and the cute young women of the UK section made me light-headed with their British accents and their beaming smiles and their tendency to describe everything as "lovely." I briefly considered proposing marriage to the young woman at the cigar counter, but in the end I didn't even buy a cigar from her. At the Rose & Crown pub I bought a pint of Bass Ale and gulped it down in the space of 15 minutes, which normally would have knocked me on my butt, due to the infrequency with which I consume alcohol; fortunately, I had eaten a huge chicken fajita baked potato only a few minutes earlier, so the ale only contributed slightly to the light-headedness the English lass had already inspired.

In the French area I ate the most incredible chocolate cream pastry, sharing part of the crust with the little birds outside the cafe. They were genuine French birds, I know because when they flitted down from the trees to fight over the bits of crust I dropped, they said, "Le tweet, le tweet."

I may return Wednesday afternoon after the conference proper is over to buy a bonsai tree in the Japanese section. I may not. I'll deal with that thing then.

I am now in the Coronado Springs Hotel inside the vast Disney World complex. It is, as you can imagine, considerably nicer than the hotel in which I spent Saturday night, though I was happy enough with the Quality Inn; wherever I lay my hat is home.

Have a good Monday.

Christopher B. Burdett

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