© Santosh Subramanian – Some rights reserved - Under Creative Commons

Friday, May 22, 2009

Day 1 - The 'Home Alone' Story

The end of another tiring week and by the time I & my girls came home on Friday, it was 30 minutes past 8 in the night. We were very excited, not just by the fact that it is going to be a weekend, but that we were going to be on a week long vacation!! At the same time, we hadn’t even started packing for the week. I am a very ‘light’ traveler, (there had been instances while as a bachelor, I had gone home from Bangalore empty handed – and Amma would be like…Did you lose your bag?) but things have changed since the last 7 years… My significant half (SH) is a ‘check-list’ traveler. She normally keeps a checklist of stuff that she plans to carry & ensures that they are packed (talk about quality control…) and 2 girls – they are a crowd!

It was past 1 AM by the time we finished packing, finished QC checking round 1 & 2 and retired to bed. With the fact that we have to catch a 7 AM flight and the airport 14 miles away from home, we decided to wakeup by 4 so that we can plan to push-off by 5:45. I was entrusted to change the daily alarm to 4:00 AM from the regular 5:45 AM, which I religiously did & we crashed.

That one jolted me up from the sleep!

“The alarm did not go off… It is already 5:30!!!” The long story short, we literally enacted the ‘Home Alone’ scene to start off in the car by 6. I did my first ever (in 2 years) over-speeding of 15 miles above speed limit of 65mph (in patches) and managed to reach the Airport by 6:20, returned my rental car at the counter, caught the air train to the terminal, went to the counter for baggage check-in, security check & to the gate, to see the half the crowd has been boarded & the rest of them in the queue. “Run, run, run… run baby run….” I bought some chocolates & some other stuff to engage little one during take-offs & landings and we finally boarded the Jet Blue flight 531 as the last set of passengers heading towards Orlando Florida.

The three and a half hour flight gave some time for SH to catch up more on sleep, little one to mess-up with the drawing board she carried & me to introspect why the alarm did not go off. After the take off was complete & the permission granted to switch on electronic devices, I switched on my phone to see what went wrong. It didn’t take longer for me to figure it out… Advanced settings are so convenient, but do not take care of exceptions! There was an option in the Alarm settings – ‘Ignore on Weekends’, because they knew most of the people will sleep longer on weekends & my phone did exactly what it is supposed to do. It ignored the Alarm on the weekend! Damn!!! So far so good, thankfully the vacation did not start off with a disaster & the excitement started to flow back in…

We landed at the Orlando International Airport at 10:45 AM (on time), collected the baggage & went to the car rentals office - Our companion for the next 8 days was a Chevrolet Equinox. I am no expert in SUVs (never owned one & have had some of the drives with friends), but I felt it was a decent one & comfortable. I started the GPS, punched in my hotel address & started towards our hotel in the Lake Buena Vista area. We decided to have our brunch before we checked in & had a Mexican brunch at Chevys (A Mexican restaurant chain). After an initial hiccup (check-in time was 3 & the rooms weren’t ready), we managed to check-in to the hotel at around 2 PM & got some sleep for a couple of hours.

At around 4, we started our drive towards the Clearwater Beach, Florida. It is around 100 miles from Orlando & takes about 2 hours to reach there. The sunset at the Pier 60 is a famous attraction and even though we visitied the place we couldn’t afford to stay until sunset which was around 8:30 PM because it would be too late for us by the time we get back & we may end up spoiling our next day too – especially since we hadn’t had a good sleep the previous night (After all, a vacation is to relax & unwind – right?) Little one & SH had a good time at the beach (I am very reluctant to get into the water) while I watched them from the shore & took photographs. The real paradox of the story is that among us, I am the only one who knows swimmimg & I am the most reluctant to get into the water (at public places)! Little one did a very thoughtful act of collecting sea shells to give it to her classmates when she returns back after vacation (And she did that yesterday!). I am pretty sure that ‘sharing’ was out of my dictionary when I was 4… LOL.

We wound up by around 7:30 after an hour and half in the beach to get back to Orlando. One sight that amazed me was the drive over the Howard Franklin Bay Bridge on the Interstate 275 just before you arrive at Clearwater, immediately after you cross the city of Tampa. It is approximately 8 miles long over the Old Tampa Bay. At one point of time, you feel like you are driving on a bridge at the middle of the sea – though you can see buildings on each side, pretty far away… We stopped over at a Thai restaurant for dinner to reach back at the hotel by 10:30 in the night.

End of Day 1


Dhanya said...

Wow exciting.. let the other days also be unveiled soon :)

SP said...

yes interesting.. keep going !!! nice way to capture memories and share before they fade away.

Anonymous said...

Pradeep (Sangeetha :-) ) here - ethoru cheriya sambhavam aanallo maashe !! kalakki !!

Santosh said...


@Pradeep & Sangi;
oru onnonnara sambhavam aayirunnu... :)
Thanks for stopping by