“Are all y’all together?”, the overly sweet waitress asked while smacking on a wad of gum.
This was the first sign that I had landed in a foreign place. I thought I had traveled to an English-speaking land, but clearly the geniuses at Wikipedia hadn’t mentioned any strange dialects associated with the native Floridians. I knew I was in trouble, but like McGyver, I quickly adapted; “Jeez ya, B’y! We’s all ta-geder”, I blurted out in my best Newfie accent.
My quick-thinking confused the poor server enough that she simply handed out menus and left us to form a plan.
What strange gastronomical concoctions would be thrust upon us? Would I recognize anything? What are ‘Towering Onion Rings’? This could be tricky on my sophisticated, yet delicate pallet.
“I’ll have a burger with fries. Gravy on the side, please”. Surely, even in this strange place, a burger would be a burger. I only had to assume that the ‘fries’ were made with potatoes and not some indigenous creature.
“Gravy, sir”? The young heavily accented girl puzzled. I must have confused her with my proper English. I might have to revert to sign language. “Yes, brown gravy. On the side, please”. I made the shape of a small bowl with my hands, to help in case she still didn’t understand me.
“Ohhh…sorry. We don’t have gravy. We have a really great Chipolte mayo though”.
What the hell is a ‘Chipolte’? Is it a relative of the armadillo? I wasn’t going to risk it. Plain fries would have to do. How could such a world-renowned destination not have gravy? Asking for Poutine was completely out of the question. Would they have assumed I was looking for the Russian President.
What other strange things would I be in for during my stay here?
I heard that the Orlando area had many fresh water lakes. Being from Canada, I was sure I could find solace by wading through the clean, clear waters to give me a sense of home while trying to adapt to this alien land…
Disney World! Yeah, that would be great. Skipping freely from ride to ride, I figured I could get in a half-day of kid-like freedom in this iconic park….
So, gravy was out, can’t swim in the lakes, and a theme park required elbow pads and 3 days time just to park the car. What’s so great about this place? Why does everyone come here?
Super-friendly giant rodents in human clothing…strange, but oddly appealing…
It’s warm. Like, all the time warm. Shorts in November warm….bordering on hot…
…and the good citizens of Orlando have adopted a ‘Special Needs Palm Tree’ program, offering jobs to disabled palm trees on the sides of highways….Props!
The gravy would have to wait until I returned to civilization.