Partied out in Panama, Fun in Orlando and I Melted in Miami.
Sorry guys, I am massively behind in these....again!
So having left the mayhem of Memphis and New Orleans, we limped our way to Panama, completely partied out……well I was anyway. On route we stop in Alabama and stop at the war ship there and have a bit of a wander around. From here we make our way into the sunshine state of florida. We arrive at Panama City Beach, the hotel this time is not as nice as the others but the view from my balcony is straight onto the beach so that makes up for the room. I dump all my stuff off and head straight off to the beach and straight into the sea, wow, it was soooo nice and just what we all needed after a full on few days and nights in new orleans and memphis - I've just discovered i lost a day somewhere in my journal between these 2 places, i think i myself may have also lost a day somewhere along the line! Anyway having had a refreshing dip in the sea, we then headed off to the german place for dinner, then it was ice cream time, this was amazing, but i did feel quite sick after that, to be fair it was a biiiigggg ice cream. We got back to the hotel quite early, i was in bed and asleep by 10pm - a very very well needed early night and probably a bit over due…….
I felt so so much better after a night in and a decent amount of sleep. We left Panama beach today and made our way to Orlando, where we have 2 nights. So first things first things first - washing, yep still love this part of travelling, such a pain trying to get stuff done when there are 50 of us all needing to do the same. 2 hrs later and having had a nice chat with a sottish couple who were having the same amount of fun as i was waiting for the washer and dryer i was done. Bed. So we get up nice and early and are on the bus at 8am for the short ride to Universal - very very excited, especially as I discovered that we could hop between universal and Island of Adventure. First stop Harry Potter land and to my huge disappointment, the Back to the Future ride has gone - gutted! And the Jaws ride was no longer there :( I think Harry Potter has replaced Dr Emmet Brown and Marty McFly. Anyway, we make our way to Diagon Alley (sorry to the die hard harry potter fans if i haven't spelt that right or named it properly) for the Escape from Gringots ride, this was pretty cool, although the annoying 'technical difficulties' (which would become the theme for day ) held us up a bit in the line. We had a bit of a wander around decided not to buy a massively overpriced wand and then got on the Hogwatts express via platform 9 and 3/4 from kings cross station. We arrived at Hogsmead in Islands of Adventure and decided to head straight to the rides, the dragon roller coaster was shut and wasn't due to open for a while, so we went on the kiddie one instead. Then we made our way to the other main ride in Hogsmead, a hanging roller coaster type arrangement but also a 3D simulator type ride - bit of a combination of the 2. This was bloody brilliant, we flew through the air dodging all sorts of nastiness, it was so so clever. Having all had our Harry Potter fix and now beginning to suffer from the florida humidity it was time to find some shade and food. Next up was the water rides, i was desperate to get back on the popeye water raft ride but it was shut, so we headed to jurassic park, then it was off to ripsawfalls, armed with my gopro so i could video, then disaster struck, i dropped it and the waterproof casing had broken, and this was 30 secs before we were due to get on the 'you will get soaked' ride. But all was not lost, two hairbands later the waterproof casing was again waterproof……..well i hoped it would be anyway! Both these were good fun, by the time we had done this the popeye ride was opened up, this was so so much fun - i will try to post the video on here, you will then see how soaked we did get. Then we hit the hulk and other rides, then came the most horrendous roller coaster I've ever been on, i even think i'd prefer to do a skydive again than go on this thing. So, in the pictures its the red roller coaster, and it doesn't have restraints that go over your shoulders, it just goes round your waist, and yes this ride does go upside down. I starts off going up vertical and thats it you're off, I have never been so scared in my whole life on a ride, eyes shut, i screamed and swore, i screamed and swore, yeah this kinda went on for the whole ride and i now have bruised hips as a result. And really lucky for us there is a camera in the seat in front filming you, that is not a good video. After this I went in search of coffee and sugar and a little sit down………a couple more rides later we were done, oh and there was a thunder storm so a good way to finish the day…….then it was the bundle onto the hotel shuttle to get back.. We then found pizza and went to bed……..
Ah, and then we arrived in Miami, we are staying in North Beach not in South Beach which was a shame. On route we dropped the speedboat people at the speedboat place, us non speedboatists went for a walk around the shops, i then went and found an ice cold corona and sat over looking the water, still trying to cool down 2 more coronas later we were back on the bus and finally arrived at the hotel. I dumped my stuff, shoved on the swimming gear and went swimming with the jelly fish. The water was lovely, although apparently i was swimming straight toward a rip, but Chelsey assured me after she was poised to come and rescue me if needed. Mum, don't worry, i didn't go out that deep i could still stand up…..just :)
We had dinner then made our way to Mangos, a really cool cuban bar with dancers strutting there stuff and some rather nice male dancers that were a hit with the female members of the bus. With the Coronas flowing we all rocked the dance floor for a large portion of the night, it was brilliant we have such a laugh. Having done our best salsa impressions, and on my part not very well we left and went in search of more Miami nightlife which found us at an open air bar, no idea what it was called. But within 10 mins of being there the heavens opened and it absolutely chucked it down. Running for cover we were actually stranded at the bar, worse places to be stranded at. After some more rocking of the dance floor again, 10 of us piled into a 7 seater cab and made our way back to the hotel. It was then at 3:30am i thought it would be sensible to go in search of food………i returned unsuccessfully and collapsed into my bed.
Day 2 in Miami, I eventually surface from my pit at 10:30am, the time i was supposed to meet to girls to get the bus to South Beach for shopping, sitting on the beach and skating. I made it to breakfast then found the bus stop, me and my skates and the coronas from the night before sitting slumped at the back of the bus having absolutely no idea where I was supposed to be getting off. After about half hr we drove past Maceys so I figured this must be generally the right place, for once I actually got off at the right place and thanks to borrowing some wifi was able to to locate the girls, we had lunch and made our way to the beach. Nat, Danni and I secured 3 sun beds from quite possibly the the swankiest hotel on the beach and got away with it for 45mins until we were asked if we were guests, we looked confused and said we were staying somewhere over there……………anyway we ended up leaving after they told us it was 25 bucks for a bed per day………..how much!?!?!?!?!
So we then went in search of bikes and the skates went on, oh yes, I have missed my panthers, poor things have been a bit neglected for the last 3 weeks, but were given a good run out today. The cycle path sat just behind the beach, the views really lovely, but the sun so strong and the humidity ridiculous we were dripping within minutes, plus it was really windy so made it quite hard work, but well well worth it. The first bit of proper exercise this holiday. Then we hit a problem the path disappeared so we had to take to the road, well i was on the pavement, which lets just say was quite possibly the most difficult street skate I've done surface wise, loads of massively busy crossings, metal air vents and huge raised manhole covers - a skaters nightmare, and I'm still stopperless so all in all was pretty impressed I didn't face plant the pavement. Towards the back end of the skate we moved over to the water side, the houses here are very impressive and worth a shed load. Very nice. After the 3 hr skate we arrived back at the hotel and went straight for a swim, oh my god this was amazing and then finished off with an ice cold beer as a reward.
The rest of the bus were getting ready for the party boat night, 60 bucks entry and all you can drink in 2hrs……….you can see where this is going. Now, I know you're all thinking oh blimey bet she was a right mess after that, but alas no, I am now running out of money for this trip so for once the sensible side of lou wood kicked in (it does happen occasionally…….very ) and I elected not to go. I went for a lovely dinner with the other girls that didn't do the boat. It was really nice and after last night i dont think i could have faced the boat anyway, I was exhausted. So we left to get the local bus back, having been waiting for abut 20 mins, we spot our bus and Ray, so we start waving and shouting, Ray bless him stopped and let us on, massive result. We love Ray, the best bus driver ever! Oh my god, we got on the bus and were met with the aftermath of the boat party…….looks like it had been a good night ………..