Friday, September 15, 2006

Fllllorrriiidaaa.....

in short, Florida!! The place that rocks! went to Florida for the 2nd time last fortnight, this time it was a bigger group (Had been there last December as well with 2 friends and had posted about it in the blog. Check it out here and here. This time, we were a group of 6, and the destination was Palm Coast in East Florida where our friend Paddy works. We went only for the long weekend and we went driving, so time was short.

We had a bad start to our tour, first there was danger of Hurricane Ernesto which hit Florida and going Northwards, we didn't want to end up going there and drenched in rain, so till Friday morning, nothing was finalized. Add to that, I hurt myself playing tennis Thursday night and was limping along due to ankle sprain, but did not want to miss the tour. Somehow, the weather turned out to be fine and we found 6 ppl interested, so we packed our bags, and left Fri afternoon. It was a long drive but had fun along the way, and we finally reached Paddy's place at around 3.30 in the morning (Sat) and had to wake him up from his sleep. Then we slept for a while and morning, prepared our plans. This guy Paddy will be a great manager, he started preparing a plan of action and after everyone finalized it, he used to update the plan of action every time after we finished a task whether it was successfully completed or not!

Day 1:
The PoA was that Sat we will go to Daytona Beach, spend time there, then go to Orlando in the night to the downtown or some other place. So we headed to Daytona beach which was like 30 mins from his place (what a place to be!) and the weather was sunny!! It kinda reminded me of Baywatch, with those hot lifeguards and all..we had a lot of fun there, and suddenly heavy rain started pouring, but there was a warning issued, so we were back inside the mall next to the beach. Surprisingly, by the team we walked back to the parking lot and took the car out, it was sunny again! Had Thai food for lunch, and tasted spicy Thai food for the 1st time. Headed back home, showered and dressed up and we left for Orlando in the evening. We decided to ditch Disney downtown and instead decided to go to 'Lage Raho Munnabhai' movie which had released that day. Went and bought the tickets, and left for Chaat House to eat something light..each one ended up spending around $20 for chaats! And boy, they were awesome!! Each of us ordered like 2-3 items atleast and there were 7 of us, but he got all of it done pretty quick though the place was crowded! and was pretty neatly packed as well (We did not have time to sit and eat, so we packed it up, ended up eating most of it in the Parking lot itself! ). After a long time, got to eat some good Papdi chaat, dahi puri, pani puri! yum yum!! Nirvana was attained! And the Mirchi Bajji put some fire in people's bellies, and there was a major queue outside the bathroom in Paddy's house later in the night. Oh, forgot to add, the movie was amazing! I think most of u know that already! In the end, we had a pretty action-packed day, awesome beach, awesome food, awesome movie!! Day 1's plan executed successfully.

Day 2:
No Trip to N.Florida is complete without a proper visit to Orlando. Sat night was just for eating and movies, so Sunday was reserved for one of Orlando's theme parks. In my view, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure are the best, but I have been to Universal twice, so we ditched it. We had been to Epcot, so ditched that. Magic and Animal kingdom was more for kids, so out they go, options were Sea World and MGM Studios. We decided to go to MGM Studios. Well, MGM is okay, but not as good as Universal, there are a few good rides and shows like Tower of Terror, Aerosmith roller coaster, Indianajones, the bike and car show, Fantasmic show which we missed, but others are a bit disappointing..now, the reason we missed the Fantasmic show was because we wanted to have dinner at Woodlands restaurant at Orlando, a proper South Indian restaurant! They said they'll close at 8.30 and the Fantasmic show starts at around 8.30 PM till 9 PM and going out of that place and going to Woodlands takes 1 hr atleast, so we left at 8 PM itself, reached Woodlands at 9 and was surprised to see a huge crowd and we were put in waiting list!! I never expected that for a Desi restaurant in US!! It was a good sign! While entering our name for the waitlist, we realized that this restaurant was owned by Kannadigas from Kundapur, near Mangalore. Anyway, our turn came and we saw the menu and our mouths started watering looking at all those items. There was a Mysore Royal Thali which we ordered but sadly they had already closed the Thali. So we first ordered Gobi Manchurian, boy, it was more than an year since I ate that!! It was not the best I have eaten but it was good, we devoured 3 plates in a jiffy, after that great Idly-Vada sambar, followed by superb Paper Dosa, a taste of hot hot Bisi Bele Bath, a bit of Mango Lassi, one samosa, one kachori, and amazing Curd rice, ending with excellent Mysore Coffee! Man, I had to leave a bit of curd rice in the end, I was so full, and so were the others!! After eating similar food in Saravana Bhavan in Toronto, this was one of the best meals I ate in US! Ended up with a bill of $180 or Rs.8250 in all, worth every penny! By the time we finished our meal, it was close to 10.45 and though they had closed the kitchens, they were still open as there were few customers left incl. us. Wanted to have paan in the end, but it was over. We all talked to the manager and they were also very happy to see people from Karnataka and we spoke for a while and left. All of us needed a walk to relax ourselves, and this photo below describes our state!!


We came back home by around 12, saw some movie and hit the bed by 2 AM as we needed to get up early.

Day 3
Time to get back home! :( had an amazing trip, loads of fun and adventure, thx to Paddy for organizing it superbly!
Left Florida, reached Clemson late afternoon to drop Srinidhi and had a light lunch at Taco Bell, and reached Knoville by around 9.30 PM.

Actually writing this thing a little late as we went to Florida in the 1st week of September, and in the 3rd week, we went camping and rafting again, will write about that soon!! Planning started for next trip! :)
Comments:
sahi trip tha re bhidu....may all hosts learn some 'paddygiri'.

*burp*

karthik
 
Hi,

Nice blog!

Why don’t you consider writing about some of the new “India 2.0” sites that are creating a little buzz as well?

Eg: www.ilaaka.com

www.onyomo.com

Thanks!

Rajeev
 
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