Monday, March 20, 2006

spring break, the novel (pt 1)

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hey everyone. i know i said i'd keep you posted on the road trip, but, as you can tell, that didn't happen. between the lack of wireless internet networks during half of the trip and the general exhaustion from theme parks during the other half, my posting efforts didn't stand a chance. but now, i'm back in socorro, i've finally had some sleep, and i don't have homework, of all the odd things, so it is my lofty goal to catch you up on an action-packed week. i don't think i will be able to avoid rambling, but i'll do my best to make it entertaining instead of just boring, okay? okay.

first of all, concerning the question i left you with last week: it was curtis who snapped. the too-much-quality-time got to all of us in varying degrees, but it hit curtis the hardest. i thought i would be the first to loose my mind, but when i felt my mind slipping from me i fought it. and i won. bwah hah hah!

don't get me wrong, okay guys? curtis is a fantastic friend. he boasts that he would drop everything to help a buddy out, and i believe he would. but his "i'm in charge" attitude that makes him so attractive to little kids (or so i'm told) made three independent young adults want to run the other way. and he's chief know-it-all, which is my number one annoyance, and he's loud and competitive. but i think what really set things off was the general feeling of "i'm smarter than you" that he exerts on everyone, especially scuba. it's true that scuba asks painfully obvious questions, but i think he does this mostly to spark conversation, not for curtis to scornfully tell him the answer as if he had the mental capacity of a four-year-old.

it was then, while curtis was pointing out the mistakes of everyone else, mistakes real or imagined, big or small, that i started to loose it. but then i thought that i'd just give him a dose of his own medicine instead. thus curtis and i fought (sometimes figuratively, sometimes literally) for a few days over which one of us really was smarter, and thus he perished in his task, because unfortunately for him, he can dish it out but he can't take it. i won by a landslide.

but the important thing is that we got over all that by the end of the week, and we're all friends again, and we can all agree that we had a great spring break.

i really meant to write everyday, so i'll try to recap the highlights for you guys. some days were better than others. read on.

day one- las cruces to san antonio
it's funny that i was complaining about the "girls take too long to get ready" stereotype, because i totally blew the "women are bad drivers" stereotype out of the water. between four drivers, it was i who did not only the most driving, but actually drove well over half the way to orlando and back. most driving days we'd get up at 4a.m. and i would drive for the first five or six hours. that's what we did on saturday. we made excellent time to san antonio, checked into a scary little run-down hotel that had a shower all of us were afraid to use, and then did the tourist thing. we alamoed and river walked, and it was fun.

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day two- san antonio to new orleans

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got up at four again, and started driving. i read a few chapters of peter pan to the boys each day in the car. when we stopped for lunch, scuba said that he would take over the driving and take us into new orleans. curtis and i exchanged fearful glances and told him (brutally, really) that we would give him a chance to redeem himself from the driver that we know all too well.

he did not redeem himself. there was actually a point where all three of us screamed. nick was wide-eyed and a little skittish after that. but we finally got to the hostel where we were staying that night, and our much-needed showers. since we were so close, we decided (well okay, i decided) that we should walk to the french quarter to find food.

here's what i wrote, even without internet, on sunday night:
"9:30 pm- let's see, i think i called adam about three hours ago and left a message. i said, 'hi adam, this is holly. i just wanted to let you know that right now i'm in new orleans, in the french quarter, on bourbon street, in a restaurant called "desire," and in about ten minutes i'm going to be eating spicy new orleans seafood and sausage gumbo, and I'M SO EXCITED!!! THIS IS SO COOL!!!'

and i meant every word. that was the coolest thing i've done in a very long time. more than a little scary, but fun.

right now, i'm typing this up in a hostel within walking distance of the french quarter, in real live new orleans, in real live lousiana, a place where i have never been until today. i'm trying to ignore curtis practicing for his barbershop choir, while nick is looking over the ultra-exclusive road trip footage he shot today, and scuba is shuffling about talking about keys. hmmmm. unfortunately the wireless internet here and last night in san antonio has totally let me down. of course, if it were up to me, finding a signal and sitting down and internetting would be a first priority, but i'm quite alone in that feeling. so this will have to do for now. sigh. i'm having such withdraws."

the french quarter was scary, but fun. it smelled mostly like urine and beer, but also of incense and sweat. it was gross. there were tons of drunk people, it was amazing. mardi gras was only a few weeks ago, and there were still beads everywhere. on fences. in trees. in the road, all black and chipped.

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after the gumbo we walked to the mississippi river, which was fun for us since we're all desert rats. the bank of the river was probably ten degrees colder than bourbon street. there was a drunk bum who cussed nick out because nick, who doesn't smoke, would not give him a cigarette. there was a girl with a peace sign carved into her face that asked us for seventy-five cents for something obscure. there was another girl who was leaning up against a wall with blood all over her shirt while a friend and a security guard looked after her.

but we made it back to the hostel just fine, and we were all cheerful when we fell asleep. (okay, family? yes, i walked bourbon street after dark, but i was with three reasonably formidable boys and we all stayed together, okay? don't tell grandma.)

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day three- new orleans to orlando, found gabe, disneyworld fireworks

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up at four again. the ride was largely uneventful. the picture above is of the boys eating our routine breakfast of honey bunches of oats from plastic cups just outside of mobile, alabama, at about 7a.m. we got to orlando, found gabe, the boys took me to the house of gabe's friends jenn and luke, where i would be staying, and then we went to disneyworld to catch the fireworks show and plan out our invasion of the magic kingdom the next day. nick's video camera was glued to his hand the whole night, taping epcot, the monorail, the fireworks, the boats... we laughed at him and called him an artist.

the fireworks were awesome. we watched from the roof of the nearby contemporary hotel and resort, and the accompanying soundtrack was pumped through big speakers for us to enjoy. i learned two things that night, besides that it was officially on with curtis.

1. my brother is more than a little afraid of heights. this was a bit disillusioning for me, because i thought nothing scared him. to be fair, we were very high up on this hotel roof, but still, he was freakin' out. i stood next to the railing to watch the show, and everytime i turned around with various exclamations of joy, he was standing further and further away from the edge, pretending that the ground was close. hmm. that's weird.

2. i am a sucker for all that disney crap. the theme of the fireworks show is that, just like the little mermaid and pinnochio and cinderella and aladdin, your wishes can come true if you wish from the heart. talk about hook line and sinker. i actually got a little misty-eyed. luckily, nick was still preoccupied with how high up we were, so no one saw.

here we are, all excited. happiest place on earth, baby.

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day four- the magic kingdom
slept in till nearly eight. it was fabulous, as was having my own room and shower... and house. jenn and luke left every morning before seven, so i hardly saw them at all, but i had plenty of time to get to know their labradors, toby and jack. they are sweethearts, but they make surprisingly human-sounding noises in the mornings which startled me a few times.

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we got to disneyworld and took a ferry to the magic kingdom. it was so exciting! then: space mountain, peter pan's flight (yay, yay, yay, yay!), it's a small world after all, splash mountain, and then lunch. curtis took off to find a barbershop quartet that he would not shut up about, and rest of us bought ice cream and chilled (get it?). then we did splash mountain again, big thunder mountain railroad, pirates of the caribbean was CLOSED, the jungle cruise, and stitch's great escape, which used to be the alien encounter.

and now i begin my tale. this one's my favorite.

the great ferry adventure
josh's birthday is in a week. i found the perfect present for him in the pirate gift shop! it's a huge ceramic mug with pirates and sculls and stuff all over it, and most importantly, it is dishwasher and microwave safe. yay! i wanted one for me and one for him, but i couldn't very well carry around those huge things with me all day, could i? so i planned (and told the other boys) that i would have to come back at the end of the day to buy them before we left.

we left the magic kingdom early in the evening to meet gabe and his amy for dinner at downtown disney. we hit the rainforest cafe, and it was good, but we were there so late! and i had to buy my mugs that night because the next day was MGM day, and we weren't planning on returning to the magic kingdom. curtis, who very wisely had stayed up until 2a.m. talking to gabe at the lake the previous night, was tired and cranky and mad at me, and he said i should just forget the mugs and let's go home, because look, the fireworks are already starting. i was not tired, not cranky, but mad right back at him and i said i wanted to try, and he didn't have to come with me if he wasn't feeling up to it. zing!

to get back to the magic kingdom, we had to take a bus, then a monorail, then a ferry, and then we had to get all the way to adventureland or wherever the store was, before they closed for the night. the fireworks were over when nick and i got off the bus. we booked it to the monorail station, several floors above the ground level, and barely caught it. then we ran to the ferry, that was just letting off it's passengers. since it was closing time, we were the only schmucks trying to get back into the park. everyone else was leaving. one of the ferry operators said, "you two get a private cruise tonight!"

that's right. this enormous boat, built for the mass flow of people across the lake, which took at least three guys to run, had only two passengers that night. it was cool. we ran all over both decks and pretended we were rich and that it was really our boat.

as we were borne across the lake, we passed another ferry full of hundreds of passengers on their way out. i said to nick, "i bet they can see us," and we waved. a good number of people waved back to the two passengers on an otherwise empty boat. so we played it up, and ran to the back of the boat as we passed them, waving and yelling and i blew kisses. and this whole boat full of people kept waving back, and more and more joined them! it was so much fun. i felt like a disney princess.

then came another ferry full of people, same story. we waved and hollered and of course they saw us, and they all waved back and it was great. the ferry had to stop for a while in the middle of the lake to let the floating light show go by. it was really neat to see that from the water, and the guys on the ferry knew the guys on the light show and teased them over the loudspeakers, which i'm sure they wouldn't have done if the boat was full of people. i told nick that even if we didn't make it in time, i was glad we tried for the mugs, because this was so much fun.

we were finally approaching the shore, where thousands of people were waiting to board the boat. we waved again, but very few people saw us. there was one huge guy in the middle of the crowd who played along for a long time. he was cool. we pulled into the shore, and the ferry guys started lowering the ramp for us to get off. the other disney guy who was holding back the crowd didn't know there were people getting off the boat, so he let this massive group of people started boarding, and they all rushed towards us, and i thought it was the end...

then the ferry guys yelled, "wait, wait!" and the crowd guy herded everyone back into line, and all the people waiting looked at him like, "what's the big idea?" and then they let us off. and people started cheering for us. we waved and ran past, and the cheering spread, and these thousands of people were clapping and yelling for me and my brother, and it was SO COOL. we were famous. famous and at disneyworld.

we ran into the park, through main street, past the castle, into adventureland, past the tree house and the jungle and into the gift shop, where the lady told us we had a whole fifteen minutes to spare, so i bought the mugs after all. we were stoked. the combination of running as hard as we could and making it, being waved to and cheered on by enough people to fill a sporting arena, and proving curtis wrong was sweet beyond sweet. i'm pretty sure it was the highlight of my week.

oh my gosh, this is a long post. part two will come later kids... i hope. stay tuned. :)

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