As promised, I’m going to continue my account of my recent family vacation to Florida.
Our first stop was Seaworld Orlando. The resort itself was pretty nice, and there were some neat attractions and exhibits. There were intermittent downpours all day, which only lasted a few minutes at a time and kept everything cool, so I was in my glory, weather-wise. The dolphin show was very impressive, but I think the highlight for all of us was the killer whale show. We sat, at the urging of friends who had attended the same show, in the “splash zone,” where the whales would come very close and inevitably soak the crowd with their stunts.
We had reached the end of the park by suppertime, so we went into town for something to eat and then back to the hotel to sleep off a busy day. It was then that the youngest, most notoriously unconscientious MacDonald asked, “Mom, where’s my Raptor’s bag?” (It was a drawstring bag with a Raptors logo that he had used as his airplane carry-on, containing his cell phone, iPad, all the chargers, and a bunch of snacks.)
We tore the room apart but it was nowhere to be found. He lost an entire bag full of expensive electronics, in another country, wonderful! We prepared him to never see any of it again. I placed calls to just about everyone, from the hotel front desk, to the airline, to the Orlando airport, to the cab company, every place I could think of. As luck would have it, the cab driver had given my husband a business card, and when we called him he told us his wife had gone into labor right after he dropped us off that morning, and he hadn’t picked up another fare since. When he checked the back of his van, miraculously, my son’s Raptors bag was there, all contents accounted for, and he offered to drop it off at our hotel the next day at no charge. (Americans sometimes get a bad rap, but I thought that story would offer a little redemption.)
The following day was the baseball game. We had rented a car for the drive to Tampa, about two hours away from Orlando, so we were up early to get prepared for driving on a busy interstate in very unfamiliar territory. The drive was quite nice, through the city of Tampa and over a lovely bridge to St. Petersburg, where Tropicana Field is located. We drove into the parking lot and a very polite and welcoming young parking attendant, noting our Blue Jays attire, exclaimed, “I love Canadians! It’s on us, go right in, enjoy the game!” and gave us a voucher for free parking.
Having been to four in the past, we kind of consider ourselves old pros when it comes to making the most of Blue Jays games. We got there before the doors opened and made our way down to field level right away, as, being the “away” team, players are known to sign a few autographs after batting practice before the start of the game. We (meaning I) muscled our way to the front, and my son was lucky enough to get his baseball hat signed by and pictures with right-fielder Teoscar Hernandez, left-fielder Curtis Granderson, and closing pitcher Tyler Clippard. We got some great pictures of many other players who, although they didn’t sign autographs, waved and said hello to the group of young Blue Jays fans (and their moms).
We had decided early in planning our trip that we would spring for really good seats for the baseball game, so we were very close to the action, just five rows up from the field turf, right next to the Blue Jays dugout behind the on-deck circle. It was an awesome game, which they actually won, a result we were very happy with considering the team’s less-than-stellar record as of late.
With another fun but full day in the books, we made the trek back to Orlando to get a bite to eat and relax at the hotel. Much to our delight, we were stopped by the front desk staff who handed over the elusive Toronto Raptors bag which the cab driver had delivered to the hotel while we were gone. He later called our cell phone to thank us for the gift we had left for his new baby – happy ending for everyone, and faith in American cab drivers at a high.
I’ll finish my vacation story next week.