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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wet Heat or Dry? by Sarah Raplee

I’m writing this post in late July on an airplane on our way home from Orlando, Florida.



My husband and I spent a week in a lovely vacation rental house near Orlando with my eldest son’s family. The house even had a pool! My nine-year-old grandson was playing in a national baseball tournament. We all decided to have our vacation in Orlando so that we could attend his games at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports. Like most vacations, ours had its ups and downs.

Nothing like a 110 degree heat index to remind me why, although I enjoyed a fantastic childhood on a tropical island, I have no desire to live on one now. I’m not a big fan of copious ineffectual sweating. Sweating’s bad enough when it does a body good. When it drips instead of evaporating and doesn’t seem to lower one’s core body temperature at all, it’s just plain miserable.

Ah, the humidity!

In the tropics, there are two seasons: wet and dry. We visited Orlando during the rainy season. (Mental head-slap.)

The first day, we arrived at SeaWorld a little after three o’clock in the afternoon as a thunderstorm broke. Lightning flashed, thunder rolled, and crowds of frightened visitors fled the park amid sheets of rain. We, on the other hand, waited under an awning at the entrance to the park. Often, these storms blow over quickly. A check of the radar on my phone had confirmed we’d gotten lucky.

Before long, the rain let up. Unfortunately, electrical storms agitate the killer whales and dolphins, so their shows were cancelled for the day. No trainer wants to get in a pool with an agitated killer whale. Who can blame them? On the upside, all the rides and most of the sea life displays remained open with no lines to speak of. And the rain cooled the air. We had a great time and no one got lost.

The heat and humidity were so bad during the baseball games that I didn’t know how the kids managed to play, but play they did. They were little troopers. My grandson’s team from the Central states was eliminated early on. On the plus side, this meant we only had two days of games.

The rest of the time we spent a lot of time in the house pool, which was lovely, and at Busch Gardens,in Tampa, a sort of combination theme park and zoo. The landscaping was amazingly beautiful at all the parks we visited. The weather was stifling. Busch Gardens had fans that blew mist onto the wait lines, which helped. SeaWorld and Busch Gardens do a lot of conservation work. I’ve never seen such gorgeous animal enclosures anywhere else.

On our last day in Florida, we got stormed out of SeaWorld’s waterpark, Aquatica, twenty minutes after we arrived. A tropical storm had pushed bad weather our way. This time there was no chance things would blow over.

So Grandma and Grandpa (aka “we”) forked over another three-hundred dollars to take the family (9 of us) to Disney Quest, five floors of (indoor and air-conditioned!) fun “including virtual worlds, 3D encounters and classic video games.”


We all had a blast. We stayed until closing. The Happiest Place on Earth is not Orlando, or even Disney World. In my book, it’s Disney Quest. (And the dog park. Any dog park.)

When the time came to leave, our flight was—you guessed it—diverted by severe thunderstorms. A very nice ticket agent found us seats on another airline for a flight two hours later. We were delayed on the tarmac by weather so that we ended up missing our connecting flight.
We spent that night in Phoenix, Arizona. The daytime temperature was above one-hundred degrees.

At least it was a dry heat!

Which do you prefer, the desert or the tropics? Why?

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~Sarah Raplee


Judith Ashley said...

I prefer the under 80 degrees kind of heat with low humidity. If that isn't available and I need for some unfathomable reason to be outside instead of in air conditioned 70 - 72 degree comfort, I'll take the dry heat. I've been known to be outside in 100 degree weather in Phoenix, AZ and Oregon and Washington's high desert country and manage as long as I've lots of cool water and a hat (well, sun screen and all that too).

Having quality time with family, I'm sure made up for some of the stormy weather and high humidity issues. (Love the picture of the big cat at Busch Garden. Wish all zoos and animal parks treated their "residents" so well.

Diana McCollum said...

Sounds like you and your family had a wonderful vacation and made do when the bad weather approached. Me, I like the tropics, not Florida but Hawaii or Guam. Wonderful pictures, thanks for sharing!

Paty Jager said...

Sounds like you had quality family time even if you were melting. I prefer the dry heat myself though I've only been to Georgia where it was humid and hot.

Sarah Raplee said...

Judith, you're right about the quality family time making up for the heat and humidity.

Diana, I have to admit that Hawaii is the one place in the tropics I've been to with perfect weather. The average temperature is in the 70s there!

Paty, Georgia in the summertime - oh,man! That is definitely ot and humid.