Thursday, December 21, 2006

The End of the Road(Trip)

Maggie, her brother Jordan and I arrived in Ocala, Florida last night shortly after 6pm. Jordan drives a pickup-truck with a very small cab, and the six hours or so was a tight squeeze. Seems Jordan is a knowledgable chap, and he seemed to know plenty about pretty much every major geographical feature we passed... Still didn't take my focus away from the buttaching, but it helped! We did stop about four and a half hours into the drive, and that inital moment of my feet hitting solid ground was sheer ecstacy; the pleasure shot up through my body, starting with my feet, and ended with the involuntary smile on my face... I looked like quite the pillock.

Today was fun; we went to Silver Springs, and rode around in glass bottomed boats, looking at 'gators, and other 'critters', while I took a load of nature-footage on my camcorder (which you won't be seeing for at least another three weeks, since I decided to leave the gadgetry to put the footage on my laptop behind... probably a blessing)!

This photo was taken on our way out, so it's darker than all the others, but it's nicer than the photo I didn't take going in, so feel free to settle for this one.

The Alligators at the park were pretty cool and pretty dull at the same time; they'd lay perfectly still, hoping not to be noticed (let's ignore the fact that they're in a friggin' enclosure), and watch you with their eyes while not moving a muscle. I was offered the chance to go "'Gator huntin'" with Jordan, but that didn't work out, which didn't upset me too much, as I'm not sure how I'd have fared with the 'boom stick' part of the operation, where after tiring out your prey for a few hours, you finally drive what is essentially a stick with a shotgun shell on the end that explodes on impact into the reptile's skull. I'm pretty sure I'd have set my moral compass aside and done whatever was expected of me, just for the purpose of exploring this bizarre sub-culture.

This picture shows Maggie pouring me a half-glass of Egg-Nog; that strange substance I hear so much about from American TV shows, but know little about... Being the curious type, I thought I'd give it a whack.

This picture right here says a lot of things. It really captured the moment. For some reason, as soon as the ridiculously viscous, sickly sweet 'nog entered my mouth, I instinctively began chewing, so discombobulated were my senses. I'm pretty sure that the look shown here on my face is the exact moment I was thinking "On my next bowel movement, I'm going to crap out a cake!"

It was one of those things I had to try, I suppose - the rather paltry 100ml or so that I drank is still repeating on me, but I also put away an ungodly amount of Ribs earlier on (I like the southern cooking). I should also point out that I also got to eat quail while at Maggie's aunt's house. Unsurprisingly, it tasted just like chicken, maybe a little more chewy. My vigorous gnashing at this white meat prompted a warning from Maggie's stepdad; "you should be biting down very gingerly on that; you don't want to break your teeth on one of the pellets we shot it with!" I wouldn't even dare describe it as an acquired taste; it tasted like cheap, chewy, crap chicken, but of course, that's not the point - it was a great taste of culture!

Speaking of which; I'm going to end this post with another look at the culture here down south; in case you hadn't noticed, Maggie's family seem to have quite the interest in hunting, or as they call it; huntin'. Well, I'm sure this deer feels honoured that his sacrifice served the following noble purpose this Christmas.

"Ho ho ho" indeed.

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