I really intended to post something sooner, but it’s amazing how the time flies by when you are planning to travel somewhere. Friday morning at a most unpleasant hour (3 am) I rolled out of bed and shortly thereafter, staggered to my friend Raina’s car for the drive to the Minneapolis airport for our flight to Orlando. Why were we driving four and a half hours to the Minneapolis airport to get on a plane and fly to Florida? Well, the reasons are myriad and complex but suffice it to say that we are poor college students and this option saved us $150 a piece. It also helped that she has a saint of a boyfriend who actually agreed to drive us all the way to Minneapolis and drive himself home again the same day. And even more amazing, after doing that he is also going to drive all the way down to Minneapolis to pick us up again today. I tell you, the man must be really crazy about her. Either that or just plain crazy. 🙂
Anyway, we finally made it to the airport, through security, and to our airplane mostly without incident, unless you count the traffic. When we got there we found out the airline was offering $300 travel vouchers to people who were willing to switch to later flights. Unfortunately, I deliberated for too long and by the time Raina and I decided to take the bump, another guy had taken the seat already. So we arrived in Orlando at about 3 pm. The weather was cold for Florida, but considering how cold it had been in Fargo, it was practically tropical as far as we were concerned. Friday we didn’t do much – checked into the hotel, walked around the neighborhood, went to bed early.
Saturday we went to a few lectures, and in the evening we went to a dinner theater called Arabian Nights. It was amazing, but I use the term theater rather loosely because almost all of the show was perfomed on horseback. The horsemanship was amazing, and many of the riders completing some jaw-dropping acrobatic stunts. The food was so-so, but the show was so amazing that it was worth every penny.
Sunday I went to a few more lectures (really interesting ones – I took lots of notes), and that night I went to a reception for students with interest in working with exotic animals. The reception was really great – I might have made some connections that could lead to really amazing externships. I think that reception might have been the best part of the whole trip. I really hope I am able to get a good externship out of it; I would really like to get more experience with exotic animals, because it’s not something that I can get a lot of around here.
Monday Raina and I spent the whole day at Animal Kingdom. That was so amazing! We got to see so many animals up close, bought more souveniers than we probably should have, and rode on the weirdest roller coaster ever – Everest.
Tuesday and Wednesday we went to more lectures and spent lots of time in the exhibit halls checking out the latest technology and accessories. There was an unbelievable amount of booths there, and we walked away with so much free stuff that Raina had to buy a new suitcase to bring all the stuff home.
And of course, as is apparently my custom, I came down with a cold the day before we were supposed to come back, and I spent the next four days with kleenex attached to my face. Yay.
All in all, though, even with the last-day illness debacle, it was worth every penny and every minute spent. I learned so much, and I can’t wait to go again! Next time, though, I will try to have my schedule planned ahead of time. I really did not fully grasp the logistics of the conference; next time I will be more prepared.