Thunder from Downunder III

June 18, 2010

Location: Orlando, Florida, USA
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CHAPTER 7
~May The Force Be With You ~

Star Wars Weekends is an annual special event held at Disney’s Hollywood Studios that celebrates the legendary Star Wars Saga and the animated television series, The Clone Wars. Little did we know that this year marked the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back which meant Hollywood Studios would be infested with Star Wars nerds lurking at each and every corner.

I am, by no means a Star Wars nerd, but, having grown up with a brother who’s childhood dream was for mum and dad to buy him the Millennium Falcon and a father who absolutely loved the original Star Wars Trilogy, it was hard not being a teeny tiny bit excited. I don’t think the Aussies had the slightest bit interest in Star Wars though, and I can’t really say that I blame them.

I was amazed with the detail and depth that went into all the Star Wars costumes. While admiring a few, it was a delightful surprise to see that one of our College Program Alumni friends, Jason, had scored the face-role of Mace Windu. We ditched the Aussies on a street corner somewhere and jumped in line to grab a photo with him. While waiting, I was astounded with how excited grown men were to be having their photo taken with ‘Mace Windu’. I can’t say I’ve ever seen anything quite like it. We were up next.

Me: Hi Mace!
Mace Windu: Greetings. And which strange planet are you from milady?
Me: Australia.
Mace Windu: Ah, I was wondering where that beautiful accent was from.
Me: *giggles*
Mace Windu:
(To Bryan as we were walking away) Keep an eye on her. The force is especially strong within this one.
Mace Windu: (To me) May the force be with you.

Here’s a few more photos I was able to snap displaying the spectacular costuming and make-up efforts that went into Star Wars Weekends.

It saddens me to say that there wasn’t anything terribly embarrassing to report back on from today’s events. I’d love to tell you that Nicole slipped and fell down in front of hundreds of people, or that Gavin lost his shit again when we watched the Beauty and the Beast musical, but unfortunately I can’t. Despite the lack of incidents, though, a fun time was had by all. It was starting to get dark. The Aussies headed towards the amphitheater to get seats for Fantasmic and Bryan and I headed back home in time to catch the Lost finale. There are simply some things in life that just get put ahead of friendship.
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CHAPTER 8
~Hats What I’m Talking About ~

Epcot; the last of the four Disney parks left on our agenda. This saddens me because I know the time I have left with my Aussies is coming to an end. I try not to think about it despite the lingering thought at the back of my mind.

The World Showcase does not open up until 11am so we decide to tackle Test Track and Soarin’ first. We have a fast pass for Test Track so we get through the line with ease and are assigned to our vehicle. We are set for Concourse A. Our vehicle clears the heat and ice condition testing and  leads us out into a dark room; we are driving blindly at a rough yet steady pace. We are still in pitch darkness. Out of no where, the overbearing horn of a semi-trailer can be heard as its headlights turn on and shine directly onto our vehicle. The semi-trailer is heading straight toward us. Nicole is startled by the sudden appearance of the semi and starts screaming at the top of her lungs. Our vehicle abruptly swerves, merely missing the semi. I’m pretty sure Nicole shits her pants as she panics and continues to frantically scream. I begin to uncontrollably laugh. I’ve been on test track a few dozen times and I have never seen anyone scream so much at the semi part. I continue to laugh all the way through but stop just in time to pose before we smash into the wall.

We make our way toward Space Ship Earth. Nicole is eager to ride the big ball. Too bad Minnie isn’t here to ride with her, they would have made a great, frisky team. Carlos offers himself and Nicole willingly accepts. We board the ride in pairs. Gavin and Bryan; Nicole and Carlos; Brendon and myself. We take our seats and face forward as the ride begins. We must be maybe three or so minutes into the ride when I notice that Carlos is no longer facing forward, but instead, facing Brendon’s and my direction. I ponder this awkward positioning for a moment until I realize that Carlos is mounting Nicole. Their love continues to blossom.

Our World Showcase adventure is ready to begin. Today, our reason for living is to try on as many different hats in as many different countries as possible. Nicole, however, had an alternative motive; to get drunk. I feel as though this ‘alternative motive’ was a cover to shag Carlos around the world and then to just blame the alcohol. I guess we will never know the real truth. Hey, he’s not complaining, he got to ride Nicole’s magic carpet in Morocco and show her a dazzling place she never knew. It really was a whole new world but unfortunately for Nicole, she closed her eyes. Perhaps to say she was only dreaming? Sound familiar? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Hola! Our first hat country on the list is Mexico. Nothing screams Mexico more than giant sombreros and maracas. Muy bien senor o senorita!


We make our way to the Tequila Bar. Nicole and Bryan order margaritas. Lucky for Bryan he can hold his liquor a lot better than Nicole can. She is already drunk after only one drink; oh, the joys!

Next up is Norway. I do admit I lack extensive Norwegian knowledge, but judging by the hats and props they had in their gift store, I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume they thrive on violence and seek joy from stabbing one another with swords while giant trolls watch on. They are also rather horny; that’s just my visual take. We make use of the props on display and give our best Norwegian pose. Unfortunately we couldn’t find any real trolls lurking around. I was rather disappointed and saddened that we had to use a fake one. Using what limited resources we had, I think we depict a rather accurate photo of Norwegian life today.

Ni hao. Wo ai Zhongguo! It’s China time. Now, having studied and learned Chinese back in high school for four years, I had the whole conical straw hat thing down pat and was quite confident with where my Chinese knowledge level was at. I was, however, unaware that Chinese people spray-pained themselves gold on a daily basis and ran around with their shirts unbuttoned. It’s amazing how much a statue can teach you. Immediately upon realizing this, I tried to find gold body paint, but to no avail. I was also quite mad at myself for not wearing a button-up shirt today. I think I speak on behalf of all the Aussies when I say we failed at being Chinese.

Zaijian China and hello U.S.A. Having lived in the U.S.A. for a year now I encourage my Aussies to pretend to be American by doing what Yank’s do best; patriotism. Americans LOVE being American so we try to adopt this same adoration for our pretend country. We deck ourselves out in ginormous star spangled banner hats and hold our hand to our heart just long enough for the camera to snap. Woah, that’s enough chauvinism for one day, kids. In between frolicking from this hat journey to our next, Nicole fits in another beer; oh my.

We’re cruising in style to our next destination. I snap my fingers. Within second a magic carpet arrives; ‘Carpet, take us to a fez-filled country.‘ We disembark the carpet to find ourselves in a whole new world where every turns a surprise. Nicole walks ahead, eager to explore this foreign land. I hear her bellow from a far; ‘Hold your breath it gets better!‘ I group with my remaining Aussies as we link arms and tip toe around the corner of what seems to be a strange market place. Brendon leans closer and whispers; ‘Hey guys I think we’re in…’ ‘Morocco! We’re in Morocco,’ screams an excited Nicole. Way to ruin Brendon’s blog appearance, Nic!

We browse through the backstreet markets of Morocco until we stumble upon the Fez House. We each put one on. I suddenly feel the much needed urge to move my hips in ways they have never been moved before. I want to jump on top of a table and do some serious belly dancing. I immediately take my fez off. I glance over at Nicole. She is serenading Carlos by belly dancing laps around him. I run over to her and take a giant leap into the air (this is all happening in slow motion by the way) knocking her fez off her head before hitting the ground. We place our fez’ back on our heads, but only long enough for a single snap of the camera.

Bonjour! Upon stepping foot in France I feel the constant urge to make love to any man in my path. Well, not any, but some. After all, Paris is the city of love and who can deny one wearing nothing more than a seductive beret? Since we are at Disney though, we must keep it clean, so, unfortunately for you guys reading this, we are wearing more than just a beret. I have a sneaking suspicion that if you friend request Nicole on Facebook, she’d be more than willing to send you the private photos her and Carlos took in just their berets.

We journey off to the United Kingdom to sip some tea and meet the Queen. Just like Norway, judging by the props available to us in the gift store, I get the feeling that people in the UK enjoy promoting violence via daily heroic sword battles (minus the giant troll watching on). I try to fathom how much had changed since my last visit to London in 2008; the Brits seemed civil and harmless back then. I guess it goes to show that anything can happen.

I was somewhat sad that our hat journey was about to come to an end, and of all countries, Canada had to be the last. Canada, eh? Canadians are completely in denial about their extensive use of the word ‘eh‘. The problem is, they say it so often, they don’t even realize that they’re doing it. It’s similar to the usage of the word ‘like’ by a tween girl; she will say it at least five times within a sentence without even realizing; it’s kind of a second nature. Oh well, at least us non-Canadians know the truth and the truth is all that matters.

We each grab one of Davy Crockett’s hats for our Canadian pose. Nicole grabs a beaver and, without even thinking, gets down on her knees in front of Carlos. Typical of her. We transform into our Canadian selves in preparation for our final photo. Instead of yelling out cheese, we yell out eh? I don’t think the Canadian store attendant taking our photo is too impressed but the jokes on him because I heard him say eh prior to taking our photo.

Our hat-tastic journey around the world is over. How sad. No more parks and only one day left with my Aussies. I want to bathe in a pool filled with my own tears of misery. Attractive, I know.

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CHAPTER 9
~ End It With A Bang ~

Tonight marked the final night out with my Aussies. We had plans for another messy night at club Rain. Again, I’d love to report back on the nights events, but I have limited memory of our time there. Strangely enough, there were also no photos taken. Either Gavin was too drunk to operate his camera or he was being kept occupied. Hmmm; my monies on the later of the two.

Speaking of being kept occupied, tonight was the night Nicole and Carlos finally consummated their love for one another by swapping spit. It was a gruesome sight watched on by all. Cheering and applauds could be heard from miles on out. Finally, after nine days, Nicole and Carlos had accepted what we had realized from the beginning; true love.

We drunkenly stumbled our way out of the club to attend to the dire needs of Kellen who had passed out in the back of Ali’s car. Right there, in the parking lot of Rain, we exchanged our good byes and farewells. Much to my surprise, this was a tear-free event. This is an odd occurrence for Gavin and myself as we usually dribble and drool on each others shoulder while sharing a farewell embrace. I jump into one car, my Aussies in another and we drive our separate ways; Gavin driving an entirely separate way altogether (re. chapter title).

The last nine days with my Aussies was way too much fun; an epic hot mess, if you will. I am so happy that they took the time to come over to Disney for a visit. We made magical memories that will last a life time in my heart. See you guys back home in Australia!
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~ The End ~

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My Belly Fits The World… What’s Your Specialty?

November 3, 2009

Today was the day I tested the extreme limits of my stomach… more specifically, my stomachs stretch-ability to fit abnormal amounts of food into it. Before exiting my apartment this morning, I had a one-on-one chat with my tummy informing it that it had to be on its best behaviour today when un-human-like portions of food would be sent over for acidic break-down. My belly seemed to obey these orders and for this, I am extremely grateful and proud. More so grateful that I was able to make it back to my apartment at the end of the day without getting sick from the over-consumption of delectable delicacies.

What on earth am I talking about? I hear you ask. Well, today, Countess ChiChi and myself headed to the 2009 EPCOT Food & Wine Festival to eat the world one last time before it comes to a sad and untimely ending on November 8.  Today was indeed a magical culinary adventure which involved myself, my mouth and my stomach… Oh, and how could I forget, the wonderful Countess ChiChi.

EPCOT Food & Wine Festival 2009

I’d reveal Countess ChiChi’s identity but I have been threatened by the Countess herself, that if, and I quote… “post that picture of me looking like a disheveled mess in that red Fez then it’s on like Donkey Kong. Not a threat that would hold up in a court of law, just saying ;)”.  As eager as you all are to have me reveal the Countess’ identity, I’d rather survive and continue blogging for you all. Apoligies go out to my thousands of adoring fans, I can undestand your disappointment with me right now.

Beef Empanada from Rio de Janeiro

First stop Argentina. Beaunos Aires to be precise. I ordered the Beef Empanada with Tomato Salsa. Under normal circumstances (ie. Back in Australia), I would never even consider sampling this sort of culinary treat, but having encountered the amazingness that is an Empanada at Bongo’s Cafe (Downtown Disney – Westside) previously, I knew that my tastebuds were in for a celebration. Tastebud party in my mouth, everyone’s invited! Mmmm delicious. At this moment, my stomach felt like it was at one of those coin-operated window strip shows; it was only just getting teased… I had yet to pay more for the deliciousness to continue.

Next up; Ni hao Zhong Guo… “Lynda, dude, what the hell, it’s like you’re speaking a completely different language!?!” It’s because I am, fool! Hello, China! Shanghai, if I recall correctly. Again, not extremely big on Chinese food and I’m not one to sample foods I am not familiar with, but when Countess ChiChi informed me that the Pork Pot Stickers at the Shanghai kiosk were similar to that of dim sims, I was all over those babies like a fat kid on cake.

Pork Pot Stickers from Shanghai

Pork Pot Stickers from Shanghai, China

Considering I am pretty much one of the fussiest people ever to grace the planet Earth, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed my Pork Pot Sticker. I’d never consumed one before so I really had nothing to compare these too, but they were delicious none the less. Note: The chop sticks were strategically placed there by Countess ChiChi to enhance the quality of the image. I used my fingers to eat. So lady like, I know.

Grilled Lamb Chop, Red Wine Sauce & Murray River Sea Salt from Melbourne

Now, I know I’ve blogged about this bloody lamp chop at least two times before, but I can’t help but spread the word on how amazing it is, seriously, do yourself a favour and head to the Melbourne, Australia kiosk! Lamb is rare here in the USA, so to be able to visit EPCOT and easily purchase something I love so dearly and have come to appreciate so much more now that it’s so hard for me to find is a nice privilege. I’ve said it once and I will say it again, the Grilled Lamb Chop with Red Wine Sauce and Murrary River Sea Salt goes down a treat and is absolutely delectable. It gets the two thumbs up from me, mate!

By this point, my belly was starting to feel quite the bit full, but it remembered that deal we made prior to departing for EPCOT. It was going to be true to its word. Good belly. With this being said, off we went to England to sample some English cuisine. Walking towards England I couldn’t help but dart my eyes toward the “Traditional Fish & Chips” sign hanging by the English Pub. I had been craving Aussie style fish and chips for some time now, and knew the Brits did fish and chips pretty similar to how we do it Downunder, so the Countess and I stopped and shared a serving of Traditional Fish and Chips.

Traditional Fish & Chips in England

Now, the fish was no Aussie flake, but it was rather tasty, the best I’ve sampled so far in the USA. The chips, well, the chips were AMAZING. They were actual thick cut chips, none of this french fries crap. Hot, salty, thick cut chips. Can you please pass me a napkin so I can mop up my drool. Thank you. Scrumptious and rather filling. My belly was feeling quite content at this point in time. You’d think by now that I’d maybe be full, well, yes, I was semi-full, but was I about to stop eating? Hell no! The world is my oyster. Om nom nom nom.

epcotWe made a quick stop by Mexico to pick up a Churro, which, let me tell you, is like sex on a stick. Absolutely scrumptious in every way possible. Crispy, sugary and cinnamony on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside; heaven. From Italy I picked myself up a Primavera. I’ve blogged about this slushy drink before, but to refresh your memory, it is an ice mix of strawberry, banana and peach. It is so full of flavour and extremely refreshing in the Florida heat. I gulped that baby down like it was going out of fashion! Ahhh, brain freeze!

Chocolate dipped strawberries from Goofy's Candy Company

It was time to give my poor, helpless belly a deserving yet short break. The Countess and I had successfully eaten our way around the world at EPCOT so we decided to depart and hit up Downtown Disney. ChiChi had never been to Downtown Disney before so I was excited to show her around and let her indulge in my 40% merchandise discount which she was quick to accept and take advantage of. After a short stint of shopping, we treated our taste buds to chocolate dipped strawberries from Goofy’s Candy Company and a wonderfully pleasant dinner at Portobello Restaurant at Downtown Disney’s Pleasure Island.

I’m retiring my tummy for the day, it deserves it.