On the Buses
Orlando Travel Blog› entry 18 of 23 › view all entries
Once I'd become used to the new time zone by spending a couple of days lazing about Miami Beach and wandering around a couple of it's shops and museums it was time to hit the trail to where I particularly wanted to go.
Disneyland is one of those childhood fantasy destinations and perhaps that's why I thought of Orlando when I selected the next Youth Hostel to stay at.
I boarded the bus and we were away. A Greyhound, wow, just like the movies and the songs.
We sat quietly in the bus and I watched the space outside roll by. I was kept informed of the towns we passed by the driver announcing each one. When we stopped for food he emphasized the importance of "Fast Food".
We arrived at Orlando station in the dark. I rang through to the hostel and they told me where to catch the bus.
I followed the instructions to the road and waited on the huge stretch of concrete -multiple lanes, all empty except for a tumbled shopping cart off to one side.
My sense of direction was skewed rather terribly and after 10 minutes or so not a single vehicle had passed and I had swapped from one side of the road to the other a couple of times, unsure of which was the right side for traffic here.
I saw a dude wandering up towards me and my guard went up. As he neared we struck up a conversation.
At the hostel most people were asleep. I was hoping to find some food again but it wasn't going to happen. I crawled off to bed and dreamed of breakfast.
In the morning I chatted to those around the table. A few were talking about driving across country. They rattled off the names of several famous cities. One of them had a rental car to return to somewhere and they wanted to find a couple of chums to help with the driving over the 5 days. It seemed to be a popular way of getting around the country. The company needed cars returned everywhere, they paid for the petrol but the time limit was strict, so it was good for getting from A to B but no good if you wanted to stop and sight-see along the way.
I was heading to New Orleans myself so I didn't participate in the discussion.
I wandered out of the hostel and around the area to see where I was. Perhaps it was a holiday or perhaps everyone was at work but once again I was struck by the huge emptiness of this country. I found a park and dawdled about snapping things of interest. There wasn't much, a lake with big paddle boats like swans and a squirrel running around a tree.
We don't have squirrels in NZ so I watched that as it scurried about the grass and darted up and down the trunk of it's home tree.
Like the road last night, the park was empty, nothing seemed to move in this place. After an hour or so I wandered back to the hostel to consider my next move and to gather information.
I decided to take a bus trip to the part of town where all the factory stores lay. I had already decided that Disneyland wasn't for me but my main reason for going there was to visit the airline office and change my flight to Jamaica from Miami to New Orleans - I could think of no good reason to back track.
Big brand shopping isn't a favourite pass time of mine either but I thought I'd check out what the fuss was all about since I was going out that way.
The bus ride was great. It took me through the more dilapidated part of town, where women climbed aboard and chatted with each other as if this was a daily ritual. This was the sort of life I had been hoping to witness.
When we had passed through the housing area we came to the broad layout of concrete and box buildings, all anonymous in the silence. The driver announced we had reached the factory stores and the bus emptied, all except for me. I just couldn't face walking across the empty land to the imposing square building without having any sort of idea what lay within.
I stayed on the bus and continued to the end of the run, watching the place unroll alongside me. I wanted to get my ticket alteration squared away so I could relax about that. It was $50 to change my booking but avoiding the return bus trip justified the expense.