Halloween: Freaking out in Florida

Trip Start May 10, 2009
Trip End Nov 02, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Monday, October 26, 2009

Arriving in balmy Florida to familiar faces was fantastic! After a long long time of not knowing anyone or anything, the comfort of a beautiful South African accent face to face was music to our ears (never thought I'd say that)

Being met at the airport by my family and being driven in an actual car with actual airconditioning was the next marvelosity! To be driven to a clean house with clean bathrooms and hot showers and SPACE was almost too much to bare...only copious amounts of beer and wine could calm us down :-)

So, Palm Harbor is the beautiful suburb in (or just outside?) Tampa where some of my family have settled. The life that Americans seem to live is a good one (speaking from a Floridian point of view of course cos thats all we have seen of the states so far). People are friendly, happy, relaxed and helpful and most want to know where in the South of Africa we are from as they know some one in the North of Africa (!) HAHA Shame that was only one lady actually, we'll give them a break.

The main event of the week was the buildup to halloween - a huge affair state side - like almost on a par with christmas in terms of decorating houses with lights and all the adverts in shops for candy and pumpkins etc! Amazing to see and there is definitely excitement in the air leading up to the big trick or treat night. We certainly added to the excitement as this was our first real halloween experience ever and rejoiced that we still have a cousin old enough to trick or treat so that we could share in the takings!

We were almost so busy visiting the various malls and spending the last of our travel budget on the amazing deals USA has to offer on really good clothing, to remember to buy the pumpkins! Luckily some shops still had at the 11th hour and we had a fun (and quite hard work) evening carving them out into cool patterns and faces!

Another day leading up to halloween was spent chasing dolphins around the Gulf of Mexico on my uncles new toy (a cool boat!) the water is pretty clear (and frighteningly shallow at times without warning!). We were lucky to see a stingray flapping around and also not only to see but hear squeaking and just about touch some dolphins! They were so beautiful, coming right up to the boat and splashing around.

On halloween eve it was time to exercise the vocal cords and we were whisked off by the older cuz's visiting from their Uni town for a surprise pressie of a trip to the theme park called 'Busch Gardens' for their special evening opening times and 'Howl-o-scream' additional extras in the form of 'scare zones' and 'horror houses'. The effort the park goes to in the form of costumes and decor is unbelievable! We screached and squealed our way through about 5 different themed scare zones (zombies, wear wolves, scary clowns, ghosts etc) where staff dressed up jump out the bushes or follow you and freak you out, and also through the 8 horror houses which we emerged from sweating in fear with blood pressure through the roof and adrenaline pumping (anyone whos been through the chamber live at Madame Tussauds, its like that only 10 times longer and 8 of them, all different!). All the main rollercoasters were in operation too, so we took rides inbetween the horror houses to calm ourselves down! The park closed at 2am and we got massive icecreams to soothe our sore throats on the way out!

Halloween night itself is so festive with all the neighbors (American spelling for effect) are out and about and all the neighborhood kidds meet as a house and go around trick or treating together...again, going all out with outfits they look great!

We had such a wonderful week of quality time with the fan-dam but all too soon 1 November rolled around and our amazing trip was over! We sadly made the trip back to the airport for the real final trip home...
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All of US in the US on

Dear Ang & Ian,
thank you for sharing your wonderful experiences with us - your couldn't have done it better! Also thank you for stopping in at Tampa on your way home (not that you had a choice!!) it was simply fantastic to see you and hear first hand your stories. You now have lifelong memories and are so much richer for it! We love you, with love US xxxxx

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