Florida Sunshine

Trip Start Apr 01, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Coming Home

As most of you know, I'm liking Korea. Combined with no desire to find another job, I have made the decision to stay another year at my school. As a result, I get to come home for 18 days between contracts. In order to see as many people as possible, I created this itinerary: Florida, Dallas, Chicago, Madison, Twin Cities, Las Vegas. If you are in one of these locations, I hope I can see you soon. The following is the first part of a multi-part blog detailing my travels home. First stop: Marco Island to visit my parents and relax. 

Long Saturday

I left Korea at 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning after taking advantage of a separate going away party (some other friends were going back to Australia) to say goodbye to my friends. I would arrive 13 hours later in Atlanta. The clocks seemed to believe it was only 10:45 a.m. on that same Saturday. Bring on the jetlag! After enjoying my second lunch in the airport I boarded a hour flight to Ft. Myers where my wonderful parents were awaiting me.

The weather was gorgeously hot and their condo scenically located on the ocean: perfection. In order to prevent any horrid sleep schedule I tried to stay up until my usual bedding hour, around midnight. This failed miserably. After a yummy dinner and some NCAA tourney hoops I passed out around 8 p.m. This would be my first wink of sleep in over 28 hours (I didn't sleep on the planes).

Fighting the Jetlag

Unfortunately, the strange sleep schedule began at 3:30 a.m., when I woke up the next morning. I did anything and everything one can do before the sun comes up: read, wrote, played with the computer. Finally, when I determined that it was a decent hour to go outside (7:30 a.m.), I went for a beach run.

Our first activity together would be an Art Fair in downtown Naples. Located on ritzy 5th Avenue (not quite the same as New York), it was sizable and fun. After a couple hours of walking in Florida heat, we headed for my first taste of U.S. dining: TGIF. Definitely didn't blow my mind, but the sandwich was tasty. After picking up some new running shoes (Brooks, they are sweet), we headed back for more NCAA action. Again, I fell asleep.

This strategy seemed to work though. I was able to eat dinner, watch a movie and even watch the late Lakers-Wizards game. I went to bed after midnight, wow!

Winning the Battle? 

I woke up around nine and felt refreshed. After lounging around for a couple hours (put my Mom on facebook), we headed to one of the Rohde family traditions: mini golf. With high stakes on the line (dollar per 18), I managed to stave off my Mother's late surge (3 of the last 5 holes = hole in ones!) to win the first 18. My luck ran out the next 18 as my Father took over and my Mom fell into some sort of black hole.

More dollars were put on the line as we came home and played cards on the porch (Rohde traditional card game: estimation). Again my Dad was victorious taking advantage of me forgetting one of my bids down the stretch. I can blame the jetlag. It would detain me again later as I tried to finish The Fountain while enjoying a leftovers dinner. After my Mother's persuasion, I went to bed around 8:30 p.m., again too early.

Happy Birthday

For those of you that don't know, I was a joke and a mistake. I was able to celebrate this fact yesterday, April 1. Unfortunately, I would be groggy for a large chunk of the day, having woke up at 5 a.m. I did my usual morning owl routine, finishing with a beach run. On the way back, I met my Mom and we walked for another hour and fetched the paper, a beautiful way to start the morning.

Our first activity for the day would be UPS. My friend Randal (who is doing the Trans-Siberian from China to Europe) gave me his 20+ kilogram suitcase to bring home for him along with $50. He originally offered $100, but I declined for the lesser, silly me. I luckily did not have to pay to put it on the plane (anything more than 30 kilos you do). I was even luckier that the UPS charge for shipping to Arkansas from Marco was almost exactly $50, $49.35.

After this mundane adventure we went real golfing at Valenica, one of the cheaper courses in the area: $60 per 18 per person (definitely not like Minnesota golf). The weather was great and the course was only slightly burnt out (a Florida staple). Astonishingly, I was driving wonderfully. Almost every drive was straight and between 250-300 yards. And this was with a driver rather than my usual reliance, a three wood.  Unfortunately, I was playing my usual bogey golf, because my bad short game was making up for my great long game. Playing much better was my Father. Chipping in for birdie on the 9th helped him record an even par 36...nice work!  Further frustrating then my scatterbrained play was the rain on the second nine. By the 12th hole it was pouring! I attempted my birdie putt (it wasn't even close) in a deluge and walked off soaked.

Once showered and cleaned up, we played another round of estimation. I won handily. However, the victory was soon under protest from my Father as a sympathy win from my Mother. She did take a rather steep dive at the end after remembering it was my birthday. She ardently defended her honest play and I happily collected my $2, giving me a dollar profit for the trip.

Next stop was Tokyo Inn, a Japanese steakhouse where the chefs prepare the food in front of you and make cheezy jokes like, "Japanese Egg Roll," while rolling an egg. It's fun and delicious, and a tradition for my birthday. We calculated that I've been to around ten of the places in many states, and mostly on my birthday. Maybe the rain had given me a slight cold, because I was feeling groggy. I didn't even eat any of my fried rice, often the best part.

I came home and NBA League Pass couldn't even keep me awake. Flipping between the Timberwolves and Garnett's Celtics, my two favorite teams, I was falling asleep again. I let the jetlag take the best of me and hit the hay at 10 p.m. leaving my Dad to enjoy the NBA drama solo.

Now and Later, Not the Candy, Though Delicious

I woke up at 8 a.m. today and have been writing this for the last 50 minutes. Not only did I revive my sleep schedule, I am also writing my fastest blog entry yet, nice!

Today, after some shopping and relaxing, I will be heading to Dallas to visit my sister. From there, it will be Chicago, Madison, Twin Cities for time with friends and family. And finally, Vegas, for some good old fashioned fun. If you want to see me and we don't already have plans, please e-mail, I would love to hear from you.

Also, I have written three other entries that I didn't send out, because I wrote them around the same time and didn't want to bug you too much. Anyway, check out new entries of Thailand, China and Jeju, they are pretty sweet.

As always, I hope you are doing well and enjoying life. I hope to see you soon.

Love, Bill
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iamsoozi on

Happy Birthday!
I was going to email you yesterday, before the blog, I swear! Sounds like it was fun. I don't think I'll get to see you on your tour :( But I hope you have a great time!


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