(Wauchula, FL) - We had a full day planned. We drove over to Orlando to look around and have lunch with a coworker Jim worked with in his former life. He worked for Progress Energy, an electric utility company in Raleigh, NC. They provide electric service to parts of North Carolina and Florida. Jim was a workforce management analyst in the Raleigh call center, and his co-worker Kisha did the same job in one of the two Florida call centers, in Lake Mary.
Jim and Kisha
While driving on I-4 just west of Orlando we saw a rocket go up in the distance. Jim pulled out his Droid and found on the NASA website that it was a test firing of a new commercial rocket called Space X. It's planned to be used in the future to take cargo to the space station. We heard on the news that it was successfully launched into orbit, and it came down in the Pacific Ocean three hours later. I wish I would have had a chance to take a picture, but I didn’t.
We had lunch at Toojay's in Lake Mary. It's a traditional Jewish deli, with big sandwiches that they really pile on the meats.
Another site common around here this time of year is trucks full of oranges. There’s a couple citrus processing plants not very far from us. I’m hoping to learn about how they're harvested when they start on the trees just outside our park. (Click picture to make larger).
On the way home we stopped at The Mall at Millennia, the biggest, fanciest mall in the Orlando area. It’s huge and beautifully decorated for Christmas.
This is the "Santa" area in the center of the mall. The photo, taken with my phone, doesn't do it justice. It was beautiful! Those are video screens on top of those poles
We had fun window shopping at all of the (very expensive) stores. Our favorite is Neiman Markus (or as Jim calls it, "Needless Markup"). They have $80 chocolate Santas (only 6 inches high, mind you), $110 cotton t-shirts, and $350 blue jeans. Not to mention the prices of dresses and shoes! It's hard for us Wal-Mart shoppers to understand why anyone would pay such prices. :)
It's hard to see the detail in this photo, but these are butterflies that are hung on strings above the escalators. They hang down two stories. It’s beautiful!
The trip there and back was great. We passed a BBQ place on the way up called Smokin' Joe's. On the way back we stopped there for dinner. It’s a mom and pop place and the food was very good. The portions were huge, so we brought some of it home. I love those little places, you usually get a lot of food for the money.
At the end of our day we had a nice sunset... here in paradise.