Orlando Vacation, Day 1, Part II: Shut the Hell Up!

Note: Diamondqueen notifies me of any mistakes I make in my blog posts. Cross-outs reflect the corrected mistake, which immediately follows.

We made the long trek from the Cabana Bay lobby to the parking garage to get our baggage, then another slog to a distant gate that opened onto a courtyard, which in turn presented the entrance to our part of the hotel. We were on ground level (or, actually, below ground from the garden walkway that passed beyond our windows), so no elevators to cope with.

We opened our room door to another retro spectacular that had Diamondqueen shouting, “I want this room! I want this in my house. I want to live in this.” We had a sitting area with a kitchenette and breakfast bar; it was also my sleeping area with a fold-out sofa. The bedroom was beyond a sliding door that became a point of contention; S.Hooligan could lie on the

S.Hooligan and the sliding she wouldn't leave alone. My sofa bed was right on the other side of the room screen.

S.Hooligan and the sliding door she wouldn’t leave alone. My sofa bed was right on the other side of the room screen.

bed she shared with her mother and close the door with her foot, no matter how often and angrily I protested. There was a vanity area with the toilet on one side and another sink and tub/shower on the other (behind doors, of course). The decor was almost terminally cool, more of the atomic styling and orange and turquoise palette, plus bar stools and pendant globe lights at the breakfast bar and geometric graphics on the walls.

I was so tired even my lips were numb, so I started to make up my sofa bed. This involved stacking some small kidney-shaped tables, finding someplace to stow the big sofa cushions, then throwing myself across the huge bed to stretch the sheet into place. It was a real bed, though, not a lumpy thing with a mattress so thin the springs poked me in the hip.

As weary as I was, I should have fallen immediately into a drugged kind of sleep. However, the hallway just outside the door to my sleeping area was a cacophony of noises. A lot sounded like kids running to and from the nearby pool, others like people arriving with luggage carts. No one seemed able to speak in a subdued voice; I felt as though I was trying to nap in the busy airport. I dozed fitfully, and when I got up I was almost as tired as when my head hit the pillow. Then I had to re-make the sofa and the sitting area.

We had early admission tickets for Universal on Monday. Diamondqueen wanted to catch the first shuttle bus so we could get a jump on the crowds for the Harry Potter attractions. She’d decided we’d find a grocery store and buy things for breakfast so we could get right out the door in the morning, so we all folded ourselves into the yellow Kia to go shopping.

On the way to Cabana Bay, Diamondqueen had told us to keep an eye out for Turkey Lake Road. “Turkey Leg Road?!” S.Hooligan shouted in delighted amazement. “I want to see Turkey Leg Road.” Even after we corrected her, she kept yelling, “Turkey Lake Road. I love Turkey Lake Road!” (Especially for this trip, S. had also developed a vocal tic that had her spontaneously shouting “We do not consent!” “I do not give consent!” Whether or not it was apropos–usually it wasn’t–she delivered the line at such high volume that we and everyone near her got a jolt.) S.Hooligan was immensely cheered that we again had to travel Turkey Lake Road.

At the supermarket we trailed up and down the aisles, choosing breakfast foods as well as snacks for the week. (“S., do you want donuts?” “We do not consent!” “I do not give consent!” “Will you want chips?” “We do not consent!” “I do not give consent!”)

Back in the car, we discussed having dinner somewhere. S.Hooligan wouldn’t agree to any of our suggestions, so we wound up dumping her back at the room. Diamondqueen, J.Hooligan, and I made the hike back along the garden walk to Cabana Bay central.

We’d read they served food in conjunction with the on-site bowling alley. At Madison Bowl, my childhood bowling alley, there was a separate bar/dining area. When I worked at South-Western Publishing just up the road, many employees went to “the bowling alley” for lunch. I thought maybe Cabana Bay’s Galaxy Bowl would be the same, but when we finally located it on the second floor, the hostess led us to an elevated area with tables and chairs that overlooked the alleys themselves.

The view from our table. It definitely had a Big Lebowski vibe, which didn't hurt, either.

The view from our table. It definitely had a Big Lebowski vibe, which didn’t hurt, either.

I think this is when the retro spirit of the resort started getting to me in a positive way. I never liked the mid-century styles of decorating at the time they were contemporary. But when I see this style, it evokes my childhood vividly, and nostalgia takes over–if not for the “look” of the age, then for what I was experiencing in those settings. I spent many Tuesday or Thursday nights, especially during the summer, running around Madison Bowl while my parents competed with their team. I also remember a visit to another local alley that actually had Eames-style chairs and starburst designs on the walls. The Galaxy Bowl took everything a step further–black light bowling, for instance, unheard of when I was a kid–but the general atmosphere made me feel like I was eleven years old again, with loose change to spend on peanut butter cups from the vending machine and the mechanized bowling game all the kids loved.

I really wasn’t expecting much of the food at the Galaxy Bowl, but I got a decent burger and fries. A rowdy bunch was hurling the ball through the neon semi-dark below us while wide screen televisions above the pins broadcast the NBA play-offs between the Warriors and the Cavaliers (not that anyone seemed to be paying any attention).

Back at the room, Diamondqueen brought her knitting out into the sitting area and we watched TV for awhile. (There was also a television in the bedroom, which S. was monopolizing as usual.) I’d told Diamondqueen about the noise in the hallway that afternoon. Soon we heard continual door slamming and loud voices which seemed to come from the room across and down from ours, even though it was going on eleven by then. At one point Diamondqueen tried to jerk open our door to yell at people, but she forgot about the second lock and nearly rammed her face into the door. She then phoned the hotel desk and complained about the noise. Later when we heard voices in the hall, Diamondqueen peeked out to see a security guard, who was discussing the situation with the other guests in Spanish.

Soon after that, Diamondqueen went in to bed, S.Hooligan gleefully shutting the sliding door they hoped would shield the three of them from my snoring. It had been such a hassle to pull out the sofa bed, I decided to throw the sheet over the sofa itself and make my bed that way. It was plenty comfortable, but I still had trouble falling asleep, partly due to the continuation of voices and slamming doors in the hallway.

When I reached the point of wanting to rip the pillow apart with my teeth, I threw open our room door (taking care to properly unlock it first) and glared up and down the hallway. Two older Hispanic women were making their way to the vending machine room near the outside door. At one point they glanced back at me, then went on outside. Inside the hotel room they’d just left, there were still several animated voices, various knocks and slams, and the roar of a hair dryer.

I went back to the sofa and turned on the TV, hoping it was low enough not to wake the others but providing enough white noise to help lull me to sleep. I must have dozed for awhile. When I woke up around 1 a.m., there was silence. I turned the TV off and finally lost consciousness.

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