Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It's a Small World After All

Greetings, dear readers, from the bottom-right-ish corner of the U. S. of A - home of 80% humidity, great orange juice, and ridiculously expensive taxi service.

The Baron and I are having a grand old time on our adult-only business/fun trip (let me clarify that by "adult-only", I refer here to the absence of Dukes 1 and 2; we are not at some loosey-goosey clothes-optional establishment nor is any swinging of any sort taking place). We were aware that the gods were giving us their blessings when we actually boarded our plane on time at O'Hare. Mind you, we then proceeded to sit on the tarmac for another 15 minutes while they fixed some sort of air conditioning mumbo-jumbo; that is but a mere trifle.

Much like Big Daddy, the lovely Scarlett's dear husband over at I'm No Belle, the Baron had many suggestions for upcoming blog topics regarding the various etiquette (and lack thereof) preceding and during the air travel process. I will say that there were a good many ideas tossed about, and I will endeavour to include these at a later date. I'm not sufficiently cranky enough to do them justice just yet. What I am amused enough to talk about today is the apparent Disneyfication of the area we are staying at.

Let us first make our way back to the Way Back Machine, back to the time when the Baroness was a mere child of seven, embarking on her first pilgrammage to the original land of the mouse. For me, of rich internal life, impossibly fertile imagination, and high-potency rose-colored glasses, this really was a magic kingdom. I loved every minute of it. While the Baroness does not usually like to play favorites, I did have my top three. Number One - "Pirates of the Carribbean". For many, this was merely amusement. For me, it was a true thrill ride. I nearly had an anxiety attack over all the fires that sprouted out here and there throughout the attraction, and was concerned that no one seemed in too much of a hurry to extinguish them. I was in shock over the carousing and lewdness going on - surely a brawl would ensue - would they jump from the displays into the water and drag us in? I believe I told my mom to tighten her grasp on her purse - these people were savage, and the crowd was about to turn ugly. Part of my love of this particular attraction was when it was over. I heaved a sigh of relief that we narrowly escaped with our lives and our pocketbooks, and that no one was shot. Crazy drunks.

The second favorite was the Submarine Ride. Imagine - after all those years of watching old war movies with my dad, I was going on an actual submarine! Not only were there fish swimming past the portholes, there was a staggeringly beautiful mermaid, brushing her flowing sea tresses. Who knew that glamour could be under the sea as well as on shore? This California place? Exactly what I expected from the movie magazines I read.

The last, but in no way least, favorite was "It's a Small World". Oh, those cute little dolls of different countries. Singing, twisting, beckoning for all to join hands in one big global love-in (what do you expect? It was the 70's...). They were sparkly and bejewelled, and I was smitten by the happy chappy in the leiderhosen. I think I dragged the parental units on this ride numerous times; eventually they were making outrageous promises to each other not to be the one to escort me. Regardless of the behind-the-scenes administrative business, I was in love with the happiest place on earth, and I was frantically conjuring up scenarios that would allow me to make this place my permanent residence.

Flash ahead some 20-odd years. Now it's the Baroness and her newly acquired Baron tromping the yellow brick road. We're still very excited to be here, and the Baroness is playing ambassador, as it's the Baron's first time. As I begin to show the Baron all of my favorite haunts, something becomes extremely obvious. My rose-colored glasses have been crushed under the heel of adulthood. Those flames in "Pirates"? Fans, lights and fabric. The fish "floating" by the submarine window? Attached to the bottom of the tank with fishing line, some of the knots have slipped, and the fish are floating at an odd 45 degree angle. "It's a Small World"? Clearly a cult. And for god's sake, could someone please take a Swiffer and dust of the tops of these freakish puppet heads? And dude in the leiderhosen? Hasn't aged well - I think I spot the demarcation line of a bad toupee, and some hints of a fake tan.

Flash forward to present day, where the von B's are at another kingdom - this one courtesy of Universal Studios. While I would never presume to bite the hand that feeds us, I would also be remiss if I did not mention how the hotel/resort we're staying at reminds me so much of our adult Disney adventure. The theme here is Italian, and I feel like I'm actually on a movie set; I'm expecting Giancarlo Giannini to emerge from around the corner brandishing a bottle of Chianti and a smattering of antipasti. Rather than fish tethered onto the bottom of a tank, they've gone full-scale here, complete with quaint, artificially-aged fishing boats anchored around a pseudo-marina. Vespas (sans engines) are bolted here and there, and there are troubadours roaming the lobby during happy hour. Crickets chirp at night, but strangely only in certain sections of the property. Everyone says "Buen Giorno" and "Bueno Sera", regardless if they're Haitian or Puerto Rican. It's a little bit jarring. All that being said, the facility itself (other than the fantastically fake trompe l'oeil exterior) is quite lovely, with loads of murals, and spectacular Marino glass chandeliers (the Baron is quite partial to the speaker in the bathroom that pipes in the tv, so he can hear sports scores while abluting). And you know what? There's enough little shops around here, I'm sure to find some rose-colored glasses somewhere.

Ciao, et mucho abbracchios!


The Guv'ner said...

Baroness, I am always smitten by the happy chappies in the lederhosen even today!

Wait no. Men should never, EVER wear lederhosen. Not even for a joke at a beer festival.

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

And kilts? Thoughts? Feelings?

Not Afraid to Use It said...

Did you live my childhood for me? You picked the greatest rides when you talked about your memories. I may have loved it for the air conditioning, but It's A Small World is still on the top of my list.

I cannot WAIT for you to get cranky enough to talk about the airplane etiquette. WooHoo!

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Countess NATUI: Yes, while it does max out the gauge on the old "Corny-o-meter", It's a Small World is still absolutely charming in its innocence. "After all" these years...

The Guv'ner said...

Kilts...No. Well..sometimes. Yes, some men can carry off the kilt if he's suitably smokin' looks wise and has the right sort of knees. Otherwise, no. Stay away from the skirts boys. But really, get a kilt on a hottie and you'll fall in love with them. The kilt and the hottie.

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