Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Florida Temps Hit Record Low To Start Year 2008

In the final days of 2007 we made our "usually annual" trek to Cocoa Beach and the very famous Ron Jon Surf shop. Woodies outside, a live "beach"band playing inside, lots of retro stuff, color, excitement- it's a great place to buy that new t shirt or pair of Crocs or shark's tooth on a chain.
Down at the pier and on the beach, the surfers play in the surf and there's plenty of people soaking up Florida rays of sunshine. Bikinis are the uniform of the day....or
Wet suits to protect from the somewhat cooler wasters this time of year. Dudes wax their surfboards and test the application hour after hour. Great fun to watch, and you can fish or grab a bite to eat on the pier while you check out the surfing action.
Under the was cool in the shade, perhaps a warning for the cold front headed our way.

But surely no one was expecting this! 9 degrees in Orlando a few days later? Well, actually there was a cold front that blew through on the third day of the new year sending temps down somewhere near 29 degrees. But is was truly, actually, and verifiably only 9 degrees inside the Gaylord Palms Convention Center ICE show. We wore our own winter (Alaska Ready) warm clothing, but they passed out heavy parkas to everyone who was less prepared. Being the travel turtles that we are, we pretty much carry everything around with us in the old "shell."
Inside, you will find 2 million pounds of carved ice. The ice is frozen here. The ice is dyed here. The ice is carved here. The display is put together here. In Orlando. So you would think it was an all American proposition. But if you did, you would be wrong. Because, in actuality, the Gaylord Palms brings in 30 ice carvers from northern China each year to create the display. What started out in China as carving ice for use as lanterns, has turned out to be a huge ice carving extravaganza. So while the show is technically "Made in the USA," it is actually "Made by Chinese in the USA." Go figure!
Some of the ice is frozen fast so that it appears white and translucent. Some is frozen slowly so that it is crystal clear. And lots of it is dyed bright colors to make the designs in the exhibition. But EVERYTHING is ice. Sold ice. And yes, it really was 9 degrees in there, and if you don't think so when you go in, you WILL think so when you come out. Trust me on this one. The price of admission includes a big cup of hot chocolate so that when you come out of the exhibit, you can hold it to warm up your hands, whether or not you want to drink the hot chocolate. I did both. My "camera hand" was so cold I was beginning to wonder if it was part of the show.

The bears were life size. The candy was huge- maybe 15 or more feet high.
There was an ice slide at the Penguin display for the brave of heart...and the young and foolish. You don't see a picture of me on the slide, now do you??? That's because I figure those that are ONLY young at heart should not ride the ride.
Even the Train was to scale and you could walk right through from one car to the next. We did. All aboard!
Despite plenty of signage similar to this below, there was a lot of all three of the "no-nos." Perhaps the security was a bit lax on this, the last day of the 45 day show. But to tell you the truth, at 9 degrees F, all 200,000 of the people attending could lick the ice and nothing would happen to it. Marilyn said she was thinking that a "Lick the Metal Pole" display, might get the point across to a few disobedient souls, but not on this day! Interesting thing about an ice carving show in Florida on what will probably be the coldest day of the year here in Orland0- it felt quite warm when we came back outside. But not THAT WARM!

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