Thursday, June 19, 2014

Around the World in One Afternoon

I recently traveled the world in one afternoon…visiting an astounding eleven countries, where I sampled delicious food…listened to awesome music…and admired the beautiful architecture and flora that make each of these countries so unique.

Yes, with a bit of pixie dust and Disney magic, I was whisked to places far, far away…losing myself in the specialness of the World Showcase….

Beginning my journey in Canada, our neighbors to the north…

There, I admired the beautiful Butchart Gardens, with their explosions of colors and smells:

Exploring a bit deeper, I stumbled upon the Canadian Rockies:

Hearing the unmistakable sounds of bagpipes, I stumbled across one of my most favorite bands, Off Kilter:

They were rocking out to "Danny Boy" and other Celtic gems, and I sat for a few minutes to enjoy their show. Many years ago, a Disney employee heard me mention how much I loved these guys, and later surprised me with an autographed CD, autographed photo, and a cool baseball hat. This pretty much put me in the "creepy stalker" category, but I stayed far enough away on this trip to not violate any restraining orders that may be out there.

Soon, it was time to move on…and so I winged it over to the United Kingdom…where I wandered some of the back streets of a quaint English village, where I admired the Tudor, Georgian and Victorian influences, with the tantalizing smell of fish and chips in the air:

Exploring further, I stumbled across some beautiful English gardens, including an English maze that is fun to wander:

Soon, the pavilion in the maze came alive with the rocking sounds of "British Revolution", a band who was performing rock songs from British bands, including Pink Floyd, the Beatles, the Who - and Herman's Hermits. You haven't visited England if you haven't sang along to the 'classic' hit, "I'm Henery the Eighth, I Am" on the cobblestoned streets…fun times.

Wandering further, I stumbled upon a roving band of Shakespearean troupe players, performing improvisational skits that had all of us in stitches. Here, they've roped in volunteers to perform the famous death scene from "Romeo and Edna". (And you thought it was "Romeo and Juliet" - what little you know…)

I then crossed the Pont des Arts-inspired footbridge and the 'English Channel' for my next destination, which you can get a hint of in my picture below:

Yes - Viva la France!

It helps to be, like, the VERY first person in the morning to wander around the world, as the streets are amazingly pretty empty:

My tummy was hungry, and so I picked up some delicious cheeses to snack on, as well as some creamy chocolate mousse. I always try to speak the native language of whatever country I'm in, but my French is pretty limited to "Bonjour!" and "Merci!" and Au Revoir!" Fortunately, this was about all I needed to order my morning snack from the Patisserie.

There was actually more cheese in this tray to start with, but I may or may not have eaten some before I remembered to snap a photo. Sitting at a little table at the cafe, I admired the sights and sounds, as well as the smells of French perfume wafting through the air.

There's beautiful gardens and flowers and artwork in France, as well:

One cannot visit France without having a little French spirit - so, a delicious Grand Marnier Orange Slushie was now in order:

Nom. Nom. Nom. Très bon.

Reluctantly, I left the lushness of France and traveled to the arid desert of Morocco:

The architecture here is just stunning…and I could spend hours wandering the back alleyways and bazaars that are found here:

The smell of incense wafted through the passageways, while I wandered the hot streets of an almost-deserted country:

I didn't buy anything here, as I don't know a Single. Word. of Moroccan Arabic.

My next stop was Japan, where the towering replica of a 7th century Horyuji Temple greeted me:

At the foot of the pagoda, I came across these pretty ponds brimming with lilies and koi:

Japan has the best shopping center in the entire World, and so I stopped in for a much-needed necessity…a fan. That's because the temperature outside had now reached a balmy 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and I needed relief. Here, the young lady is writing my name (in Japanese) on my purchase:

I only know one Japanese phrase, thanks to Styx: 'Domo arigato' (Mr. Roboto), meaning, "Thanks!" It was enough to impress the young lady.

With fan in hand, I wandered to the next country…the United States. Honestly, this is the least-pretty pavilion in all of the World Showcase:

I tried…I really tried…to find ANYTHING that was pretty, or unique, or special about this place…but the best I could do were these patriotic flowers:

Moving on.



I'll let the photos speak for themselves on just how beautiful, how AMAZING, this country is:

I could live here.

Fortunately for me, I can speak some Italian - and so I indulged in some cool and refreshing chocolate gelato:

Delizioso. Squeeee!!!!!!

Germany - my homeland - was next…

I enjoy looking at the massive and huge miniature trains that are set up here:

My grandpa had an entire room set up with miniature trains, so this always reminds me of him…I always get a bit nostalgic looking at these.

Germany has some cool shops, but my favorite thing to see is the Pickle Tree:

An entire Christmas tree decorated with…pickles. Supposedly, the pickle ornament is the last ornament to be put on the tree, and the child who finds it on Christmas morning will be blessed with good luck. One of these years, I'm going to actually BUY one of these pickle ornaments that I admire each year - but I'll have to learn some German first. If I can't at least say "thank you" in the native language, I can't buy anything - those are the rules.

Leaving my beloved Pickle Tree behind, I then made my way to China, where I admired the beautiful Temple of Heaven:

Then, on to Norway…

I was tickled to find this hidden treasure in Norway…a statue of Grete Waitz, a famous Norwegian marathoner, who was the first woman to run the marathon in under 2.5 hours:

I'll never achieve that, so I have to salute Ms. Waitz.

And finally…last, but not least, I visited Mexico:

I speak pretty decent Spanish, so I stopped here for some delicious nachos for lunch. I must have impressed the young man who waited on me, as he complimented me on my "authentic Spanish accent" and asked me where I had learned to speak it so well. "Many mission trips to Guatemala," I replied - which tickled him. And no photos of my nachos - as most of them ended up in my lap instead of my mouth, so I had a huge mess to contend with.


So…eleven countries…in one afternoon. Whew. But I had one more stop.

It was almost time for the United States soccer team to play in their first match in the 2014 World Cup - and how appropriate that I had traveled the world before the game. Disney had set up a viewing lounge in Epcot, and I made my way there, to sit down with a few hundred other fans and take in the game:

Television screens everywhere…snacks…drinks…and most importantly, refreshing air-conditioning. It was awesome.

And the United States won.

We may have a sucky pavilion at the World Showcase - but we have a pretty decent soccer team.

So…goodbye for now…Adios…Au Revoir...Auf Wiedersehen…and so on…thanks for joining me on my trip around the world.


No comments: