Dasad, I discovered had never experienced the beautiful chaos that is the Disney theme parks. This realization shocked me a little, as Dad has our yearly exodus to Florida planned and booked at least a year in advance (Typically, the week after returning to Maryland, growls are heard, demanding our schedules for next summer). Visiting the familiar turnstiles and tourist-packed ‘lands’ percolate the senses the way home-baked cookies must entice wayward travelers. The cries of children, the scent of sugar roasted almonds, and even the sight of swollen lines carried the sweet warmth of remembrance, of past adventures en mass: nearly twenty or so brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, aunts, mothers, fathers, and grandparents. Nearly a continent away, I walked through the park nevertheless enervated, ready to show my friends an excellent time.
So having arrived in California, our first task was to get lost. For some reason the roads leading into Disney and thus the hotel had been blocked by the Anaheim police department. We circled the block several times, analyzing the various routes, double-checking our GPS, wondering if our room had somehow exploded and left us lodge-less for the remaining week. On our third try, the cop moved off, allowing traffic through; Dasad and I looked at each other, shrugged, and drove on to the Disney Paradise Pier Hotel.
Upon checking in, we discovered a gas leak had closed the street when a gaggle of construction worker busied themselves with repairs at the resort. Our concierge assured us nothing was amiss and although flammable material spewed onto the road, we were perfectly safe. After nearly seven hours in flight and nearly one attempting to enter the resort, I would not have cared had they admitted digging for uranium with dynamite.
Now before delving into the details of our travels, I want to say something about California weather. In Maryland, humidity can sap nearly all of one’s energy, leaving one lethargic and crawling toward the nearest air conditioner like a drowning man clawing at the sea breeze. Yet on the West Coast, sunshine and blue skies dissipate morning fog each and every day and nearly constant breezes found us rolling down windows and anticipating long walks through nearby shops and gardens. It’s no wonder that many of the environmental reforms stemmed from the Californian coastline; with the constant seasonal threat of humidity, hurricanes, blizzards, and floods, East Coasters have a love/hate relationship with Mother Nature, at times indifferent to whether she’s healthy or near-death.