At the centre of Orlando is Lake Eola, a very picturesque spot known for having a high population of the rare black swans. Orlando is rather unique in terms of big cities; it doesn't have a purely metropolitan downtown area. When you go to New York City, Tampa, Miami, L.A. and other large cities have one thing in common: they're big cities! Orlando is different; it actually has small, simple neighborhoods - like you see in the suburbs. Lake Eola is ringed by office buildings, high-rise apartments/condos, and the quiet tree-lined streets of central Orlando. It's also got some great shops and restaurants. "Urban Think!" is a cool local bookstore and coffee shop. You can find mainstream publications, and books by local authors. I keep trying to get them to put my novels in the stacks, but they don't seem inclined toward teen sci-fi. Oh well, better luck next time.
Periodically, there are craft fairs and festivals held at the lake. There's an amphitheatre right on the water, where the Shakespeare Festival is held. Also, they rent swan boats so you and your sweetie can go for a little paddle on the water. This is also where the city shoots off fireworks on the Fourth of July and New Year's Eve. Just to show you how thoughtful the city is, they do the New Year's Eve fireworks twice; early in the evening, so the kids can see them, and then later at midnight. How many cities do that?
A couple years back, the Walt Disney Company hosted a music festival at the lake. My wife Jo Ann and I took our daughter Alexa, and a couple of friends. One really great thing about the lake is that it's handicap accessible. My wife has MS and uses a wheelchair, so it's nice that she can get around and participate. As it happens, our daughter has quite the different taste in music than what you would expect; she loves the oldies. I'm a child of the 80's, so I lean toward "Heart" and the "Bangles", but she finds the classic groups of the 50's and 60's to be great; although she does like some of the modern crooners.
One of the groups performing that night was called "The British Invasion"; they specialized in lots of "Beatles" songs, so Alexa was in seventh heaven. Well, she wanted to dance. Me, I've got two left feet, but what father can say no to his little girl? So, we got up and danced. Jo Ann got out the camera and snapped a couple shots; thank God it wasn't video! We have those pictures, and I cherish them. At least with stills you can't see how lame a dancer I am.
Click here for more by AJ Robinson.
Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
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