Trip to Orlando, FL

I’ve just been away to Orlando, Fl, for the Annual Meeting and Food Expo of the Institute of Food Technologists. This is our big meeting with approx 15,000 food technologists attending. It is fun to walk round the expo floor and see what new flavors have been created. This year the theme was Asian flavors, but I also tried a sweet corn ice cream. It definitely tasted very strongly of sweet corn. I also tried a coffee ice cream – which could have almost been tiramasu flavor but I was told that it didn’t have enough cinnamon.

I was surprised to miss writing while I was gone. I ended up writing an entry longhand just to satisfy my craving for writing.

After the conference I had two days vacation. As Disney isn’t my kind of thing, I went to Bok Sanctuary and Kennedy Space Center. I ‘ve always wanted to visit the space center, so I was very happy to finally go.

Bok Sanctuary is a lovely peaceful garden south of Orlando. On the drive there I was excited to see citrus groves. I was amused by a town called Frostproof. I don’t know if it was named that in hope or because the temp never falls below 0 C.

The Bok Sanctuary gardens are famous for the Singing Tower which is on the top of a hill. The tower contains a carillon and there are concerts every day. It was very pleasant to walk around the gardens listening to the bells.

They have a wildlife hide, called “window on a pond”. I saw turtles, ducks, a heron and a snowy egret, snakes, dragonflies etc. I also walked part of the nature trail and learnt that turpentine used to be collected from trees like maple syrup or rubber. The things you learn.

I hadn’t realised that this bit of Florida was hilly, but Bok Sanctuary is at one of the highest points around and there were some fantastic views from the gardens.

citrus groves
Kennedy Space Center was totally different. As a museum I found it very confusing, but that might have been my mood. There was helpful commentary once you got to an exhibit, but there was a lack signs and directions around the exhibits. I would like to have seen more science explained rather than the little nibbles and soundbites given. While it was ok for kids, educationally I think they would not have got much science unless their accompanying adults were willing and able to explain it to them. There are so many educational opportunties that could have come out of the exhibits.

The bus tour was very interesting – it takes you to three sites on the Kennedy Space Center campus, including a chance to see a replicate Saturn rocket. It is huge! It was also quite exciting as they were getting ready for the launch of Discovery, which should happen this weekend, weather permitting.

Space shuttle
I also so went to see an IMAX film about the moon. It was well narrated by Tom Hanks. It was very interesting, but again confusing as it wasn’t clear what was real and what drama. It was hard to tell what was really men on the moon and what was mock up. As it was it seemed to add to the idea that the whole man on the moon was a fake film.

I can remember it happening. Actually what I can remember is Dad waking me up and making my brother and I watch it with him on our tiny black and white TV, which sat in the corner of the dining room. I can remember sitting there and being awed (I must have been about 4 years old). Since that time I tried to avoid seeing other images of the moonlanding, so I wouldn’t forget the first time, but I can’t tell what is false memory and what I really saw back in 1969.


All photos (c)cdavies2006