Before leaving for Miami, we managed to sneak a visit to Universal studios - Island of Attractions. Unlike Disney, there was hardly any crowd, the day we went. Probably because it was on a weekday and rain was forecast ed for most of the afternoon. Disney nyabagathula we applied for fast passes, despite crowd being thin only to realise that the pass was not free, for starters and were as costly as the original ticket itself!!! Irunthaalum, we opted for it. One good thing was, we hardly had to wait for more than 5 minutes on any queue, which even without the fast pass was max. half hour.
Amazing spiderman and Harry Potter were the two rides that were highly recommended for us and we started the tour with Spidey. It again was a 3D ride, which, even before you could realise and attach yourself to it, ended abruptly. Its just a 10 minute ride and you would need multiple trips to enjoy it more. Note: If you are going for fast pass in Universal, better opt for the multi visit per ride pass, which is just 10$ more than one trip pass. That way you can enjoy your favourite rides more. And another reason being, there were hardly any interesting rides in Universal. Barring a few most of them were either strictly for kids (adults not allowed!! enna vida maatentanga :(( !!) or really mokka piece. And another important point to note is that, the famed Harry potter ride, doesnt come under any fast pass. You've to stand in the tirupathi queue to get potter darshan.
There was this Dr.Doom's fall, which my friend forced me into. Right at that moment, it started raining. I was happy that they would be cancelling it. But since we were already seated on the ride, they decide to make ours the last till rain stops. The concept of the ride is, its a 300 feet fall from the top, where in the ride will be doing hopping kind of act, going up and down all this from 300 feet!! Yeri ukkanthappo kanna moodinavan thaan..thiderrnu felt wind rushing against my face and my feet were dangling. Kanna thiranthu paatha avvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv....right at that moment they released for the fall and feet almost touched my head during the fall. Again, before the fear factor could set in, the ride got over in under 5 minutes. Since it was raining heavilly and pretty chilly rain at that, we decided to break for lunch. And same bulb here also. No veggie inside the park and cheese pizza came to rescue. There were few other water rides similar to the one in disney and we marched on to HarryPotterworld.
There was this hippogriff ride, which is a miniature rollercoaster. They had most of the setup from the series but majority of them were like huge modle pieces and were not open for public. There was this Ollivander show for selecting wand. It took an hour long to enter the shop and was totally not worth it. There were 2 major roller coaster rides, which again were like overkill of rides. They had the hogwarts express train. But again a display piece :( Most of them were shops for getting souvenirs. Not wanting to miss out on the main ride, stood in the queue for Potter darshan. Believe me, the number of rows would push Tirupathi to second spot!!! What would be 1 feet on a straight line had a dozen intertwining lanes!! Since i moved on to the single people queue, i managed to reach the ride much early. It was THE most thrilling ride i had ever went on that trip. Thrilling would be an understatement. Durationwise the longest also. Feels like you are flying with Harry inside the movie itself. Brilliantly setup.
We then moved on to Miami for the final leg of our trip. Friend had planned to attend the New year party from the shores of Miami. Since we went 3 days early, we spent some time on the beaches during the evenings and on a weekend squeezed in a trip to Key west as well. One word of caution for those planning Miami trip. Better scout much in advance for parking spots. Very very difficult to get parking!! especially on eve of any major holiday weekend. The ride to key west was one of the highly over rated rides. All of my friends were gushing about, how cool it would be to have sea view on both sides and zooming on the straight roads stretching in between. Firstly, the view point was not that great and after a while it becomes so boring!! Secondly, the road has stringent speed limits, for it has a deer sanctuary on the way and if you hit a deer..forget about your trip!! The traffic was moving at snails pace during that stretch to add to the kaduppu. We went on a glass boat ride which took us literally to middle of the ocean. We were told that Key west as such was 140 miles into the ocean and the ride took us further 20 miles inside. They gave free snacks and drinks inside the boat and after around an hours drive, they stopped the boat in mid ocean. There were coral reefs which were pretty clearly visible from the glass bottom and we got to see lot of different variety of fishes too. More like what we see in Discovery channel, but in real time. There was adithadi crowd to get a vantage point to the glass bottom but soon one after another dropped off to the counter. Everyone were seen holding a paper bag to their face. OCla kedaikuthu sollitu chipsum pepsiyum adichathu resulted in sea sickness and ellam oray the vomits :) Another noteworthy thing to see on Key west is the milestone marker. It marks the southernmost tip of US and it seems Cuba is just under 100 miles from there. No wonder most of the people spoke Spanish first and English very little.
On New years eve we took a cab to the Bayside much early and roamed around till late night. Finally secured a vantage view point. Just like Times square, NYC and their famed balloon drop, here they've Orange drop- A laser light show. Luckily for us, 2013 happened to herald in the 500th year of Florida state formation and there was extended firework display as part of the celebrations. It was fantastic and needless to say the best ever new year welcoming moment for me. Usually, i would be curled up in bed, watching some movie. This was the first time, after 10 long years, i attended a new year party :) New year aarambichathum semma managalaraama irunthuthu. We couldnt get a cab back and for 3 hours were roaming the streets to get one. And when we reached hotel, our rooms wouldnt open for the battery on the doors had drained out. It took another hour, before the security could break open the A/C and i had to half crawl inside that opening to open the door from inside. Varusha mudhal naalay kathava udaichi entry :D blockbuster year thaan pola :D
The next day we packed out early and drove all the way back to charlotte. On the way, we halted at Jacksonville. Not sure if it was because my naaku was dead and buried on cheese pizza diet for past 10 days, the indian restaurant that we visited had an amazing buffet and the taste was awesome to say the least. As a letter of recommendation, i wrote to the owner to open an outlet in Charlotte at the earliest and he said he is already planning to open one soon :)) Having been used to driving all throughout the trip, makkal were super charged up and 30Mph routela kooda came at 90 :D nalla vela maama kitta maatala.
Ipdiyaaga, oru vazhia oor vanthu senthutom :)
P.S: 2 Kutti matter to this post. Happens to be the 600th one on this blog and during the course of this tour dairy series, Supershanki crossed 175K hits :D:D posts podathappo thaan neria padikaraainga pola :D:D