18 August 2007


If you're driving from Orlando to Miami (or the other way around), make sure to take the Turnpike. It's like experiencing a highway designed by a Unix user.

1. It does one thing (transport you from point A to point B that's far away), and does it well.
2. The user interface does not change (exits on the right, service plazas on the left).
3. Clarity (big, easily visible signs) is better than cleverness (surprise! the lane you're on is now an exit lane. congrats.)
4. When the road has nothing surprising to say, say nothing. (You don't get random updates about "this exit is coming in 5 miles ... four miles ... three miles ... two point five miles ...)

Driving up here using the directions that we got from the Googles was a pleasure, because it was just a question of finding the correct exit number, and taking said exit. There were big shiny service plazas at every major county crossing. We were able to stick to the highway for the entire journey, and only had to get onto the side roads for fractions of a mile. The speed limits were not only fair, but the signs on the road specifically said that if you were going to be going exactly the speed limit, to stay on one lane (slower traffic to the right).

Once we found the place (a total breeze, because I had my eyes on the lookout for anything that looked like what the name of the place is), Tony and Juls came down to greet us. [The total trip, from the time we left the door of my house, and headed upstairs to Tony and Juls' place was exactly four hours and three minutes.] I handed over the large branches of curry leaves that I'd brought with me, and we immediately placed them in water. It was almost as if I'd brought in a few dozen roses, because the smell is so lovely that we were all enjoying the aroma as we walked up the stairs.

Yes, it's a walk up. I've decided that the gods have sent me to walk ups repeatedly because of my thunderously slothful ways. It's OK, because it means that I at least get a little tiny bit of exercise in my lazy lifestyle. We got to the top floor, where Tony and Juls live. They have a beautiful view of the lake behind their balcony. The shimmering water is nice and calming even at night, when the sun isn't smiling on it.

Let it be said now that I haven't been in such a clean place in years. There are hospitals who could stand to learn a few things from Juls. T & J are the tenants of two cats. I have yet to find cat hairs anywhere. Tony has his bike in the house. I have yet to find a spot of dirt from the bike anywhere on the carpet or otherwise. Tony loves to cook, but the counters are spotless, without the tell-tale signs of many spills and messes made over the days. There are three computers in the house, but not a speck of dust rests on the vents in the back. There's a beautiful oriental privacy screen, with an elaborate honeycomb pattern on it. Again, not a spot of dust anywhere. I hope they don't hate me tomorrow when I cook up a storm, and the kitchen looks a little ... lived in.

I got a call from M today, and it totally made me smile. Even though she's back home in New York, she said that she misses me and Steve, and wishes she could be here with us having fun again. Ah well. I guess we all have to work at some point, eh?

Anyhow, we got into T & J's place, and were relaxing, when I realised that we'd left the fried food in the car! I had made a vat of popcorn, and (as usual) some bajji for us to eat on the way up. Because we'd both had dinner already (and because the trip was so short) neither Steve nor I really felt the need to munch too much on the way up. I asked Steve to dash back to the car, and snag the goods. He obliged, and came back with the snackies in hand. Out came the cookie sheet to reheat the bajji. I explained how I prefer to use rice flour to gram flour (besan) when making bajji. I'm sure they were paying attention, but were more interested in crunching down on the crispy little circles of fried joy. We sat up chatting about this and that and the other thing until about 2:00, when we all decided to bed down. I figured I'd give you all an update before doing so myself.

Be well!

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