Understand, when I say that the next impression is "fucking bugs", I mean that in the most clinical and scientific sense. The lovely white wooden bench at the bus stop to Downtown Disney is covered with little black cylindrical bugs, which appear to be copulating from the way they are attached. And from how caught up they are, altogether too stupid to, say, fly away from swatting and stepping. With that many of them around, evolution permits a bit of dumbness in the interest of sex, I guess.
The birds at Bongo's Cuban Restaurant are altogether more scenic. The next table doesn't get bussed for a good 20 minutes, which is plenty of time for the birds that are lurking around the terrace to discover the yummies left there. Sparrows, blackbirds, and one elegant fellow who looks sort of like an elongated sparrow, with long legs and neck -- at one point, six of them are gathered around the lunch plate, competing to stuff the largest ball of rice into their bills.
Bongo's serves a good mojito, but that is just enough to remind me that it is not as good as the *great* ones they had at Castaway Cay. Must figure out the recipe -- it involved Bacardi Limon and a dash of sour, among other things, accentuating the perfect mint/lime balance.
(Another impression from Castaway Cay, forgotten at the time: Dune Wheelchairs. A very clever and sensible idea, but very odd-looking.)
Ducks. Lots and lots and lots of ducks. Animal Kingdom does its best to focus the attention on the various exotic animals they have at the park, but they are wholly outnumbered by the plain old American Mallards that have taken up residence. One habitat is actually intended for some Asian variety of duck, who is sitting over on a log wearing a long-suffering look, glaring at the two dozen Ugly American cousins who have invited themselves over to crash at his place. (But they brought along the kids, and no one is so hard-hearted as to say no to ducklings.)
Jeopardy, on in the background as I write this, has a question whose answer is Talk Like a Pirate Day. Good God, it's reached the mainstream...
Remember the fucking bugs from yesterday? Turns out that we are simply seeing the tip of the iceberg. According to the evening news reports, they are known by the singularly appropriate euphemism of "love bugs", and they are swarming exceptionally right at the moment. The State Police are warning people to be careful on the roads, because they are so thick in places as to obstruct visibility, and people are complaining because their windshields are filling up with smeared bugs. (The report says that car exhaust contains the same chemicals that signal to the bugs that this is a good place to lay eggs. Oops.)
Rock-Paper-Scissors: the game for the entire family. I must admit, over the course of the trip, I've seen a lot of good examples of why not to breed. But once in a while, we've run into walking advertisements for parenthood, and the best was in front of us in the long line for Soarin' the other night. It was a family that blatantly *worked*, and a couple of days of thinking about it shows several reasons why, but the one that most struck me was that the parents not only involved themselves in the kids' horseplay, but actively led it. First the mother spent ten minutes challenging both kids to "Miss Mary Mac"; then Dad got everyone going on rounds of thumb-war (and then assorted physical horseplay); finally, all four of them wound up playing a multiplayer variant of Rock-Paper-Scissors. Very nice people, and perhaps the only family we encountered who were pleasant to hang out with for 45 minutes *as* a family.
Imagination, or the Lack Thereof: walking past Journey Into the Imagination, an old favorite Epcot exhibit, I was sadly struck at how little imagination some of the new installations showed. Innoventions, traditionally the place where Epcot shows off New and Cool Tech (for instance, the first place I ever saw e-ink), was instead entirely dominated by corporate sponsorships of cute but unoriginal games. While The Living Seas had room for improvement, the new revamp totally failed to do so -- instead, it was a classic Disney slow-ride, rehashing Finding Nemo in about 90 seconds. And both The Seas and Soarin' have an almost complete absence of pre-show, those little entertainments that better Disney rides have to keep you going while you're on line for the better part of an hour. Overall, I'm discontent with the current state of Disney imagineering, I'm afraid.
"Look: Drew's getting recognized" -- as msmemory pointed out the JD Drew jersey being worn by one of the passersby, in contrast to the scads of those for Dice-K and company, I suddenly realized how *much* Sox paraphernalia was wandering around the park. So I started counting, and was a bit startled to confirm my original impression. Of all the sports-team-based paraphernalia (hats and jerseys, mainly) wandering around Epcot, about 20% of it is for the Red Sox. And if you limit that to professional (non-college) teams, that goes up to something like 40%. I'm not sure what that indicates, save that Red Sox Nation seems to be a lot more devoted than most of its counterparts elsewhere.
The Boopification of Tink: wandering through Mouse Gear, I note for the umpteenth time the many Tinkerbell t-shirts on offer. This seems to be The Year of Tink, with a remarkable amount of merchandising. But I note an interesting sexual undertone there. Tink has always been cute, but they seem to be turning her into the official sex symbol of Disney -- most of the shirts play her up as sexier than I remember in the past: Betty Boop cheesecake, but prettier.
Running in my best Jack Bauer style, as one animated broomstick after another shoots its jets of water at me. Hole 16 at Fantasia Gardens has motion sensors, and something of a sense of humor, even when you're golfing at almost midnight...