I’ve been thinking back over the things I’m missing about our Disney trip, and how many of those are a result of the different expectations of being British in Florida – and therefore taking more notice of things that just tend not to happen or at least to be common back home.
The one that springs to mind as I look out over the balcony this evening was the sight of turtles and the sweet smell of the palm trees every day at the resort. We were staying at the Paddock in Saratoga Springs, and so every morning the most direct route to get breakfast was across a long wooden bridge. This crossed one of the many lakes that dot the resort’s grounds. The plain boards and simple painted rails added a reassuring solidity to our passage across the lake, and we often stopped halfway across to watch the wildlife.
We were expecting to maybe see just the usual ducks that would normally grace the average British lake, but instead we were treated to herons stalking the reeds, otters dipping lazily into and out of view and every now and then, turtles swimming through and around the duckweed.
I’ve got a friend in New York State who loves turtles, and on many occasions she’s shared stories of how her pets hide and amuse her family, so seeing turtles in the wild in the lake most mornings, as well as occasionally by the side of smaller roads near the wetlands, always put a smile on my face and recall those tales, even while appreciating their beauty.
My daughter observed in a quiet moment that for her, the sight of palm trees has always been a marker of somewhere exotic and far-away. The realisation that the palms all around us were just the local vegetation was just mind-blowing for her. In theory I know that if positions were reversed that many Floridians would find the local West London/Surrey flora and fauna just as odd, but I can’t really quite bring myself to think that there’s the same sense of wonder and joy.