Sunshine in Florida

It was December 2008. Lehman’s Brothers had shut, the markets had turned upside down, and I had just graduated with my Masters degree. And I needed a vacation.

A few friends from school decided to go on a week long trip to the sunshine state of Florida. When we landed there, I was reminded of the Bangalore weather; it was sunny, yet pleasant. NY, on the other hand, was freezing.

Our first stop was Weston, Florida, a posh neighbourhood with million dollar mansions overlooking a golf course and a lake.

view from the villa

The next day we drove to Tampa. The drive was fabulous with lush grasslands (Everglades) on either side and a bolt straight road cutting through them. I wish I had good pictures to share from that drive. The grasslands are a sight of beauty.

We spent the whole of the next day at the Busch Gardens Theme Park. The highlight of the day was going on a crazy rollercoaster called the Sheikra. The ride starts like any other roller coaster, but then you are taken vertically up, inch-by-inch, to a height of 200 feet, stopped right at the top and turned looking straight down a 90 foot drop. Before you know it, you are hurtling down at 110 km/h. You experience forces of up to 3.5G on some turns. It finally ends in a flourish with a splash of water. You walk out feeling buzzed. Some experience!! If only I had a Go Pro. 🙂

The scariest part of the rollercoaster was this… (watch the entire sequence here)

ShieKra - from drop to splash sequence

The theme was Africa, so they had some animals too.

Busch Gardens_Bird park - Flamingoes

You can see more pictures from Busch Gardens here. I must warn you, these were early days in my photography obsession.

The next couple of days were spent in Orlando at the Universal Studios, Islands Of Adventure and Seaworld. This trip was the first time I experienced rollercoasters, the real ones, not the Funworld type. By the end of the trip, I was addicted to the adrenalin rush. We ran from ride to ride to cover as many as we could in a day. On all days we were literally the last people to leave the theme park. In fact, on one particular day, we had the security escort us out. 🙂

City of Blinding Lights*226*

Seaworld_*1*

Wild Ride - 2

You can see a few more pictures from these theme parks here – Seaworld, IOA, Universal

Before we flew back to NJ out of Miami, we spent the last day and a half there. The best memory I have of that is sitting on South Beach Miami watchtowers at night and sipping beer.

South Beach Miami               *173*

Miami night

I’ll force you to see a few more pictures before you go. 🙂

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