There is nothing like travel to broaden the mind. After an excruciating trip which entailed going through immigration once, 3 security checks involving removing all fluids from hand luggage and putting computers and tablets in trays, and, depending on the country, removing shoes, although I never left the airport environment the whole time, after opting out of having a full body scan in those vertical MRI like machines ( no longterm safety data on those machines, I’m not just being ornery, they used to xray feet to do shoe fittings, until radiation risks became known) leading to a friendly full body pat- down, truly expertly performed by a taciturn Floridian, who talked me through the procedure every step of the way. Well trained. Although sentences like “ma’am I will now pat down your buttocks..” Made me, an eternal teenager at heart I guess, want to giggle ( or maybe I was just tired. After checking in my luggage twice and filling in all my information using a friendly machine, thinking this will speed up the process, only to find myself at the back of a queue of about 200 people clutching a computer print-out, certifying my fingerprints have been taken and bearing a black and white image of a startled me after 12 hours of plane travel. Using the machine only to then have to hand in the paper to a border guard after queing, and wondering,to myself, why the machines are there, if I still need to talk to a person…I finally arrived in sunny Florida ( well it was dark, but the air was balmy). Another 30 mins queuing at avis and another 30 minutes and a phone call to my bank at 4 am european time in order to figure out how to get money from suntrust ( us atms dont recognise european cards which have more security features than their us counterparts ( said my bank lady! Don’t shoot the messenger) I managed to get money from an atm for the tolls I’d need to pay according to the nice young man at Avis – there were none en route to my hotel…) another 40 minutes to get me a new gps because the first one i got didnt work, i was on my way. 15 hours door to door and i am here! Voila! I thought my troubles are over till I tried to get breafast – coffee ( what size madam?) – soy milk, no problem, caesar salad ( my body tells me its 3 pm) and salad dressing. Me ” can i get olive oil and vinegar?”, the nice lady in the cafe ” italian dressing?”, me “no just olive oil and vinegar, thanks”, the nice lady ” ok, italian then?”, me “no, can I just get olive oil … Never mind – italian is fine..”. The dressing contains olive oil and vinegar and sugar and soybean oil. Fittingly to eat my salad i am sitting under a coupola, next to a fountain ( plastic rocks..) in a food court that is an imitation of an Italian Square ( cotto fiorentino tiles) if an Italian square were airconditioned.. I have tried to find a botanical garden or a park, the concierge redirected me to a) a real park 1 hour drive away b) swim with dolphins, all food included, theme park with some walks c) gator land – real live gator wrestling (…….) – quote it’s loads of fun ( I smiled very nicely) d) action park with ropes and other fun things … I found an orchid garden and asked about that – its 40 minutes away – she said apologetically, round here it’ s all entertainment, if you want nature you’ ll need to drive at least an hour…….when asked about shopping, back on terra firma, she brightened visibly. So hiho hiho it’s off to shop I go ( cannot face gator wrestling).