To commemorate the joint birthdays of Vin and Carl, the gang hied off to Enchanted Kingdom, a place far far far away from my usual haunts (you have to understand that I'm the Jack Hawksmoor of the group - like the character from The Authority, I'm built for the city). We divided our numbers into two vehicles - The Oldies (Carl, Marco, Jason, Nikki and myself) and the Young 'Uns (Andrew, Ralph, El, Camy and Vin who still thinks he's in his tweens) - then went forth like the cast of Berks, southbound to Laguna.
Knowing myself well, I was apprehensive at what, to me, would be a 16-hour drive. But a pit stop for a smoke and food kept me alive and sane. I did not throttle anyone unfortunate enough to be trapped in the vehicle with me.
Against my will, I had a great time. Yes, we had to strap Marco against his will to sample the various rides, and the young love team of Camy and El shared vertiginous moments, and only half of us dared the Space Shuttle (cowards! cowards!) - but the lack of world-class waiting lines and the overall cool afternoon combined for a pleasant experience. As the self-designated camera guy, I bemoaned my lack of an SLR camera, but managed to get a few passable shots.
At Anchors Aweigh, a ship that swings to a frazzling high point before slamming down in pendulum arc, we screamed like silly girls: the creators of Angel Ace and Baylans left with a finer appreciation of the mechanics of flight (from the perspective of a discombobulated digestive tract). The achieved height was nothing compared to our previous rides in the US parks, but it was good enough to make the grimace the expression of the day.
Wetness became a way of life after we navigated the Jungle Log Jam. We tried to spread out the weight among the logs (a number of us, myself included, are quite healthy) but ended up drenched anyway. The distressing thing was that screaming kept our mouths open, and the cycled water found purchase in some of our throats (so it sounded like Aiiiiieeegurgle!).
We dried off on the swing ride (a family-level ride that didn't do much for my die-hard thrill seeker of a wife), then split up. Those with balls (or honorary balls, as in Nikki's case) took to the sky again at the Space Shuttle, looping and twisting forward and backward. As usual, it made me think of sex: would you agree to a dramatic change in your personal reality such that every sexual encounter you have has the duration and intensity of a roller coaster ride, each and every time?).
That night, back in the city, we had dinner at a Korean resto and were joined by Dino over the remnants of bulgogi before we got a room at a hotel to wind down the exhausting day. Since it was next door to our condo, I retrieved my new laptop (told you I'd give in), hooked up my digicam and, with a trash bin standing in for a tripod, commenced an impromptu photo session in the studio/bathroom.
All in, a great day spent with great friends doing unusual things. Nikki and I called it a night at around 3AM, with the party went on for those that remained - over MTV, Jaegermeister and cigarettes.
Happy Birthday again to Carl and Vin!