We're starting to get the hang of this American malarky now - dare I say we are quite enjoying ourselves despite our reason for being here.
Niamh has now had two proton therapy sessions and both have gone without a hitch. 2 down only 33 to go. She's dealing with it all really well, missing her friends and family but luckily there's enough to distract her here to take her mind off things if she ever wants to. Our lovely apartment is only 2 minutes from the pool here at Thornton Park so we've been doing a bit of physio and swimming in there. Conor has purchased a "super soaker" despite being told he was only allowed a small water pistol. He seems to take great delight in spraying me at any given opportunity. Even though he knows that I do not like getting my hair wet (generally what happens then is that I start to drip red from my hair dye into the water - not a good look when you're trying to look good round the pool)
Speaking of hair, Niamh's has started to grow back - it's a bit like a fuzzy peach at the moment but it's there and it's more than what Paul has so "Hi Five Niamh", her eyebrows now look way better than my bushy apparitions and her eyelashes are now almost back to normal. It's all looking good.
This weekend was a lot less busy than last weekends Orlando visit. We went half an hour down the road to St Augustine, which claims to be the oldest city in America. Founded in 1565 by a Spanish explorer it has a colourful, rich and interesting history which includes playing a pivotal role in the civil rights movement era in 1963-1964 in which Dr Martin Luther King Jr spent a lot of time there.
We went to Ripley's Believe It Or Not, which was fun and gross at the same time. Niamh coped really well with all the stairs in the place (she didn't fancy the poky lift and quite frankly, neither did I) She grabbed her crutches as soon as the attendant mentioned "small lift". Ah well, it was all good exercise for her. We saw all manner of strange exhibits from the worlds tallest man to a man with crocodile teeth to a dog with human dentures. All totally bizarre but fun - Conor was fascinated by it all and led the way holding his map and guidebook.
Paul then attempted to eat the biggest pizza I've ever seen - the pizza won!
We also took a tour round St Augustine via the trolley tours. Basically a bus that looks like a train. We travelled around this old fashioned American picture postcard town taking it all in, beautiful quaint Spanish colonial buildings and shops accompanied by a knowledgeable guide/driver. We found out all kinds of interesting snippets of info including the fact that Ray Charles attended the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind which is located there. The lazy side of me could've sat on that tour all day if only I wasn't on the end of the row with half my face, one arm and one leg in the sun.....again not a good look. Poor Niamh fell asleep due to a combination of the exertion of those stairs (3 floors) and the heat. The heat is relentless out here!
We liked it so much that we came back today - this time to visit the St Augustine Alligator Farm which again, we enjoyed. They are the only place in the world where you can view all 23 species of crocodile in one place. And some of them are huge. We watched an alligator feeding display (see the video below which features "Handsome" the massive alligator getting his lunch rat au vin - minus the vin) with a fabulously informative commentary about these beasts and the zoos mission and conservation plan. We also fed some crocs, walked through a rookery (against my better judgement), viewed various exotic birds (inc toucans and macaws - much to our delight), komodo dragons, pythons, turtles, pygmy marmosets and lemurs. They even had albino alligators - unusual looking to say the least. Despite initial reservations from me and Niamh, I have to say a good time was had by all.
And so we move into week 3.............I wonder what it'll bring. I will, as ever, keep you posted.
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Til next time - take care