Friday, August 27, 2004

Rumble in the Jungle

We're back home in the East Village Jungle, the newest village in Celebration. Actually, it's my sarcastic way to refer to my triplex yard, which hasn't been mowed since August 5th (for perspective, Charley occurred on August 13th, and it's now the 27th). You can see photos of this lovely new area, which is sure to become a tourist attraction, by clicking here.

But still, it's great to be home, even though I had to hack my way through the yard with a machete to get there. It annoys me because I like to park in my driveway rather than on the street in front of my house, but that involves trekking through the soggy, mosquito-infested grass (I have stepping stones, but as you will see if you click through to the photos, the greenery has pretty much taken them over).

Oh well, I need to remind myself that I am pompous and self-centered and that I should think of the people who have it worse, like the 80 households in Kissimmee who do not have their power back on yet. I really do feel very sorry for them, as they've been without electricity for two weeks now. In the Florida summer, that has to be miserable. The news just reported that many are going to have severe mold problems because once carpeting gets wet, it becomes a breeding ground for mold if it is not thoroughly dried out. Drying involves fans, and of course fans require power.

As we were flying in tonight, it was weird to see all the bright blue tarps festooning the roofs in little neighborhood clusters. Last week, we arrived in town very late, but this time we arrived while it was still daylight, so we could see a lot of roof damage from 417. Besides the tarped roofs, there were many Florida rooms that appeared to have been crushed by some giant, unseen fist that descended out of the sky. I hope that the tarps and makeshift repairs will keep the water out until the roofs can be replaced. My husband and I lost our home in a flood several years back, so I know just how damaging it can be. It's hard to believe, but it can be just as destructive as a fire.

We were amazed at the progress in the airport repairs, since it's only been a week since our last jaunt through Orlando International. It's still a wreck, but you can see that they are working hard and fast. We noticed some progress on the ceiling and some of the seats restored to one of the boarding areas in the A Terminal.

When we arrived in Celebration, things were starting to look a lot more normal, with the exception of the rigging around many of the trees. The little tree in front of our house has been put up again, and this time it's banded into the ground. Hopefully it will survive; it's looking a little peaked, but then again, it's never really been all that healthy or robust. I like it because I think of it as the "regulation Celebration tree." If you look at any triplex of the same style as ours, there is a tree planted in front of it in exactly the same position.

Since we had gotten home early for once, we headed over to Boma, the buffet restaurant at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, for dinner. Since I knew we should be touching down around dinner time, I had been planning to call for a priority seating. But my husband convinced me that if I did that, I would curse us and our flight would be delayed. I held off on calling until we had touched down in Orlando, and I dialed 1-407-WDW-DINE (one of my favorite phone numbers) as we were taxi-ing to the gate. Thankfully, we were still able to get in.

Normally, when we got to the Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner, we eat at Jiko, an absolutely wonderful restaurant. It is quite upscale and features cuisine with an African fare (for example, last week I dined on beef rolls with banana sauce and maize tamales, topped off with a mission fig torte for dessert topped with delicious sour yogurt ice cream (I am being 100 percent sincere when I say "delicious," as the ice cream tastes much better than its name would imply).

But not long ago, my husband read an article in Disney Magazine featuring various buffet restaurants at the Disney World resort. He was drooling by the time he had finished perusing the description of Boma, so we decided that we would try something new.

Boma was as good as the article claimed, although the food might be a bit exotic for some tastes. I was in love with the salads, which featured things like sliced watermelon rind in ginger and a curried potato salad, as well as a fruit salad straight from Heaven and cold corn seasoned heavily with cilantro. That is where I concentrated my culinary focus, although I did try some seafood soup and a few of the starches (they were good, but not things I could readily identify). My husband is more of a Renaissance Man, so he tried a little bit of everything.

Even though our stomaches were near bursting, we had to try the desserts too. My award for Most Delectible is a split between the banana budding and the coconut "cake," both enhanced with a generous drizzling of vanilla sauce.

I ordered iced tea to drink, while my husband went for two ends of the spectrum, with a presspot of Kenya coffee and a glass of Gameskeepers Reserve wine (his favorite at Jiko). Interestingly enough, he said that he will stick to the coffee next time because wine doesn't enhance the varied flavors of a buffet meal in the same way that it does a single entree. My husband, the wine connoisseur! Hard to believe he never would have dreamed of using wine to enhance a meal just two or three short years ago. I think that our frequent cruise ship jaunts have turned him into a lush. You can read the trip reports for some of our 38 Disney cruises by clicking here for my Disney Cruise Line blog, or visit my website at

At any rate, our meal was an excellent experience. I typically hate buffets because I have seen too many gross goings-on at various restaurants, like a kid licking several desserts and then placing each one back, to be taken by some unsuspecting soul. But I will make an exception if the food is very good (Chef Mickey's is one buffet I never turn down), and I have placed Boma into that category.

The rain was threatening, so we didn't walk out on the savannah to see the animals after dinner. Animal spotting is one thing I always enjoy doing after a good meal at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Oh well, I don't have to worry. It's bedtime as I write this, but I'll just try to get up at sunset tomorrow morning, and perhaps I'll be able to spot some exotic critters in my own private "savannah" on my overgrown lawn.

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