Thursday, January 04, 2007

Welcome to the Joel Pinero era!

Well, not really, but if a guy with a 6+ ERA last year can get a $4 million contract, I think I'm going to sign J. up for that pitching clinic at the weekly baseball clinic he goes to.

Florida trip - Part 2: Christmas Day and Jiko

A. and I got to sleep in on Christmas Day since the kids were staying with their cousins overnight. My brother brought all the kids back to my parent's house later in the day. This gave A. and I time to have breakfast and take a walk before the kids got back and the rain started.

We weren't getting a lot of warm, sunny Florida weather on this trip. The TV showed a band of intense rain, thunderstorms and even tornado warnings making it's way across the peninsula. The kids showed up before the rain got really bad, so we hung out and had lunch while we watched the rain fall outside.

After things slowed down, my brother, niece and nephew headed back home. A. and I had an 8:00 reservation for dinner at Jiko, the African restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. We had eaten there a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it, so we decided to go back for another meal.

The rain had pretty much stopped, so we left around 5:30 and wandered around Downtown Disney for a bit. It was very crowded, as people who had probably been cooped up in their hotel rooms most of the day decided it was time to get out. Still, we looked around and purchased a few things. The one thing we couldn't find was the Hanukkah pin that we have been collecting for the last few years.

The whole pin collecting craze has to be one of the greatest money generating ideas that Disney has concocted in recent years. They started to hype it for the Year 2000 celebration and it took off like gangbusters. Trading between pin collectors is a huge hobby. Disney even has tables set up at the pin kiosks at each park and at Downtown Disney to facilitate trading. The pins sell from around $5 to $10 and up, and probably cost 50 cents or so to make, so Disney is just raking in the cash from this. A. and the kids have been collecting pins for a few years, and I finally gave in this year as I decided to collect pins from my favorite rides in the parks. Call me a sucker, but I have to admit it is kind of fun.

After we finished at Downtown Disney, we headed over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner. Jiko provided us with the best meal we have had in a long time.

That's a picture of where our table was. The service was outstanding and the food was excellent. We started with the artichoke peppadew flatbread, then after a salad I had a chicken dish and A. had a kind of shrimp stew (sort of an African jambalaya). Everything was a very different mixture of textures and spices than what you usually get. One thing Jiko is known for is it's extensive list of African wines, so I very uncharacteristically had a glass of wine. It was really excellent and complimented my dinner nicely.

After our outstanding dinner we headed home to get to bed. We had an early morning the next day at the Animal Kingdom.


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