Sorry for the delay in posting. We’ve been having a tremendous discussion about inspiration over on my writer’s blog and I’ve been somewhat distracted.

For this post, I’m bringing you back across the pond and to Florida.  I love Florida! The sun, the surf, the birds.  Have been there many times over the years and have always enjoyed making new discoveries. This trip was no different. We spent a week in Orlando (hadn’t been there in a number of years) and then went on to enjoy 3 days on Fort Meyers Beach. I’ll take you there in the next post. But for now … we’ll focus on Orlando and the highs and lows of our visit.

The lows? The weather was one. Located in Central Florida, Orlando is about 3 hours north of Fort Meyers Beach. So the weather there can be considerably cooler than you’ll encounter in South Florida. And we happened to visit in January, during a cooler and wetter-than-normal week. So as much as it was nice to be away from the cold and snow of Manitoba, the Orlando weather didn’t do it for me.

The other low? The sharks! No, these ones weren’t in the water. They can be found circling unsuspecting visitors at the timeshare property where we were staying.

We loved the Wyndham Cypress Palms. It’s a fantastic resort. But it’s part of the Wyndham Vacation Resorts family of properties. We were there on a “free” certificate we received when buying into the Wyndham Grand Desert in Las Vegas in December, 2009.

The Cypress Palms is newly reburbished. Our king suite was gorgeous, with granite countertops, a jacuzzi tub, screened-in lanai overlooking the man-made lake, and a convenient location in Kissimmee on Highway 192. We had plenty of space and were thrilled to be spending a week there for the price of an expensive dinner.

We were invited to a 45-minute “member services update” by the Wyndham people. I didn’t see any harm in that as I admitted to not fully understanding the timeshare program in which I was an “owner.” Nearly 4 hours later, we were walking out of there having doubled our investment in the program and now owning a share of the Wyndham Cypress Palms.

Why did I do it despite the warning from dear husband, Reg? Because I fell prey to the sharks posing as “member services reps” and believed they were making recommendations based on what was described as “my best interest.” I had been had. Fortunately Visa’s assistance helped me get out of that deal. Contract cancelled. I should get myself a t-shirt saying  “Shark attack survivor.”

Why am I telling you this? To protect you from scammers. Don’t be trusting like me. Keep your guard up. Trust your intuition. If your spidy senses are tingling, they might be trying to tell you something. Walk away before your regret is as big as your bank account is small.

Marketplace had a super show on CBC last night showing just how easily the average Canadian is taken advantage of by the super scam-man. They usually have a friendly face and disposition. They ALWAYS have an offer which is “good for today only” and try to cause you to act before you’ve thoroughly thought things through. These are warning signals that are trying to save you from the aggravation I went through. Don’t ignore them!

Using the Toastmasters sandwich method of evaluations, I’ll close with a positive. I do enjoy Orlando. There are many worldclass attractions to experience, it’s not too difficult to navigate the highways (even for a small-town gal like me) and for the most part, the weather is palatable.

beautiful white heron at Gatorland

We really enjoyed a visit to Medieval Times (jousting, lords and ladies all while you enjoy a knightly feast) and Gatorland (lots of alligators and birds in a pleasing, fairly natural environment.)

A recommended property to stay at is the Peabody Orlando. They have sweet, happy ducks. No sharks.