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Dear & I filled with Fear & Panic – Hitching A Ride Back from Kennedy Space Center to International Drive, Orlando – Florida USA

Filed Under (Florida, Merritt Island, Orlando, Travelling, USA) by Janet on 12-02-2009

Oh Dear Oh Dear!! I didn’t realise that the time now is 5.50pm looking at the below screen!! Oh Dear we’re supposed to meet our Gray Line Tour Bus at the outside Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Carpark at 5.30pm!!

Exiting Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Oops!! Oops!! I hope the Bus Driver will wait for Dear & I since we’d been waiting this morning for at least 20 mins to more than half an hour for our other Tour mates while coming to the Kennedy Space Center from Orlando, & at the Us Astronaut Hall of Fame here in Merritt Island, Florida!

Just then, Dear starts walking out of the Space Shop & so now we’re both walking really quickly out of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex :

Exiting Kennedy Space Center Visitor ComplexExiting Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

And it’s about 2 mins past 5.50pm when Dear & I arrive at the huge Carpark waiting area outside Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex – but hahah as our worst fears confirm, our Gray Line  Tour Bus is nowhere to be seen at all!!

Dear at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Carpark

But I never panic for a while as I believe our Bus has not arrived……….as I ask around some Tourists sitting by the side of the Carpark if they’ve seen any huge Buses before Dear & I came out – & an elderly couple tells us “No”, so Dear & I stand around continuing to wait…………….

However it starts to feel a little funny as it’s 6pm now yet our Gray Line Bus is nowhere near us…………so I ask another young man sitting by the Carpark with his Mom & he tells me that he’s seen the huge Busses just leaving mere seconds before Dear & I stepped into the Carpark!!

Haha!! Haha!! That’s IT!!! Oh SHARKS!! Oh SKARKS!! We must have missed our BUS for sure!! Oh Dear!! Oh Dear!!

Immediately I bring out my following Gray Line Sightseeing Orlando Tours Information Guide looking for the Gray Line Tour contact number to call for assistance :

Gray Line Sightseeing Orlando Tours Information

I instantly ring up the Gray Line Guest Services Hotline & question the white American lady operator about our Tour Bus, & I’m told that it’s already gone from Kennedy Space Center!! And she also tells me that the Bus which has just left us was the last Bus coming & going back to Orlando!!! Haha!! Hahah what a JOKE!!! I almost wana cry!!!

Gray Line Sightseeing Orlando Tours Information

Cos you see, I know very very well & most certain that that’s no other way Dear & I can get back to our Hotel in Orlando!!

OOPS!! Did I just mention Orlando!?!? YES!! Sure I did!! But this land where we’re standing on right now is Merritt Island, which is some 45mins drive from Orlando as Dear, who’s standing beside me, reminds me!!!

Oh Dear Oh Dear!! And we know that taking a Taxi back to Orlando from here will be too costly!! Oops!! What should we do!?!??!?!

Just as Dear & I are slowly filled with fear & panic, I see a Kennedy Space Center Black worker halting his Buggy nearby & looking at us helplessly, & I ask him if he knows of any public transportation like Buses going to Orlando from here!!

Hahah of course I’m just asking for the SKY cos I knew very well that there’s no such thing as public transportation Buses around here – moreover it’s past 6pm now!! And true enough, he tells me so too!!

Without hesitation, I start asking our surrounding strangers - visitors of the Kennedy Space Center who’re exiting the Center now & walking to their cars in the Carpark………..

I stop & ask a White Family man who’s just leaving the Space Center with his wife, 2 kids & elderly Mom & Dad – if they’re going towards International Drive in Orlando, & whether they could give Dear & I a ride back there as we’ve just missed our Tour Bus………..

And YES they’re indeed going that way………but he can’t take us with them cos his Car’s already packed with his whole family…………

At the same time I actually see his elderly Mom looking pretty concerned for Dear & I as his son rejects us……….

But he’s a really nice chap & pretty concerned for Dear & I as he tells me (just like the earlier KSC Black worker) – that we can always approach & count on the very good kennedy Space Center employees to help us find transportation etc…………

Just then, I see a mini Tour Bus stopping by to pick up Tourists from Kennedy Space Center, & I quickly ask the Bus operator if she could send us back to International Drive, Orlando. She then makes a phone call back to her Tour office & later tells me that it’ll cost us US$38 each!! which I almost agree to it!!

But then she can only send us to Orlando International Airport after sending the other Tourists to Palm Beach first – after which Dear & I still have to find our own way back to International Drive from Orlando International Airport!!!

No way are we doing that cos it’ll cost us a bomb & worst of all, takes up too much travelling time altogether!!

Haha all these while Dear’s actually pretty panicky & kinda becoming “listless” as he’s already too worried & too tired to think, especially since he’s just had his 4 full tiring days of SolidWorks World 2009 Conference!!

Nevertheless, guess I’ve a much stronger will & never-say-die-yet attitude in mind as I never give up & approach yet a group of young men (whom I believe are European Tourists) – for help to give Dear & I a ride back to International Drive, Orlando…………

But, other than one dude who’s really nice & friendly & says “Sorry“ to me for not being able to take us, the rest just tell me “NO!! No!! There’re already too many of us!!” as they kinda brush me off & walk past me towards their car………

And for once I take for granted that Dear & I are in Orlando without realising that Kennedy Space Center actually lies in-between Palm Beach & Orlando, & that it’s actually 45 mins drive from Orlando!! Besides, not all visitors from the Space Center might be going to Orlando at all!! 

But so lucky that all the people I ask to take a ride with, all happen to be going our same way to International Drive, Orlando - just that they can’t take us as their cars’ already full & loaded etc………

Just then, Dear walks towards me telling me that he’s actually just been approached by a private Taxi driver who’s charging us the rate of US$100 to send us back to International Drive, Orlando – hahah a hundred bucks!!!

That would have been our MOST expensive Taxi ride in our whole entire lifes!!

NO WAY are we going to spend that kind of money as we’d already paid a huge sum of way over 300 bucks for our Kennedy Space Center Tour plus transportation coming here from, & back to, Orlando!!

Just as the mini Tour Bus operator presses me if we wana take her transportation to Orlando International Airport as they’ve to leave here soon, I begin to approach another family of 3 - telling myself in my heart that this shall be my last try & that I must make it right by asking a much smaller family cos then they’ll have space for me & Dear in their car!!!

Never losing hope, I tell myself that this’s got to be a success cos this family’s about one of the last few in the pool of Visitors leaving Kennedy Space Center – & if this fails OH Dear!! there’s nobody else we can approach!!

And I believe God is keeping watch over Dear & I constantly & blessing us……….

Cos when I approach the White family & ask the Man if they’re going to International Drive in Orlando, & whether Dear & I can ride with them as we’ve just missd our Tour Bus……..cos we don wana spend another bomb on a Taxi or another Tour Bus as we’ve already spent lots on our Tour & transportation coming here to kennedy Space Center………..

To which he tells me straight away very nicely “YES!! We’re going that way but let me ask my wife first…….” & so he asks his wife who looks kinda little stern to me & asks me “Yes, it’s on our way – so what do you want!?!”

Heheh I immediately follow “Oh, can you please help us by giving us a ride there? Just Me & my hubby – can we like hitch a ride with you guys please?! Oh don worry…….we’re good people………We’re from Singapore!!” as I begin assuring her……….

And she answers “Just you & your hubby??! Two?!? Okie!!

YES!! YES!! Thank GOD!! Thank GOD!! as Dear & I tell her & her hubby “Thank you so much Thank you so much we really appreciate your help so much!!!” as we walk towards their Car with them & their son…………

The couple’s really nice as they soon start clearing away all their stuffs at the back seats for Dear & I & we’re told to sit behind at the passenger seats in the Car, with their Son sitting right behind his Mom-driver……….guess it must be due to security reasons huh that we’re made not to sit directly behind the driver………..

Anyway, just as they’re putting their stuffs away in their Car boot which is already very loaded with their travelling bags & stuffs, the hubby-dad starts telling Dear & I that he’s never been to Singapore, but that he’s been to Asia Japan before, & stayed there for a few years cos he was from the US Navy, as he tilts his Cap which he’s wearing to show us his Navy logo…………

Very soon, we’re all seated inside the Car & leaving Kennedy Space Center to go back to Orlando -

And as the beautiful Sun sets before our eyes as we journey on out of Merritt Island………..Dear & I could hear our inner selves thanking God that everything’s alright now……….& that we’re saved & on our way back to Orlando as we keep telling each other how very lucky & so very fortunate we are to have met these good Americans…………

Riding in the Car, we soon introduce ourselves & start chatting with one another…………..

The Son is 9 years old & his name is Hunter who tells me that his parents & he live in South Carolina……..

And I was sharing with him about Dear’s Birthday at Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom where he got his free Admission Pass, & Hunter in-return tells me that his Birthday’s also coming soon at next Friday!!

Mom’s name is Amy & she turns out to be a real friendly nice woman cos a short distance away from Kennedy Space Center, she starts commenting to her hubby that they should have brought our Bags to put in the back Car boot so that Dear & I can have more space at the back seats where we’re sitting…………

Then Mom-driver gets a little lost in the highway from Kennedy Space Center & has to make a U-turn back towards Orlando, & she even apologises & tells Dear & Me “I’m sorry about the long way out & U-turn as I’m not very sure about my way & my Car’s GPS is broken down”………

How nice of her to even think of apologising to us when in actual fact she’s no obligations whatsever towards us cos Dear & I are afterall taking a free ride in her Car!! Haha Americans are really such wonderful sweet people!!!

Anyway, Dad’s name is Steve & he keeps chatting with Dear & I - entertaining both of us giving us a great sense of warmth, & making us feel none like strangers in their Car!!

Steve asks us about Singapore & we start telling him about our beautiful Garden City……….

And Steve asks what we like about America as we begin to tell him about the many beautiful places we’d been – & Me sharing with him about my first Trip to America with my parents to attend my Sister’s graduation convocation in Houston, Texas etc…………

Steve also asks what we think of the American people & whether we find them very rude as he’s heard many people commenting so – which I tell him “No, I think Americans are great!! Really very nice helpful people just like the way you guys help us so much today!!!!”

I also tell him how lucky I am to have met many nice friendly Americans these past few days touring Orlando alone without Dear……….

Steve later asks about Dear’s SolidWorks World 2009 Conference & Dear & he chat a while about it………

Then Steve tells us that now many people in the United States are jobless & that his wife & he are very fortunate that they’ve still got their jobs, & that they can still afford to take holidays…………

Amy then tells us that she heard SeaWorld Orlando is really very good & recommends that we visit it, which I tell her that we most probably can’t as we’ve already got plans for others……….

As for them, they’ll be visiting Walt Disney World Epcot & Hollywood Studios which I tell them about the MUST-watch Epcot’s Fantasmic! which is a Firworks, Laser & Water Show that’ll be on tomorrow night – only on every Friday!!

We soon chat about Kennedy Space Center with Amy telling us that Steve & Hunter love the Shuttle Launch Experience Attraction & that it was really very good!!! Too bad Dear & I miss it as I inform her :( ((

So very lucky for Dear & I to have met Steve, Amy & Hunter who are right now going to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, & so passing by International Drive – They ask whereabout in International Drive that Dear & I are staying so that they can send us all the way back there…………

They insist on sending us back to where we’re staying for the night, or whereabout we wana go, though I tell them that they can drop us off at any location in International Drive (as it’s a long stretch) that’s most convenient for them to later go off to Walt Disney World Resort………

Haha they make me wana cry cos I’m so very touched by their very sincere thoughtfullness as Dear & I keep thanking them & telling them how grateful we are & how much we appreciate their help while riding back to Orlando………….

Back at International Drive in Orlando

Past an hour later close to 7.30pm, Dear & I are back at International Drive – just off Amy’s Car here after biding them goodbye & thanking all of them………..& I snap a pic of their Car as Amy drives off above.

Haha Dear & I have such a wonderful great time at Kennedy Space Center today roaming around & exploring, & learning the many educational aspects about Space & its history, as well as understanding the Future Space associated with Mankind, & gotten so many great Space Souvenirs too adding to my World Souvenirs Collection………

But best of all things that happen today, Dear & I are so very blessed to have met such great wonderful good Samaritans such as Amy, Steve & Hunter who’ve been such great wonderful American hosts to us!!

And what an experience Dear & I have tonight as we’ve never done anything like hitching a ride with strangers in a so faraway strange foreign land…………

Oh actually now that I recall, Dear & I almost gotten into a stranger car too once many years ago while vacationing in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -

We were out shopping & having Dinner cum Supper in Swensen’s at this Shopping Mall till very late one night way past 11pm, & we’d no idea how to get back to our Hotel cos we saw no sights of Taxi & we’d no idea how to call to book for one!!

Then, a young Malaysian Chinese girl who happened to be near us approached us & offered to help us – saying that she was waiting for her boyfriend to pick her up & she could ask him to give us a lift back to our Hotel!!

She was really very sincere & helpful & so Dear & I couldn’t reject her as she called her boyfriend on the phone to tell him so………..

And so Dear & I waited with her for her boyfriend to come but he never appeared for quite a long time cos she said that he was caught in a heavy traffic jam……….

Then Dear & I were wondering if it’s all safe for us to go with her & her boyfriend in their Car………..cos then was the period when there were many news reports about tourists being kidnapped in cars in foreign lands etc etc………

Then suddenly Dear & I saw a few Taxis coming our way & so we decided to reject her offer of the free ride – thanked her, then got ourselves into a Taxi back to our Hotel…………..

And sometimes afterwards, Dear & I would still think & ponder about whether we’d actually be sent to our Hotel in KL safely that night, or whether we’d end up somewhere far worst off that none could imagine………..

Well, guess we’ll never know our answers………but rather that we pray that we’re always blessed with good people & non-evil stuffs especially when we’re travelling all alone far away from our families & home…………

Just like the way it all happened & turned out so well for Dear & I………..

Though innitially filled with fear & panic, we managed to meet our angels hitching a ride back from Kennedy Space Center to International Drive, Orlando – safely & soundly in good shape & great care - Thanks so much to Amy, Steve & Hunter for extending us such helpful hands when we most needed them so much…………

Thank you & May God bless you all Amy, Steve & Hunter & keep you all healthy, happy & blissful together forever…………..& hereby, I’d like to wish HUNTER a very happy fun-filled Birthday in advance!!

Now, I hope you like my short Travelling Slideshow with its attached music :

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