Up early this morning to meet colleagues out the front of the Hilton Orlando for a day trip out to the Florida Institute of Technology. My colleague had rented the most massive Mercedes-Benz I have ever seen – a GLK 350 for the trip since there were five of us travelling. We went to the Peabody and picked up the rest of the group and set off on the 90 or so minute trip to Melbourne (Florida that is).
We arrived at FIT and met with a few of the academics for lunch. The way that the American colleges feed their student population is pretty interesting. Communal cafeterias with an amazing array of basic foods all for a flat entry fee. We were there to meet with an astronaut named Winston Scott – who until recently held the record for the number of extravehicular activities (ie out in the spacesuit outside the shuttle). He flew on Endeavour and Columbia and regaled us with his experience in space over lunch.
After lunch we toured the Botanical Gardens on campus and then heard a talk on mosquito control which was really interesting. This was followed up by a practical visit out the everglades where we rode on an airboat and checked out the alligators and burmese pythons. I have to say that was the highlight of the day.
We headed back to Orlando in the beast of a Mercedes and I got dropped at the hotel and grabbed some food from the Marketplace and just chilled out for the rest of the evening. Another good night of sleep I hope.