Tampa, Florida


Sorry I went on an unannounced hiatus- it was just that I had to adjust back into med school and get through all the material I had missed as well as give an exam on everything! So I had to refocus my priorities a little and cut blogging down for the moment. But I’m back and that’s what counts!

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Friday, 14 August (Independence Day for Pakistan!!) started out with going for the Jummah prayer in the masjid. Tampa has a really big Muslim community and there are quite a few masjids there. It was really nice going especially because there is always a specific place for women to pray (which is lacking in most masjids in Pakistan). So we attended the khutbah (sermon) and prayed before heading out to Busch Gardens!

Busch Gardens is basically a combination of theme park and zoo. Or maybe you could say it’s a zoo themed park. You have lots of animal and conservation projects and funds going on where visitors can look at animals, watch the trainers interact and maybe get personal with some of the cute creatures too! Apart from that though, there are lots of rides like roller coasters, restaurants and shops too!

The first day was spent mostly roaming around to look at the larger animals like gorillas and elephants. When we went to Myombe Reserve (the section for the gorillas) guess what we saw? Babies!! They were the smallest cutest things, playing in the grass next to their mothers and then the mother picking them up. We also got to see the trainers feed them- by throwing broccoli from above. They didn’t seem very interested in eating their veggies though..

When elephants are fed, they get apples and corn! To make things interesting for the audience, the trainers even showed a few tricks that the elephants could do- she would blow her whistle and raise her hands to make a specific gesture and the two elephants would do exactly what she meant at the same time! This picture shows the elephants raising their trunks- apart from that they would raise one foot in the air and swing their trunks.
Sunday, the 17th of August was also spent at Busch Gardens but this time, we went at night to watch the Kinetix: Summer Nights show! It was the last night for the show and I really wanted to watch it so I convinced my parents to head out. We got there late in the evening and my younger siblings went on some Sesame Stret themed rides before it started to rain!
The thing about Florida is that it’ll be super sunny in the morning and start raining in the evening with terrific thunder and lightening- and this happens almost every day! We went to Gwazi Park where the show would be held and took cover from the rain. When it finally slowed down a bit, they started the show.
It was basically acrobatics mixed with a concert and the acrobatics were definitely amazing! After the show there were fireworks!

Here are some more pictures of Busch Gardens.

Super cute video of an orangutan swinging around.

Leaving Busch Gardens at night.

The last day in Tampa was spent shopping and we even went to visit our house!
It’s still ours but it’s up for rent. It doesn’t look very blue here, but it’s painted blue so we used to call it ‘blue home’. It also has a swimming pool which you can’t see here. Also, all the plants look dead. 🙁
Early Tuesday night (18th August) was spent driving to Orlando and spending the night there before heading out to drive all the way up north back to Virginia- a colossal 13 hour drive! I spent most of this time sleeping xD.
Six days left till we returned to Pakistan! To be continued in the next post!

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