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Merman Arion
06-13-2015, 02:36 AM
Hi everyone

Guess what?!

I'M GOING TO FLORIDA THIS SUMMER!!! :yay: :dance: :cheerleader:

FRENCH MERMAN INCOMING! :mermaid kiss:
My very first trip to the US and I've never been this excited for a trip before!
I have missed TWO editions of Merfest and couldn't be there for you all but this time, it's real!
So I'm making this thread so I can share the preparations of the trip and everything going on there. Photos, videos, personal feelings, you name it. So think of it as a journal, pretty much like Raina did for the second edition of Merfest.

"But how all this happened?"

For my 26th birthday and to reward me for finding a good job in a worldwide-known company in Paris, my parents decided to buy me any trip I wish to make thanks to the billions of miles that my dad gained with his job as a CEO. It could have been anything and boy, I was really torn with the choices as I wanted to go EVERYWHERE because I've been dreaming to meet and swim with so many amazing merfolks in this community. Then, I got an invitation from Eden Sirene who is living in Florida, next to Tampa, and I just couldn't let that opportunity go to waste. It was meant to be! So I called my parents, told them what trip I wanted to do and they said YES!!! I had to wait for my days off to be confirmed at work first and finally, after confirmation, the plane tickets have been reserved yesterday to Florida from Wednesday 29th of July to Friday 7th of August. I'm flipping out, guys!

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! :rotfl:

So, who is in Florida?? :D
Any mer who would like to plan a meet-up while I will be there? :highfive:

Love you all.

~ Arion

Cordelia
06-13-2015, 03:48 AM
This is so flippin' awesome!! Sadly, I live in the Midwest with no plans to travel south for the summer. (It gets hot enough up here!) But I hope that you have a fantastic trip!

Merman Arion
06-13-2015, 07:13 AM
This is so flippin' awesome!! Sadly, I live in the Midwest with no plans to travel south for the summer. (It gets hot enough up here!) But I hope that you have a fantastic trip!

Thanks! I sure hope so. I will come back with amazing memories and many stories to tell my family :D

AniaR
06-13-2015, 09:51 AM
That's so exciting Arion! I'm going I'm November so I'll miss yah. But you'll have a great time. Go to weeki!

Mermaid Sirenia
06-13-2015, 01:41 PM
Cannot wait to see you! You should look up the springs in florida and pick one out you'd like to meet at for a swim:) I'm open to any of them! I've only been and Troy Springs and Alexander Springs so far, both of which are great!

Raayvhen
06-13-2015, 02:26 PM
You're going to the wrong coast! Haha kidding! You'll have a blast!

Fun123joker
06-13-2015, 03:24 PM
flordias nice. i use to live there. TIP: DONT GO TO THE POPULAR BEACHES (MIAMI BEACH) DURING 4TH OF JULY WEEKEND) unless you want to see some fireworks. I never been to the springs but i feel like they're the best choice. they're more north and i think most of the mers here dont live as south as miami and such.

Mermaid Nerida
06-13-2015, 07:15 PM
I'm vacationing in Panama City the first week of August! I'm sooooo very excited! And I hope you have fun in Florida, I'm sure it will be amazing!!

Sent from my shell phone under the sea!

Noelle1966
06-13-2015, 08:41 PM
I'm near Kennedy Space Center in Florida :cthulhu:

East coast mermaid
06-14-2015, 12:48 AM
Blue Springs is supposed to be a beautiful spring, it is a little closer to Orlando. I'm going to try to make a visit up there sometime this summer. Love to take a swim with anyone willing! [emoji4]

Green Tea Mermaid
06-15-2015, 12:12 PM
Yay! I am in the Orlando area. How exciting we'll definitely have to a pod meet up while you're here. Hopefully my Merbella tail will be done by then. :)

MermaidCelesteFL
06-16-2015, 06:08 PM
Living in Kissimmee, very close to Orlando. If you want to go to Disney, I can get you in! I also have a place for you to sleep if you want to spend some time in Orlando. (As long as you're not allergic to cats.) I think this calls for a meet up in Alexander or Manatee Springs!

Just let me know the dates for the meet up, and I'll bring along my photographer/videographers.

Merman Dylan
06-16-2015, 06:28 PM
I'm one of the mermen in Florida. I'm a little new, but i had a great time at Rainbow Springs, Alexander Springs, and Blue Springs near orlando. I have to say that I enjoyed Alexander Springs the most. If any of you guys are going to a spring let me know. If I don't have work, I'll be there. New Smyrna Beach is great. I spent half of my childhood there whenever my grandparents visited from Kentucky. North of the Jetty is great. I've actually been to the Jetty there, and it's awesome. I only wish I could've spent more time there, but the walk there was like a mile or two from the condo.

Merman Arion
06-16-2015, 07:10 PM
Wow! So many responses! :yay:

Thank you guys! I really appreciate the support. I would love to do a meet-up in the springs.
I don't know which one we should do yet. If there is a swim planned with the friends hosting me in a particular spring, I will definitely let you know in advance so we can all be together. How does that sound? :)

I will be in Florida from Wednesday 29th of July to Friday 7th of August so the meet-up would have to be in between.
I WOULD LOVE to do DisneyWorld. I know DisneylandParis but I've always been curious to do a different parc. I hope to make a visit there too.

Merman Dylan
06-16-2015, 11:28 PM
If you plan the day, I'll try to show up.

Mermaid Alea
06-16-2015, 11:56 PM
I am in Florida but that is too far down in Florida for me haha. I would love to go to all the springs you mers go to if they were closer. You all are very lucky to be able to have access to all of those beautiful springs! :swoon:

Arion I hope you have safe travels and get lots of good photos & memories! I am sure you will have a fun time! ;)

Ayesha
06-18-2015, 11:34 PM
I will still be in Florida then and I would LOVE to meet you! Let me know when the meet-up(s) will be and I will request off. Also, I'll message you about Disney. I can help you out! :D

Merman Dylan
06-23-2015, 05:38 PM
I'm working on trying to get a big meet up scheduled for when you're in Florida. I hope it works out alright.

Merman Arion
07-20-2015, 08:10 AM
9 DAYS LEFT before I take the plane to Florida!!! I'm so excited !! :dance:

Whoop whoop! Frenchy is coming soon ! :cheerleader: :cheerleader: :cheerleader:

Keiris
07-20-2015, 12:28 PM
9 DAYS LEFT before I take the plane to Florida!!! I'm so excited !! :dance:

Whoop whoop! Frenchy is coming soon ! :cheerleader: :cheerleader: :cheerleader:

Are you staying in Tampa? Have you guys decided which springs you are going to yet? I'm a few hours south but would love to swim up to meet you.
Like I said before, it's sticky here Arion, so pack light!!

Merman Arion
07-20-2015, 12:42 PM
Are you staying in Tampa? Have you guys decided which springs you are going to yet? I'm a few hours south but would love to swim up to meet you.
Like I said before, it's sticky here Arion, so pack light!!

Actually, I don't know yet. I'm aware they prepared a schedule full of surprises for my visit so I could have the best time ever there. I will ask if we can have a day for a special meet-up in the springs. I will keep you updated :)

Ps : I promise to pack light. Thanks for your advice.

Ariel Starfish
07-20-2015, 01:18 PM
Arion, I hope you'll have A BLAST of a visit in Florida! And If u visit Disney, say hi to Ariel from me :D.
Urgh, I wish one day I'll be able to visit Florida to ❤️❤️❤️

EdenSirene
07-23-2015, 09:34 AM
The count down is on!!! 💗🐬💗

Merman Arion
07-25-2015, 04:27 AM
The count down is on!!! 

RIGHT?! :D

Today is preparation day!! :dance: :yay: :cheerleader:

AniaR
07-25-2015, 11:20 AM
Have a fishy time Arion. Take a lot of photos! Post them here! :)

Merman Arion
07-25-2015, 11:32 AM
Have a fishy time Arion. Take a lot of photos! Post them here! :)

That's the plan! ;)

I can't wait! :rotfl:

merman475
07-25-2015, 05:16 PM
Would love to meet you, Arion. I actually live in Orlando, so if you need help getting around, let me know. I may be able to help.

Merman Arion
07-28-2015, 04:00 PM
Tonight is the big night! :dance:
The last one before tomorrow which is the day I take the plane to Florida! :yay: :cheerleader:

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Look at this! :D
Mummified merman tail! Pretty cool right?! I think we did a good job to protect it lol :lol:

Celaeno
07-28-2015, 04:03 PM
One more sleep 'til Florida! Woot! Have a blast, post lots of pictures to make us all jealous.

Keiris
07-28-2015, 10:49 PM
Safe trip Arion! We're waiting for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Merman Arion
07-29-2015, 03:34 AM
Driving to the Charles de Gaulles airport now. I will give an update later :)

Merman Arion
07-31-2015, 01:13 PM
My trip to Florida - DAY 1

I was really nervous on that day. I was waiting for this trip since weeks and it was finally happening. I was thrilled and beyond excited to meet my friends after being in touch online since more than a year. When I woke up, it was a bit more than 7 am and I was ready to take the plane with my bags. For those who follow me on Instagram, you have seen the preparations I did the day before. There was a big mess on my bed and afterwards, I mummified my merman tail with bubble wrap and a brown-ish duck tape.

I arrived to the cDG airport three hours early as I wanted to make sure I had enough time for a small breakfast, checking-in and taking care of my bags, especially my tail. Obviously, it was oversized so I had to give it up to another place before boarding. It was not easy for me to leave something worth $3000 to some people I didn't know. I couldn't help having my mind filled of bad scenarios. Once it was about time to get on the plane, I took a giant an deep breath to relax and went ahead.

I had a seat next to the window and got a perfect view on the right wing. I was sitting next to a dad and his 5 years old son and both were very nice. I was prepared to face a 9 hours travel. The small TV offered a lot of good movies I was interested to watch but unfortunately, most of them didn't have subtitles for the hearing impaired and deafs. I wondered how could this still v'be happening in 2015?! I was VERY disappointed. The only movies I watched were FRENCH because they had automatically English subtitles. As for the others, the only option was to choose the audio. I kind of had this coming and brought my computer to watch some movies with English audio and subtitles. The bad news was that, being in economy class, we had no power outlet next to our seats. It was actually a luxury reserved for the business class. I felt powerless. Then, I understood that it was going to be a looong flight.

Once I arrived in Miami, I had two hours only to take a connection flight to Tampa. Fortunately, going through customs and getting my stuff back went smoothly. Then, I had to walk through all the hallway to check-in with American Airlines. Thanks to the reservation I had, it went well. Although, I had a very awkward moment when I paid the fees for my bags with my credit card. I put it in the slot and was waiting to make the digital code but there was actually no digital code to do as it was automatic... I felt silly and so out of the place. The stewardess next to the machine giggled and offered to help. She was very nice and even spoke in French to make things easier. As soon as she saw the bag on my back, she asked what could be so big inside. I smiled and told her I was carrying a merman tail. She was confused at first and then, I showed it to her. She was very excited and asked if I had a facebook page. Then, she proposed to take care of my stuff personally. She took care of my reservation and handed to me my ticket for the plane and the new informations of my bags. All that left to do was to get on board.

It only took me one hour to get to Tampa and compared to my first flight, it went very fast. It was 9 pm when I landed there. Then, I found my friends waiting for me. I was glad to meet finally Merman Christomer (https://www.facebook.com/MermanChristomer) and Helix Mermanta (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Helix-Mermanta/905943299446914). Together, we went on getting back my stuff. Once again, my bag and my tail made it safely. I wondered why I freaked out so much to the point it was ridiculous as there was nothing much to worry about in the first place.. I should trust more the airlines. Granted, back then, I only traveled in Europe with carry-on bags and a backpack. Finally, we went to Hamburger Mary's where I had my first real american burger. It was delicious and I also got to taste the famous mermaid punch. I couldn't finish the drink though as I'm not really good with alcohol yet.

Then, Eden Sirene The Fishhawk Mermaid (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eden-Sirene-The-Fishhawk-Mermaid/1597252260505419) joined us. She got back from a gig and was gorgeous on her mermaid outfit. I was so happy to meet her after two months of waiting since the day we planned this trip. After dinner, we went to the beach and did a spontaneous night swim. The view on the city, the bright full moon, the warmth of the water, the feel of the sand, everything was perfect. When we got back home, it was around 2 am which meant that in France, it was like 8 am ! I was up since 24 hours and seriously jet lagged ! We talked a bit more and then, we all went to sleep. It was a beautiful evening, I had a feel I was going to live an amazing trip.

More to say later. Thank you for reading.

~ Arion

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Before boarding to Miami

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Enjoying for the first time the famous mermaid punch

Noelle1966
07-31-2015, 01:22 PM
Welcome to Florida!

Mermaid Galene
07-31-2015, 06:55 PM
Glad you're having a great time, Arion!

AniaR
07-31-2015, 09:36 PM
can't wait to see more!!!

Lorelei
07-31-2015, 11:04 PM
Enjoying this thread, haha. :D Wish I could be there, but I can't wait to see more pics!

Keiris
08-01-2015, 12:41 AM
Welcome to South Florida Arion! Glad you made it safe and sound. :cool:

AniaR
08-01-2015, 08:20 PM
p.s. Alex we got your package thank you!

Cordelia
08-02-2015, 01:09 AM
So glad that you had a good trip here so far. I read some of your thread out loud to my boyfriend, because I was surprised about the lack of closed captioning on the in-flight movies (and he agreed). You might want to pick up a book or magazine for the flight back. ;D Thank you for keeping us up to date on your trip! Can't wait to see what else you guys get up to! :D

Merman Arion
08-02-2015, 07:19 PM
My trip to Florida - DAY 2

When I woke up on that day, it was already between 10 and 11 am in the morning. I tried to get some rest because of the jet lag. Getting up wasn't diffcult because I was super awake when I opened my eyes. It was already 5 pm in France. I messaged my parents through Viber to tell them that I was okay. They were happy to know that I landed safe in Florida and wished that I have the best time there.

I took a shower to get myself ready and we went outside to get some lunch. We ended up in a mexican restaurant. It was a very nice place run by a family. Inside, there was a big collection of different crosses hanging on a wall, each one of them was unique. I'm not Christian myself but I have a lot of respect for people who have faith. Then, someone came to get our orders. I never ate mexican food before, I was kind of concerned at first but when I got my first bite, it was delicious! I don't remember the name of the dish anymore but it was a mix of grilled meat and a salad with avocado. The amount of food was generous, I was stuffed when I finished.

After eating at the restaurant, we came to see Eden Sirene The Fishhawk Mermaid at her work. For privacy protection, I'm not gonna write the details about her job but I can tell you that I was very impressed. Then, with Merman Christomer, we went on a ride to the airport at Tampa to pick up an important member of our merfolk family : my mer mother. She used to be a mermaid at Weeki Wachee Springs years ago. She is a beautiful person inside and out and I was really excited to meet her. We really hit it off when we met online and I became her adopted son. We arrived early at the airport so while waiting, I took the opportunity to get some cash thanks to an ATM and visit some shops. Then, our favorite mermaid arrived and we welcomed her with open arms. She looked great after her trip to Hawaii where she met my tailmakers running Finfolk Productions and had an underwater photoshoot with her brand new tail. Afterwards, we helped her getting her luggages from the plane and then, we came back to Eden's work. When we got there, a storm came fast and the water started flooding everywhere, we were so wet when we got inside.

While waiting for Eden to finish her shift, ChristoMer brought me to a place named Dunkin' Donuts where I got the opportunity to eat my very first donut. There was so many options I didn't know what to choose. I ended up picking a donut with rainbow sprinkles and it was really good ! It was kind of difficult to swallow after the first bite because I wanted to laugh : they were all watching me and expecting a special reaction, it was hard to keep a serious face lol. Later, we all came back home to change as we planned to go to Disneyworld, have dinner there and visit Planet Hollywood where the original mermaid tail from the movie "Splash" was hanging on a wall. I was really excited ! It was quite a drive but really worth it. While driving, in the back of the car, I fell asleep because I was feeling the jet lag effect and Eden captured the moment and shared it on Facebook ! At Disney, we had dinner at a place called T-Rex, it was surprisingly big. Chris made a joke about the statue above the entrance. At first, I thought he meant that I had to take a picture of it as a memory and that's what I did and then, he explained the joke was about the statue looking like it was having a boner. A giant squeleton having a BONE-R... It took me a whole minute to get that joke and they were all laughing because I took a picture of it LOL. I guess I still have a long way to go to understand jokes in English.

At the T-Rex restaurant, our seats were next to an aquarium full of fishes. They had a lot of blue tangs inside, it was very entertaining to watch them swimming. I remember a video I watched on Facebook where an identical tank was broken, the water was leaking and all the fishes inside ended up dying. It was heartbreaking. The dinner itself was great, I tasted for the first time waffle fries ! As French, I was obviously used to the french fries and never heard of the waffle ones before. The taste was heavenly. The waiter even asked me which kind I prefered. I smiled and answered "both". After the main course, I saw waiters coming our way with a giant plate of cake and ice cream with something looking like a volcano at the center. People started applauding, my friends too and I went along until I realised it was actually meant for me ! I facepalmed my face very hard, Christomer pulled a birthday prank on me ! My birthday was actually in January but that didn't stop him to surprise me. I appreciated it though. It was a nice gesture and the chocolate cake was very good. I really had a good time at that restaurant. The only drawback was that it was really loud inside and I had a hard time understanding my friends with all the noises there but I managed and it still became a nice memory.

Later, we passed by a shop specialized in Lego. Christomer bought a Lego mermaid keychain for all of us. I loved it and I looked forward to use it for my keys. Then, we went to Planet Hollyood to see the mermaid tail made by Thom Shouse for the movie "Splash" in 1985 with Daryl Hannah and Tom Hanks. It is one of my favorite mermaid movies. The original tail was hanging inside a glass tank behind a bar and it was a beautiful sight. It looked very good after 30 years ! I feel blessed to own a replica of the necklace the actress was wearing in the movie and a merman tail inspired by the design made by Robert Short. I was grateful to be there as it was one of the things I dreamed to do someday. We took a few pictures, had a drink with the tail next to us and later, we left as it started to be very late. On the way back, we went to a Disney store and I found a Bambi pillow so cute I wanted to buy one for myself ! Unfortunately, I didn't have much room left in my luggage and I originally planned to come back home with an Orca plush so I had to make a choice and put the Bambi pillow back. It was a bummer but hopefully, I will have another opportunity someday. We finally went to the store where they had the Orca plush I was looking for but at that moment, they were closing so we couldn't enter inside. Looking back we could have done this earlier but we didn't think the dinner would take so long. It was just bad timing and I already made peace with that. It was only a plush and I strongly believed I would get it some other time.

Aftewards, we took the car and drove back to Eden's home. It was another long day but filled of great memories. I was happy to live these moments with them and with Marla, my mer mother. When I was about to sleep, I started considering staying longer.

Stay tuned for DAY 3. Thank you for reading

~ Arion

PS : I apologize for being late on schedule. It's actually hard to keep up lol. I will try to catch up by posting later.

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Merman Dan
08-02-2015, 07:24 PM
Glad to see you are having a great time! :)

Celaeno
08-02-2015, 07:28 PM
Glad you're having such a great time!
I love T-Rex, it's awesome you got to sit by the aquarium!

AniaR
08-02-2015, 07:30 PM
sounds like a great day. I didnt visit the splash tail the first time I was in Florida so I'll have to this time. So awesome!

Merman Dan
08-02-2015, 07:33 PM
The Splash tail would be nice... but I wanna raid the Disney archives for Robert Shorts sea hag tail! :)

Mermaid Olivia!
08-02-2015, 07:44 PM
Sounds like you are having a fun time! I was there in July and saw the Splash tail too! If you get a chance to go to Disney's Hollywood Studios, be sure to look for the fountain from Splash (it is back by a restaurant near the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground) and Daryl Hannah's finprints in the cement in front of the Great Movie Ride!
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PearlieMae
08-02-2015, 08:21 PM
I am SO happy you are having such a wonderful time! I can't wait to read and see more! Wish I could join you guys! :jelly:

Keiris
08-02-2015, 09:03 PM
Looks like you guys are having an awesome time! :D

Mermaid Alea
08-03-2015, 12:08 AM
I love reading these updates and it sounds like a blast! Welcome to Florida! :D

Are you going to get to go swimming in a spring?

Merman Arion
08-06-2015, 02:53 AM
My trip to Florida - DAY 3

I woke up really late on that day, around 11 am. The weather was very cloudy and the storm was starting to get closer to Florida. My little Mer brother Helix Mermanta (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Helix-Mermanta/905943299446914) offered to make me breakfast. I got some scrambled eggs and toasts with strawberry jam. It was delicious. I was questioning my own cooking skills because all my scrambled eggs back in France always looked more like an omelet and a 12 years old boy can make them flawless lol. Afterwards, I learned that my friend Eden Sirene The Fishhawk Mermaid (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eden-Sirene-The-Fishhawk-Mermaid/1597252260505419) wasn't feeling well so we had to let her get some rest. In the meantime, we decided to go for a swim at the pool near the home. It was a beautiful pool with a shallow depth, enough for us merfolks to enjoy swimming. Believing that we might use them later, I didn't my silicone tail. I brought my camera and joined Marla and Helix. We had fun taking pictures and videos underwater. I felt blessed to share this moment with a former mermaid of Weeki Wachee Springs. I wasn't very experienced compared to her but I did the best I could. I used my camera for the first time underwater and I was glad to see that it really worked. I did a few good pictures.

Later, once Eden recovered, Merman Christomer (https://www.facebook.com/MermanChristomer) took the car to bring us to Clearwater Beach for dinner in a fancy restaurant called "The Lobster Pot". The inside totally blew me away as it was beautiful. There were curtains between tables that people could use for more privacy. I thought that it was very romantic. There was also a piano playing in the other room that was nice to listen. The place was calm, composed with not much noise. To be honest, compared to the T-REX restaurant back then at Disneyworld the other day, that was refreshing. There was a lot of choice in the menu, it was really tough to choose. I decided to go for seafood and picked the salmon. I also asked for french fries as a side dish. Choosing a drink was tricky as I personally prefered white wine over red and I had no idea of what the names meant on the menu. Fortunately, the waitress offered to help and suggested a glass of sweet white wine which was her personal favorite. I tasted it and went for it as it was perfect to go with the salmon. As for the dessert, I ate a "crème brûlée".

On the way back to the car, there were a few shops still opened late at night and when I saw a beautiful tank to with the seafoam color on it in the window, I just had to buy it ! You can find the picture on Instagram. There was also a very cute octopus plush ChristoMer encouraged me to buy but I decided to leave it at last minute. I confess that I kind of have regrets now because I did want to buy it. Oh well... We finally arrived to the hotel where the car was parked but we didn't leave yet. Instead, we sat on the beach to relax and enjoy the warm wind on us. My friends were really busy on their phones, it was almost midnight and I was about to witness the important lauching of a new tailmaking company called MerrowFins (https://www.facebook.com/MerrowFins). My friend Eden along with the former sculptor artist behind the spiderwick tail decided to start a business and created together the new page. You should follow them and watch for updates. I look forward to see their tails. Who knows? I might order from them in the future. Back on that night, I was really excited for them. It must be exciting to start something new. After a while, we went to the car and drove back to home to get some sleep. We didn't do much that day but I still had fun and enjoyed every single moment. Besides, I didn't come back empty-handed.

On to writing Day 4.

~ Arion

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Me swimming and posing underwater with Marla, a former mermaid of Weeki Wachee Springs.

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Dinner at the Lobster Pot with Merman ChristoMer (aka Mer-King), Eden Sirene, Helix Mermanta and Mermaid Marla