Latest posts by Martin Moodie (see all)
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The Moodie Report is in Orlando for the annual Duty Free Show of the Americas, run by the ever-impressive IAADFS.
After a few years in Fort Lauderdale, the exhibition has returned to its long-time home, driven by a desire to have all delegates under one roof. And what a roof it is – the Marriott Orlando World Centre is a vast American convention and resort hotel. It’s a contrived, over-the-top place but for an event like this it’s perfect.
It’s the world’s largest Marriott and boy does it show. Getting to my room every day practically equates to a work-out – with a bit of MENSA-like orienteering skills thrown into the mix so difficult is it to find your way around.
All sorts of conventions take place at one time. I took a wrong turning today on the way to register and nearly ended up in the American Society of Diagnostic and Interventional Nephrology meeting. I bet they’re a fun lot during Happy Hour.
There are ten restaurants, all seemingly trying to outdo each other in the sheer volume of the portions they serve. I had a New York ‘strip’ steak on the first night at the Hawk’s Landing Golf Club restaurant. Strip? It was the width of a highway. It was delicious but I managed to eat about one-third and even then I had to waddle back to my room.
All this leftover food goes in the bin while much of the world goes hungry. If you thought about that for too long you might despair. In 11 days time I will be visiting Haiti, just a few hours from here, where many of the people are starving.
Today the show kicked off with its regular opening sports evenings – fishing (you can probably catch genetically modified sardines the size of Marlin here), golf and tennis. Plus the traditonal opening picnic which was held in blazing Florida sunshine with not an umbrella in site. For those of us escaping the bitter European winter it was glorious.
As a result though I look like a testament to global warming. I was going to say that I look like the Lobster Thermidor that I saw served at one of the Marriott’s restaurants the other night – but while I’m the right colour, I’m simply not big enough.