Archive for the 'diary-x' category

May 9th, 2005

» sunny Florida

Saturday night, a little travel-delirious, I pulled all the pictures from the digicams and picked out about a dozen I thought might be interesting to post. Interesting for other people, anyhow. I’m not sure how many bad pictures of fishies I saw on vacation people want to see. Though come to think of it, the kelp-looking seahorse was pretty awesome.

Anyway, I wisely did not post them then, and instead went to bed. Looking back over them today I realized I probably chose them then because I was amused at the captioning possibilities. Mostly about the adventures of my hey-I’m-a-tourist hat & questionable sunglasses, alongside Pocahontas-hair and Rachel-post-Bud-light. Much as I might be amused by me pigeon-toed and pensive and seemingly handless on some anonymous boulevard beneath an overcast sky, I will show you these things instead:

An enormous tray of fruit greeted us in our hotel room Friday evening, though it wasn’t until the next day we found out it was courtesy of my sweet father and not the hotel (who had neglected to include the requested card). The tray was utterly divine, heaped with enormous strawberries and fresh Florida oranges and grapefruit, and pineapple. There’s nothing in the world like fresh pineapple.

Saturday we went to Busch Gardens, where I spent the morning coaxing my mom onto a roller coaster, and she spent the afternoon dragging me to others. We caught their new musical theater show, Katonga, which I found utterly charming, and we saw their Haunted Lighthouse ’4D’ adventure…thing, which I found utterly wet. Though I’m not a country fan, I enjoyed the Jodee (Jo Dee?) Messina concert. She has the new country sound, the sort of pop thing, and she was adorable and energetic. And quite overdressed in jeans. It was terribly hot, and I in my tank top and shorts was literally dripping sweat. I enjoyed being baked-to-the-bones hot, though, after a whole winter of shivering through my work days.

Sunday morning it was overcast, and we lamented having not spent the utterly perfect Saturday at the beach, and decided to put it off for a day. Instead we headed to St. Petersburg, where we shopped and bummed around and generally enjoyed ourselves in a shuffly, laid-back way. I tried shrimp, and fish, and myself a year ago had a heart attack and died on the spot.

Monday we headed west to Clearwater Beach. We arrived early and claimed a little beach shelter and a pair of chairs, where we camped out the entire day. The water was lovely; not as clear or aquamarine as Cozumel, but refreshing just the same after my last vacation beach experience (though one really ought not try to swim in northern Italy in April, I realize). That evening we took a short cruise, spotting dolphins from the prow of the boat before watching the sun slip away into the water.

Tuesday was the Florida Aquarium and Ybor City, both of which were rather disappointing. Personally I find the aquarium up at the MN zoo better than the FL Aquarium was. We have more things. And dolphins. Though the FL Aquarium had those fascinating seahorses I mentioned, as well as brazen birds who we watched fishing before we were chased off by a herd of schoolchildren. (The birds, to their credit and my surprise, seemed unperturbed.)

Ybor City was meant to be — authentic. Lively and full of wonderful little local shops. It seemed rather dead and run-down to me, though, and full of night clubs advertising Full Nudity! and Girls, Girls, Girls! Between the Hottest Ladies in Town! and the two blocks of utter tourist trap there were a few good shops, though, and we ate at the Columbia Restaurant, which was gorgeous inside, with warm service and delicious dishes. At least the soup and the Spanish saute (I can’t recall the name for it) we tried were. I enjoyed both, despite a little ordering snafu where I said ‘no mushrooms’ and the waiter heard ‘with shrimp’.

And now it’s horribly late and the rest of the week I spent at the conference, so I’m cutting this abruptly short.