The Sunshine Skyway, Poker Bob and much more
Trip Start Jan 31, 2010
9Trip End Feb 28, 2010
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Today was a great day.
Incidentally, when they destroyed the old bridge they kept initial bits of road at either end and made them into fishing piers which they charge $5 to get on to. Typical (and brilliant) American innovation.
In Tampa we hit Ybor City. It an oldy-worldy New Orleansy area where they made cigars back in the day. Largely an immigrant area it has held its charm. We visited a cigar history museum and had a tremendous coffee at Joffrey's. All very bohemian.
Back home it was poker night.
Me and Dad went to the American Legion again for poker. It's a sort of working man's club where on a Monday night they have poker night. It's run by a few old fellas and attended by many more.
I was rubbish on the first table but ensured I didn't go out first. I sat next to 83-year-old Bob who has lung cancer. Not a well man but he made me laugh last week and again this week. Forgive the profanities...
Mexican wife (50-ish) of one of the blokes: "Hi Bob!"
Bob to me: "Do you think she's flirting with me?" Pause. "Or does she just wanna fuck?"
Me laughing: "I think she's flirting."
Bob: "I'm gonna ask her if she wants to fuck."
My Dad from the other side of the table: "What did Bob say?"
"He said he thinks that lady is flirting with him".
Bob to my Dad across the table: "I might just do her doggy fashion. That's how they like it."
The weather was glorious sunshine today. I mean bright bright sunshine. But the air was fresh.
We watched Milan-Man U at home with a glass of red after lunch. It was a great game, 3-2 to United but it was the ambience of the condo that got me. Sunlight was flooding in through the windows and the lanai and we had the windows open so the air was a little fresh too but it was so lovely. Like some sort of idyllic family scene. A happy moment.
Then we went out for dinner at an Italian in downtown Venice who do gluten-free pasta. I've never had that option so it was very novel for me. And very nice too.
We went to the Ringling Museum in Sarasota today. A beautiful and grand estate just north of downtown. John Ringling was the owner and inventor of the travelling circus. And he was very good at it too. So good it made him a multi-millionaire or 19th-century equivalent. The original cost to build the home was $1.5 million. Adjusting for inflation, that converts to approximately $16 million in 2009 dollars.So he built his house on the water in Sarasota. It was all very impressive but he had an awful art collection that is probably worth a fortune. Great cafe though and his house Ca' d'Zan which may translate from a Venetian dialect into “The House of John” was simply stunning.
Hazel went for a big jog first thing this morning and said she felt fully recovered from her illness. I had very vivid dreams about work - almost felt like i'd been back to work briefly. Horrible stuff.
We set off for Caspersen Beach just south of Sharkey's Jetty after breakfast which has a beautiful river and a series of boardwalks as well as, of course, the beach. It was lovely but once again windy and cold.
Straight from there we went for lunch at Panera Bread which was great. I could eat there every day. An awesome establishment. Chicken salad with crisps crumbled in. Magic.
Then on to Nokomis Beach. The area of Nokomis is where Stephen King resides (full time or part time?) and understandably so. It sits on the intercoastal way between Venice and Sarasota, full of huge beachhouses. Impressive stuff.
From there we went to Nokomis Groves which is an orangery (is that the right word?). They harvest fresh oranges and sell multiple related products. The fresh juice was out-of-this-world and the orange- flavoured icecream was great too. We also bought a couple of presents from there.
Back home Hazel cooked nachos for dinner and then we settled down to watch Valkyrie. Great film.
Today we went into Sarasota today just Hazel, Guy and I. Initially we drove north along Casey Key to see the huge homes. Some of them are simply staggering, vomit-worthy palacial behemoths. I wouldn't say no of course though.
Anyway, we had lunch at Morton's Gourmet Food Market which was ace and then we drove into downtown Sarasota.
There are plenty of cool shops, galleries and restaurants and it makes me wish I had more time and more money. It's a lovely area of the world but one for the pursuit of leisure activities with serious cash.
From Sarasota we came back down the 41 to the mall and enjoyed a walk around there for a while. Bought my "I'm on a boat!" tshirt.
But for now the I'm-on-a-boat notion is just that. One day...