Monday, November 24, 2008

Florida (Finale)

To conclude the tale of my Florida Foray will require my providing you with only the highlights, as we all know how I adore milking a good story.

And because I know how much you enjoy da pics, I shall provide those as well.

I know…I’m the best. You’re welcome.

We travelled from Naples to Hutchinson Island, where we spent the remainder of our time in complete denial that life existed elsewhere with an external temperature below 70 degrees.


Yes, I know….I am so creative. Please try to keep all admiration and gushing to a minimum, as it’s embarrassing. And please remember that I am also a published photographer, having been featured a whopping two times…once in National Geographic and once in Birds ‘n Blooms. (Okay…so what if the “birds” pub. compensated me with a window cling featuring their decal??…a byline is a byline!)

It’s beautiful there…and there’s manatee and pelicans and what I insisted were salmon, but I’m told may be “snook” or “bunker”, which have to be the stupidest fish names ever.


I took this from the lanai on Monday:


Here’s Tuesday:


And Wednesday:


This is no joke….we’re talking four solid days of cloudless skies. I’ve got the dates on my computer to prove it. Toward the end, it was getting a little freaky. It was like Groundhog Day, only in a good way…but minus the snow, Sonny & Cher singing “I got you, babe” and Bill Murray. Otherwise, it was exactly the same.

We did a combo of cooking in and eating out. Okay, so maybe I didn’t personally cook anything, but I provided valuable input as to what was prepared. Whilst at the local market, Tonia whipped this out from behind her back, after informing me that it was to be our next meal:


I’m sure it was the shriek heard ‘round the world. She placed it in our cart and walked away. I did the only thing I could think of: I took this photo. After several dry heaves, an employee of the establishment was kind enough to remove it from my sight.

(Gags again)

Feel free to scroll down a bit….(that’s what I’m doing.)

We also visited a general store that was straight out of the sixties:



The packaging may be out of the past…the price, however, is positively futuristic. Is anyone actually buying this stuff?



They carried drinks with names like “Rat Bastard”, “Black Lemonade” and “Brain Wash”. I believe the note proclaims “Brain Wash may cause temporary coloring to tongue and teeth. It will (something-something) three days later.” My guess is “It will…cause your teeth and gums to spontaneously combust…three days later”…but maybe that’s just me.

Finally, there’s my treasured souvenir:

I brought home three of them…after narrowing it down from an original eight. Hundreds of seashells encapsulated into one rock form…a virtual sea-collage. Tonia was less than thrilled that I insisted on bringing them home and reluctantly agreed to transfer some of my items to her suitcase so they’d fit in mine. We’d carefully packed them to hopefully survive the journey home. All went as planned until we hit airport security in Lauderdale and my bag ran through x-ray.

Next thing I know a woman in uniform is asking “Is this your bag?” After I cautiously nod, she says “Please come with me. You’ve got something in there…and we have no idea what it is.”

I am not making this up.

I’m taking mental inventory of what’s in there…or more importantly, what’s not…no hairdryer…no booze…no Phillips-head screwdrivers…what could it be?? I start to reach into the jumble of clothing to help in the search when she cautions me to “back away, miss…we’ve got it” and I’m thinking “we?” and I realize there’s two very tall guys standing on either side of me…craning their necks to see into my bag.

That’s when I realize what they’re looking for.

I say “Oh! You probably saw my kazillion shells encapsulated into one singular rock…(times three)….could that be it?”…and I tentatively point in the general direction of the bottom of my suitcase. The lady agent reaches down and pulls out my treasures…turning them this way and that, as they each remark “Very nice”…and “Huh. I didn’t see that one coming…”


It took all four of us to get my suitcase closed again…from the back, it probably looked like we were performing some awkward airport surgery on something…as we pulled, pushed, grunted and swore until we got the zipper zipped. Then we couldn’t get the handle to pop up, so whilst two of our crew abandoned ship, one kind security guy hung in there with me long enough to re-configure and re-zip.

Alas, now Florida’s just a distant memory. I’m already whining that it’s too freakin’ cold.

All has returned to normal. Whatever that means….

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