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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

experiencing florida!

my friend aaron commented on my last blog, telling me not to leave florida without experiencing florida. at first i was going to comment back, but instead i figured i'd just write a short blog about my florida experience.

maybe it's because i'm a native to california that i find florida's unchanging landscape so oppressive--the flatness, the ubiquitous palm trees and the insane humidity...but despite the lack of interesting terrain or things to do, i have, i think, experienced most of the fun or quirky things that florida has to offer.

i have been all over the state (which is how i know the landscape is unchanging) from pensacola to key west. i've stood at the southermost tip of the US and eaten a sloppy joe at sloppy joe's bar. i've been snorkling in the gulf of mexico. i've swam around inside an ice-cold freshwater spring and hoped that the barking sound of a gator was not getting any closer. i've been to kennedy space center. the sunken gardens. the dali museum. nearly every theme park in orlando and tampa. i've picked up sand-dollars with my toes and been bitten by sea-lice. i've driven across the hundred mile expanse of alligator alley more times than i like to count. i've flown in a tiny experimental airplane. i've barfed from the side of a boat 15 miles offshore. i've been swimming through phosphorescent sea-creatures on a pitch-black night. i've fished from a pier. i've experienced creepy small-town convenience stores with pickled eggs and pig's feet standing in jars of blood-colored water. i've learned that as far as cockroaches are concerned, a length of two inches isn't uncommon. neither is flying. i've gone canoeing in tea-colored rivers bordered by cypress knees. i've climbed on banyan trees. i've discovered that even though it rains nearly every day in florida, people here still don't know how to drive when it's wet. i've tried eating conch. i've worn a bathing-suit and shorts into a restaurant. i've been swimming near dolphins, sting-rays, loggerhead turtles, alligators, giant angelfish...and yet i've still never seen a manatee. i've had a picnic on a deserted island. i've stood on the beach during a tropical storm and felt the flying sand sting me. i've sat in a dark house listening to the roaring of a hurricane and wondering if our house would be destroyed.

all in all, i would have to say that i've experienced florida. i might not have caught all the dorky roadside attractions, but i think i've sampled the best of what this state has to offer. and, sometimes, the worst.


foldreformer said...

wow...that was really cool to hear about the things you've done in the Flat state and I'm glad you can hold your head high when you leave knowing that you got the most out of your time there and won't have any regrets.

I do hope you realize that my last post was meant to be more of an enticement rather than an indictment. I had just come across some "dorky" places and thought I would share with you, in the hopes that you might go on one last outing before you left; especially Weeki Wachee (one of the all-time great roadside attractions...or so I read) which has been around for 60-70 years and is endanger of shutting down.

My silly slogan was not meant to be taken literally as if to say that you had not done anything up to this point. It was really written nonchalantly-I really didn't mean to ruffle the feathers, so sorry if I did so.

Besides that how did you like the sunken gardens and dali museum? Are they worth the time?

jenn grigoryev! said...

i wasn't offended or anything, i thought it was funny. and something semi-interesting to blog about.

the sunken gardens are pretty cool. i've only been once but i really enjoyed it. i went in the winter so it was really nice. the dali museum is great if you like dali. i have mixed feelings about him, so i have mixed feelings about the museum.

and i actually wanted to go to weeki wachee at one point, but nobody wanted to go with me to see a dorky mermaid show. alas.

Steve said...

I've done about half of that stuff... but I HAVE experienced the manatee swim-by!