Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Frogma Goes to Florida - Day 1


And birds are smart enough to stay there for a while instead of just a week. Who's the birdbrain? 

January 13th, I got up at 4, had my local car service send a car for me at 5 am. Walked out into a leetle tiny bit of snow. Snow picked up as we drove to the airport (flying to Sarasota on JetBlue, so got to fly out of JFK, which is SO much easier than LGA or Newark), and kept going as the plane boarded. They were actually de-icing planes before they left, so that was a little bit of a holdup, but an interesting one, I'd never actually seen that before and it was really kind of fun seeing (and hearing) them hose down the plane twice, the second time in neon green! Sorry no pix, didn't have a window seat so hadn't bothered to bring my camera to my seat.

So anyways, we finally got into the line for takeoff, up up and away, and a little over 3 hours later I was in Florida, hooray! My folks and Belle the dog (featured here last November as the Floof) met me outside, there were hugs and hellos all around and I wished my mom happy birthday right away - she was born on a Friday the 13th so considers that her lucky day, but Sunday the 13th was great too! That was actually the reason for the trip - she was turning 80 (and doing great) the same week as a dear friend of hers, they go all the way back to elementary school together, and the friend and her husband are now long-time friends of my parents. They have a beautiful retirement home in the area and had invited my folks down, and my dad looked into homes available for vacation rental down there and invited my sister and me to join them, which of course we were delighted to do. In fact, before my dad came up with the idea a rental for the family, I'd been figuring I would find a place nearby, because I absolutely wanted to celebrate my mom's birthday with her, so when I got an email from him asking what we thought of them maybe renting this place I was just over the moon!

I saw my first interesting bird by a drainage ditch 5 minutes outside the airport (not sure exactly what it was, I just got a glimpse of a tall white wading bird of some sort but too quick to ID). We stopped to pick up my sister at a local Whole Foods market, where she'd been picking up some provisions for the week, and an hour or so later, we got to the rental place, which was absolutely as described. Here's the backyard, with one of the 4 boats available to play with (canoe for 2 plus two Viper recreational kayaks). Totally unsolicited plug, btw, it was just the nicest place to stay.  

The canal had alligators in it, I didn't get any pictures of them because one was swimming by when I first looked out, and another was swimming by the next time I looked, so I figured they were there all the time - but  that was the last time I saw them. Did see other gators later in the trip though so the camera-shyness of these ones did not mean no alligator photos, phew! Loved seeing alligators on my first day there, though. 

My folks' friends came over a little later, we gave them the grand tour and then adjourned to Englewood Beach for sunset over the gulf. I have been known to criticize East Coast sunsets on this blog for being on the wrong side of the beach (i.e., over the parking lot instead of over the water) but technically this is a west coast, so we got some great proper sunsets here. This was far from the best, but a good start, right? 

This was a wildly popular beach for sunsets - there was a whole crew of people there drumming and hula hooping, and even a guy twirling flaming poi balls. I didn't take any pictures of the poi ball guy because I'm from NYC and if you take a picture of somebody doing something like that in a public place in NYC, they're going to expect some cash and might get mad at you if you don't give them something, and I didn't have any small bills on me, but then he just finished off and doused his poi balls and walked off without asking for anything. Definitely not in NYC any more! There are some of the hula hoopers still hoopin' it up as we left the beach and headed for  - it was a great night to be outside, and the B's (as I'll call my parents' old friends) took us to an excellent restaurant for my mom's birthday dinner, where we sat outside and they didn't even have to turn on the heat lamps. Faaaantastic - what a great break from NYC winter! 


Lisa Ricard Claro said...

So happy you enjoyed your stay here on the Gulf! I live in Venice and absolutely love it here. Two of my three kids live in Sarasota, so that is also a plus. We "do sunset" frequently here and have never been disappointed. RE the sunset celebration at Englewood Beach---a lot of the beaches offer those drum circles at sunset. It's never boring here! And happy birthday to your mom. :)

Alana said...

Florida is wonderful this time of year (I lived in Tampa for almost two years back in the 1970's). What I found, on my most recent visit to Florida, is that you can get great sunset pictures on the East Coast if you are near one of the lakes. It's all about the location. Not a great fan of alligators, but they wouldn't prevent me from retiring there one day - maybe.

bonnie said...

Thanks! It's funny, I was thinking I hadn't gone to Florida since I was very, very little and we went to Disney World and I was scared of everything except It's A Small World, but I did go to a Greenland kayak week run by Sweetwater Kayaks in St. Petersburg several years back. I guess that slipped my mind because the focus that time was on learning skills and there wasn't a lot of sightseeing. This time I got a really excellent taste of more of the area!