Tuesday, 19 March 2013

more on Florida visit

I went to Florida at my brother and his wife's invitation. They had invited us to visit them in their new home in Clearwater. I nice bungalow in the Florida style, nice garden. They just repainted the whole inside, quite a nice job of it too. My brother also as a green thumb and has planned improvements to the garden by buying some nice plants and a few palm trees, which he will plant himself, quite a job on your own but he has done it before and enjoys it.

We drove around quite a bit, since the distances between places makes walking very difficult. He owns a huge F-150 truck. We went to the beach, Clearwater has a bay and is connected to the Gulf of Mexico by a causeway. In the same fashion Clearwater itself is connected to Tampa by a causeway. If you do not have a car, renting one is imperative since Florida is notorious for its poor public transport.

Most nights I cooked for them at home, there is a strange paradox in the USA, if you want to eat healthy it is expensive but on the other hand junk food or processed food is dirt cheap, though it is not good for you at all as it is loaded with fat, sugar, salt and many unpronounceable items on the label.

We did go to a restaurant I liked on North Beach called Calis, which is slang for California. The breakfast and lunch menu was very good and the wait staff where very pleasant.

We also drove to St-Petersburg just south of Clearwater about 30 km away on a Saturday to attend on open air art show, though that day the weather was terribly cold around 7 C with high winds. As the name indicates the city was founded by a Russian émigré about 120 years ago. Sarasota and Bradenton are just a little further south on the Gulf. If you look at the map it looks like one large city spread over 80 Km. you never actually leave the urban space while driving around.

The only other cities I had visited in the past were Miami, Sarasota and Bradenton which are all very different from one another.

We also went to a Greek enclave called Tarpon Springs known for its natural sponge and Greek community who have made a business of diving for sponge.

The North Beach area has lovely homes and is very quiet, no traffic to speak of, distances are walkable.
Lots of Canadian SnowBirds of a definite age, who rent or own homes in that area.

 My brother's kite on the beach, it is quite big and with the strong wind flew high. The tail of the kite is 4 meters long, gives you an idea of the size of this kite.

He also has a motorcycle, you cannot say a bike since that would imply something for a kid who pedals around. A Harley-Davidson, quite powerful, I did not try to ride it around.


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