And other fun in strip mall land in central Florida.
Since it’s June, and I get my allotment for the whole year at the end of the month, I don’t have any actual vacation days left, although I do have banked time and personal days. But since I worked all day Saturday and Sunday at the library conference, it seemed like a little relaxing was in order.
So, on Monday night we had Thai for dinner at a restaurant in the next over strip mall from our hotel, that one of our librarian friends, Judith, recommended – she was in the same hotel. There was a pho & noodle place next to the Thai place, that’s next to the sushi place, and Judith thinks they’re all owned by the same family, or somehow interconnected; a pan-Asian row of restaurants. The food was really good – I had a chicken & vegetable curry medium hot, and a Singha. Mark kind of talked me out of Pad Thai. He got a nice piece of fish in a similar curry sauce, but his came with grilled shrimp and peppers on skewers, too. The main problem was that I wasn’t really hungry enough. I’d had lunch with Martin and Suzanne at Tommy Bahama’s – brisket tacos with corn salsa and plantains – and even though I didn’t clean my plate at lunch, I wasn’t that hungry at dinner. I spent the afternoon parked on a couch in the convention center working until Mark was done with his meeting and we took the bus back to the hotel and had dinner – so it’s not like I walked a lot either. Although, from the South building at the OCCC (Orange County Convention Center) where my morning meeting was, to the shopping mall where I had lunch, and then back to the West building at OCCC has to be at least a mile and a half, but that wasn’t enough to walk off the tacos. Somehow, when I got back to the hotel I was missing the long sleeved tie dye tee shirt I had with me to keep from freezing in the over-air-conditioned OCCC. It was a Michael Stars a.k.a. designer but cheap, that I bought at Marshall’s with Rach, pretty subdued tie dye, in browns and gold, so I could wear it with a lot of stuff. Rats.
Tuesday we got coffee at our “regular” Starbucks, in our home strip mall, collected our rental car – by walking to the other side of Seaworld, about 1.4 miles, the longest walk of the trip – and headed for the beach. I thought we wanted to go east to the Canaveral National Seashore, but everyone we talked to said go west to the Gulf Coast – so we did.
Clearwater Beach. Within 10 minutes of arriving, we spent $20 to park, and $30 on an umbrella and two chairs. We changed and slathered on the sunscreen and I walked back and locked up our wallets and cell phones in the car – just brought my coin purse with $20 in it. I made that coin purse from fabric printed with family photos – my purse was the test and I made another for my niece Mimi for her 16th birthday. We read in our beach chairs for a bit until we were hot, and then got in the water. And swam and bobbed around. We decided to walk down the beach, while our suits were still wet – and that was Mistake #1. I should’ve either applied sunscreen again, or wrapped a towel around my shoulders – or wore a sunscreen shirt like Mark did. Maybe I’ll have to replace my lost tie dye with a sunscreen shirt. I got a dandy sunburn on my shoulders.
I took my coin purse with me when we walked and we bought (overpriced) drinks, so there was only probably $12 and some left in it. Mistake #2 – I just kind of dropped the coin purse into the top of our beach bag, and we went back into the water. And saw dolphins! The umbrella and chair and cabana rentals run out at 6:00 PM and in late afternoon, the rental company starts sending around their gang of kids with a truck and trailer to pick them up. While we were in the water, the people one umbrella over from us left. There was an abandoned pair of panties on the one of their chairs, which apparently grossed out one of the kids – he didn’t want to touch them, and the driver said just use your feet. I observed all of this and it meant nothing to me until we went to the public showers and rest rooms to spritz off and change, and I couldn’t find my panties. Oh, yea, they were purple, like the ones on the chair. But how did they get on that chair?? Never had underwear grow legs and walk away before. It wasn’t until we were sitting eating that I realized the coin purse wasn’t in the beach bag either. So the thief grabbed both and discarded the panties first.
So it was a good, traditional day at the beach – salt, sand, dolphins, sunburn, fried shrimp, and thievery.
Clearwater was fun and all, but I’m with Martin –
Well #alaac16 you really never ever have to come back to Orlando… no, really, like never
— Martin Kalfatovic (@UDCMRK) June 28, 2016