Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Florida Pictures I
I am still new to laying out pages of pictures, selecting pictures, taking pictures, etc, for the computer so there will be an element of roughness to these first few efforts.
I went to Florida again about 2-3 weeks ago--I wrote a long essay about last year's trip on this site, so this report will be more like a revision/update for a new edition.
For us it is a fairly monumental journey--since we drive and stop frequently along the way it takes the better part of three days to get there--so for most of this first set of pictures we will not even have made it to Florida yet. The first two are taken at a rest area in North Carolina. Note at this point we are still in our winter garb. This was the first time the guys had set foot on actual earth (i.e, as opposed to snow and ice) in several months.
Child #3 in his trademark Elmo sweatshirt also enjoyed the warm weather.
Some South of the Border action, as seen from the highway. I have not stopped at this legendary landmark yet, though as someone who still gets a mild thrill out of roadside attractions, rest areas, visitors centers, gift shops, etc, of any plausible interest, I am not philosophically to doing so. I have just not happened to pass by at a convenient time. Apparently you can go up in the giant hat and have a commanding view of the road and the terrain of the two neighborhoring states (N.C. & S.C.) Of course one never sees successful-looking people, real winners, over the age of 25 at any of these kinds of places--real winners I think don't take long trips by car anymore anyway--but they are the crossroads of the road-bound portion of the nation, the carriage inns and stations great and small on the routes of pilgrimage, all offering, in their goods and spectacles and foods, not exactly fun nor rapture nor beauty nor understanding in themselves, in their real selves, but the promise that one or all of them might be found at some point beyond the door or further down the road. Which is the same illusion of course that we have all been falling for for the last 200 years, and which is what the winners understand. All right, now we have finally arrived at the Jamaica Royale beach resort, Siesta Key, Sarasota, our winter home away from home. As you can see in the background this island, which in 1940 was populated by 300 people, all of whom according to the tourist brochures were fishermen and their families, has not retained the most natural atmosphere, and it is probably impossible to have any kind of genuinely high-art-level interesting or profound experience there, but after a couple of days I get into the spirit of the place, which is the typical Florida beach-with-retired- people-experience: wall-to-wall resorts/palm trees/heavy pesticide use/appalling traffic/one pleasant older (pre-1970) block where some independent restaurants and businesses are. It is pleasant but not particularly exciting; not enough, I suppose, to make one feel its existence in its current state really justifies itself, as I imagine one can feel from time to time in a place like Las Vegas if one has really lived it up and done all the outrageous things that it is said people do there.
It is probably just me, but I cannot persuade myself that this child does not have an athletic-looking running form.


Beth said...

Nice photos, and I agree about the athletic form of the runner.

Next year you should consider a stop in Baltimore en route. We could supply a night stop-over, or coffee break, depending on what would be most convenient to the travelers.

Bourgeois Surrender said...

Hi. Thanks for commenting. I did stop for gas in North Baltimore on the way down, I think off of Exit 57 maybe(there was a diner across the street with "Go Ravens" on its sign). It was one of those overcast, windy winter days that are peculiar to Maryland, flapping flags and rippling puddles all over the place, recognizable at once even after an absence of some years. I intend to do an article sometime on the romantic feelings that the state of Maryland still manages to evoke in me whenever I happen to be in it, which I think has the potential to be very popular.
Thank you for your offer to stop if we are passing through. We usually stay overnight in Philadelphia on such trips, but it would certainly be civilized, and perhaps delightful, to have a coffee-visit; my wife especially is a great coffee-drinker and I think would not object to such an interjection of sociability into the vacation.