Sunday, September 29, 2013

Visiting the Creatures and Coasters of Tampa

This past Thursday, I did something I had not done in close to twenty years. I went to a theme park. More specifically, I went to Busch Gardens in Tampa, FL. The reasons for this suddenly renewed interest were pretty simple: I had a day off in Lakeland, FL, a place where there is absolutely nothing to do, and I found discounted passes for FL residents online. And the roller coasters. Let's not forget the roller coasters.

But to be fair, they have always had those.  That is what I remember most from my long ago visits.  The down side is that everyone else wants onto those coasters, too, meaning that in order to go on a one minute long ride, you have to invest an hour or more waiting in line, usually while being forced to listen to some hyperactive, overly chatty child.

In the cost/ benefit analysis that goes into making such choices, Lakeland's Lakeland-ness, its over-saturation of strip malls and retirees, tipped the scales. We were doing the 30 minute road trip to Busch Gardens and hoping that a well-timed evil eye was enough to shut up those little chatterboxes.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Honolulu sailing: Better late than Never.

With an average rainfall of 18.29 inches per year, it is unlikely that you will get rained out in Honolulu. For comparison's sake, my hometown of Miami clocks in at 58.53. This was repeatedly pointed out to me, a couple of years ago, as I sat indoors watching it pour during the time that I should have been sipping mai tai's on a sunset sail.

I had done all of the the research before arriving on the island and had sold about a dozen people on the idea. Based on both their price ($30 including unlimited drinks) and excellent reviews, I had booked all of us aboard the Na Hoku II. On the given day, I had taken "it's only a passing cloud" as my infallible mantra. I may have done an anti-rain dance.  It did no good. In the end, we were all left sodden and minus one dazzling sunset (but not exactly thirsty, luckily, you can still get those mai tai's on land).