We spent a day in Tampa earlier this week, and did our best to find Tampa’s hidden gems. Almost every place we go has a few, although some are harder to find than others. I must admit, though, that 24 hours wasn’t enough for us to crack the code in Tampa.
We started our stay in Tampa by tracking down the Museum of Science and Industry. They had a fun exhibit outside that let you go in a wind chamber and experience the sensation of ever-escalating wind force, topping out at 75 mph (the bottom end of the range for category one). Given I’m reading a book on Katrina’s impact, that was an interesting experience.
This museum had one other interesting exhibit. It would take a digital photo of you, and then show what you’d look like at a much more advanced age. I didn’t do it, since I’m already at that advanced age! But Gibson and Sterling did. I told them both they’d better get married young, because they won’t be much of a catch by the time they’re 70 years old, if this museum’s software is at all predictive.
We then went to a restaurant (Guppy’s on the Beach) in Clearwater that I picked on the basis of strong reviews in Yelp. Not a winner. First, it’s not on the beach. Second, they promised us a table after an hour wait, and then gave it away. The best they could do was a table outside without space heaters, on a night when the temperature was in the low 40′s. The food could have been fabulous and we would have still been bummed. But we had to send two of the entrees back. Ouch!
To cap the evening, we swung by a Coldstone for ice cream, and brought our pig in (who is very fond of strawberry). Much to our surprise, even the people behind the counter were glad to meet her. When she ordered, though, she was disappointed they didn’t offer old discarded corn cobs as a mix-in.
We then returned to our elegant accommodations for the evening — A very basic La Quinta with the sole redeeming feature of accepting pigs as overnight guests. Thank you, Rosie. I couldn’t quite tell what the room smelled like, but haven’t quite been assaulted by such smells since using public restrooms in Beijing. One thing about traveling with a pig that’s a plus is the amount of money we’ve saved on hotel rooms. Since no place that charges over $79 per night will accept pigs, we’ve economized significantly on this trip.
On Sunday morning, we went to see the Yankees spring training workout. As passionate fans of the Red Sox, it’s a legitimate question as to why we’d purposely go to see the Yankees work out. And by the end of the day, I was asking myself the same thing. One highlight, though, was seeing Yogi Berra (left), famous for so many great quotes (“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” “It’s not over til it’s over.”)
As the to overall experience? Well, what could we expect from a franchise that charges its fans $2,500 for a regular season ticket? We arrived with signs everywhere saying “Gates Open at 10:00 a.m.” And security guards confirmed that gates would open then. So we, stupidly, believed them. And we waited in line, and waited, and waited. Well, they finally opened the gates at 11:00 a.m. I can’t tell you how painful that wait was. First, it’s a drag waiting in any line for well over an hour. But to be sandwiched in between a bunch of repulsive fans in the universe. Ugh! By the end of the day, the photo on the right best captures the way I feel about this baseball franchise.
We tried to give our pig a chance to take in the ambience. Everywhere we’ve gone on this trip, people have stopped and asked questions about her. Not with Yankees fans. They just ignored her, as though they are perfectly used to beong around pigs. Come to think of it . . .