Monday, May 17, 2010

... travelled down the road and back again...

I'm back from Florida, and am glad to be here. Four days is long enough for me to revel in the luxury of hotel-and-restaurant life, without getting terribly homesick for Chad and the kids. You can only eat so many giant Gulf shrimp before you suspect that there is a petroleum tang to them. (No signs of the oil slick in this part of the Gulf yet, but the fear in the area is palpable.)

Coconut Point is nice, but it's not a place I would recommend that a friend go and visit. It really was mostly retirement communities all around us. On the flight home, they came over the loudspeaker as we taxied up to the gate to say it would take some time to deplane as there were 18 wheelchairs that needed to be removed. The flight was full of geriatrics, including a lovely couple with houses in Florida, Michigan and Boston who were travelling with a dog under the seat. Imagine spending three hours listening to this in an elderly Boston Rob Mariano voice: "I had to pay a hunnred and twennyfive dollahs for her to go under a seat!"The conference itself was great, but my one complaint was not having much time to myself for the entire week. This is what happens when you travel as a group. There were four of us who went down together plus another person from our office who we met there, and the group stuck together pretty tight. That is how I wound up on this bird-watching expedition when I would rather have been at the pool with my book.We wound up at the bird sanctuary past closing time and they wouldn't let us in, so we took a stroll down the country road instead. Wouldn't you know it... we ran into that harbinger of Florida wildlife, the alligator.There he is.This was all very cool and apropos until the guy in the blue shirt started throwing sticks at the alligator, and the alligator snapped its jaws at us. I was not amused. I mean, this thing was in a ditch at the side of the road - no electric fence or plexiglas between us. The guy in the blue shirt doesn't have kids at home he'd like to return to... maybe that's the difference between us. Or maybe I am just getting crotchety in my old age.The experience didn't stop me from buying Liam a real alligator head in the hotel gift shop. In fact, our entire group brought them back for our little boys. We had 5 of them in the van with us as we crossed the border into Canada. I can only imagine what customs would have thought of us had they searched the van. (We were pretty sure they were legal, but not 100%.) Mallory got a much prettier, much less expensive starfish that she is equally enamored with.Speaking of Mallory, she had a great time at home with her dad, as did Liam. Liam did not go through the same separation anxiety that he suffered when I was away last fall... thank goodness. Next year's conference is in Napa Valley, and I'm hoping to be able to attend again, with a clear conscience.


Dawn said...

enjoy the Lost finale!!