Hot White Beach with No Shade

Driving towards Sanibel Island on causeway.
Driving towards Sanibel Island on causeway.

On the Saturday driving south from Saint Petersburg you continued south of Naples and Fort Myers to Sanibel Island.

Should you consider returning think about these things probably forgot about:

  1. There is no shade on the beach. No Shade. Bring an umbrella or tent.
  2. What looks like sand are shells. The entire shoreline is a rock of sea shells. You can walk with you shoes on the shore is so solid.
  3. The sea shells are the common kind. They are everywhere and it seems that the shells reproduce.
  4. The sand is white and there is no shade and the water reflects the sun amplifying the light. It is a very bright place to be. Bring the darkest sunglasses you can find.
  5. The water is very shallow and the sand is fine and muddy. You can walk 40 meters from the shore and still have the water at knee length.
  6. If you rent a bicycle, then wear a moisture dissipating shirt. You will sweat.
  7. Don’t expect to find well known restaurants outside of 7-11 and Dairy Queen though there was a pizza and Mexican food restaurant.

There was a ting of, I don’t know, something with the people. Like sand in your food. You don’t see it, but you know it’s there because you can taste it.

Not one picture of the beach. Biked to four beach access points. Entered the water at two. Spent a total of three to four hours in Sanibel Island then left.

Google Maps Route Out of Sanibel Island
Screenshot of iPhone with Google Maps navigation leaving Sanibel Island.

Saint Pete to Meet Dali and Watch Baseball

Hi you in the future. This was the Friday and Saturday (July 10-11) road trip from Coral Springs to Saint Petersburg to re-visit The Dali Museum and watch a baseball game. It was a lone trip and you were not embarrassed. Only you for thoughts, conversation, opinion, and entertainment. One can be alone.

Packed bag and lunch the morning of drive to Saint Petersburg.
Packed bag and lunch on passenger seat the morning of drive to Saint Petersburg.

So you didn’t leave at 5:30am on Friday like you wanted and instead left at little before 8am. It wasn’t inconvenient until the detour on Alligator Ally through Immokalee, a place you have never been.

The east coast Florida highways have more trees and greenery than the west it seems.

Only until you crossed the bridges, especially the highest bridge with the yellow suspension cables extending diagonally down that from afar seem like a golden spike, that you accepted that Saint Petersburg is a peninsula. Because of the earlier detour you didn’t arrive before noon. You arrived at the museum at 3pm though you entered Saint Pete by noon, but decided to eat a Publix veggie sub at a public park the size of one city block exactly. The park was nice enough and many people were sitting down on blankets. Parked on the street and slide coins in the meter. It became noticeable that those people where the city’s homeless. With the homeless spread across the park the non-homeless stayed clear. You were part of the homeless scene.

Looking up at The Dali Museum entrance.
Looking up at The Dali Museum entrance.

The first visit to The Dali Museum was on another road trip several years before with an ex-high school girlfriend not longer after your separation. The museum was smaller, but still there. I remember the very large paintings and the white pajama shaped dress she wore with black heels; thought it was too much. So a new three story museum was build in the same spot as the old. Three floors, but only the third floor for exhibition where the concrete spiral staircase leads. And so Dali and you were together again.

Let the others go in order and view each painting one after another like a doctor evaluating patient x-rays. No, you, you zagged when they zigged, went up when they went down. Leave the gallery and return later and view the paintings in reverse. Randomly jump without fear or thought from one to another. You drove the museum security nuts! They saw you multiple times. And again in circles. What must’ve they thought? There’s a crazy.

Three Young Surrealist Woman Holding in Their Arms the Skins of an Orchestra.
Close up of Three Young Surrealist Woman Holding in Their Arms the Skins of an Orchestra.

Dali ordered the gallery closed at 5:30.

Later that day after sofritas at Chipotle you drove for 10min to find a parking spot near Tropicana Field that wasn’t $15 expensive. Even $10 was too much and so you found one lot for $5. Turns out it was a city lot and that is why it was the least expensive the attendant explained and congratulated you for saving five dollars. So you parked there and walked the few minutes to the stadium.

Third base line and field post in Tropicana Field during game.
Third base line and field post in Tropicana Field during game.

Ten dollars was the cheapest ticket and you sat at the 300 level in the last of the last seats behind the outfield next to the electronic display boards. There was a tank full of sting rays below a board. A tank full sting rays?! The seats were aluminum benches just like the bleachers you find in high school gymnasiums. It was an indoor stadium and you were thankful for that because the heat was strong and you just wanted to sit and watch and clap for the home team a little. Final score Tampa Rays 3, Houston Astros 1.

And then around 10pm it was back to the bedroom you rented in Amy’s house not far from the stadium.

Any Why Not the Country?

English garden at Cummer Museum in Jacksonville, FL
English garden at Cummer Museum in Jacksonville, FL

Open space and grass and heavy speaking drawl and trucks and jeeps. This is the Florida country. Every visit welcomes me just a little more.

There’s a likeness that bleeds from the nicer neighborhoods covering the lesser ones like a blanket making everything and all areas look nice. One balances the other.

On the fourth visit I arrive at the determination that Jacksonville like all cities or towns has a nicer and lesser areas. This is a step up from my original thought that this it was all just a large back swamp country brush lacking culture. A visit to the Cummer Art Museum and Gardens helped change my perception. And when I say ‘nicer neighborhood’ I really mean the Riverside neighborhood in which the museum resides with grand porches of late 20th century homes and willow trees bordering St. John’s River. A very quiet and southern feel.

And with this feeling of casting off city life do I wonder if life can be equally enjoyable in the country. Trade urbanism for nature, subway for motorway.

What kind of legacy do you create?

What kind of friends do you have?

What kind of family do you build?

What career do you toil at?

These visits to see my sister have been pattern forming; same activities followed by same thoughts of what is she doing here. There is little to say. Spend the time driving from store to store buying her things; groceries, cosmetics, blankets, just whatever comes to mind. In exchange for my troubles I’m allowed a visit to a museum to wander unsupervised.

Peach at 32,008 Foot Altitude


She exemplifies youth. A stewardess trainee. Young hopeful eager. Straight teeth. Freckles and light peach hair. Longer than shoulder length and I could tell she took care of it. Strong and full. Well brushed. I observed her starting from a few rows ahead after being awakened by a captain interruption about weather or other. Coffee. Cream and sugar? Yes. She dropped one thin rectangular sugar pack tracing it’s fall with her head. Her hair recoiling. She reached for a replacement. Three in all and I used each one. I felt pleasure in her serving me coffee. Admiration that she’s a stewardess. Unattached happiness for her that she was right there on the plane where she was. Wished her the best in life. Was glad that I’d seen her and accidentally touched her wrist with my finger as she handed me the warm cup.

And she being the first interesting person of the day. Maybe the only.

What am I doing, loveless?

Drink that coffee up. A long day ahead. Worrying about wrinkling your clothes is nonsense. Everyone knows you’ve debarked a plane that morning but still they could wonder, as I do, why those wrinkles are there.

Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier

Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier
Clear skies in Jacksonville Beach on the fishing pier.

A typical beach town. Continue north of Jacksonville Beach and experience Atlantic Beach and go a bit further for Neptune Beach. Beach town, cruising, people out walking, everyone wearing sunglasses just enjoying.

HELLO Vancouver!!!! Muwah.

A open-armed ‘HELLO’ I said to Vancouver at the end of April during my first visit. Three thousand plus miles and an easy 13 hour travel from Fort Lauderdale to Houston to San Francisco to (finally!) Vancouver. The time difference helped, but still arrived in the late afternoon. A combination of mountains, ocean, and influences from native peoples, British and French make Vancouver unique and nearly downright cozy. The drive from the airport was largely on one single road traversing everything reaching downtown. Too vain and afraid to look like the first time Vancouver visitor that I truly was the occult video is all I could manage. Observe the bridge the approaching tallness of the city. HELLO Vancouver.

The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Very nice. Complaints were made by a few people in the group I joined. I witnessed the complaints and luckily couldn’t join; my room was fantastic. Loved every minute of being the room. The details were everywhere. More than once out loud I’d say “I could live here.” and many more times I silently thought the same. Sure, the room had old world charm what with the wood flooring, the large windows, the heavy wooden doors with brass doorknobs, the very high ceilings, top and bottom moldings – everything just fit nicely and cleaning – a symphony of decor. Room 1209 with a view of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Perfect.

Room 1209 The Fairmont Vancouver
Room 1209 The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Art Gallery View Room 1209 The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Art Gallery view from room 1209 at The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.

Sadly, the visit to Vancouver was work related, but desperately snuck off like a night bandit for a bit of exploring. Yes, I politely ditched some co-workers. The nearest museum is a must explore. Read somewhere, I don’t remember where or when, that the museum is a barometer of the city. This law of travel has never proven wrong. And a wonderful and grand museum the Vancouver Art Gallery is. Just look at the building’s architecture! What a crowd outside on the steps and in the outdoor cafe and in the admission line. On a Tuesday!? A promising sign even if admission was by donations only. A $15 donation can make anyone feel like a real benefactor of the arts especially compared to the $1 donation of other chaps. On exhibition: Myfanwy Macleod Or There and Back Again.

Main Entrance of Vancouver Art Gallery
Main Entrance of Vancouver Art Gallery.
Rotunda Stairs Vancouver Art Gallery
Rotunda stairs leading to second floor in Vancouver Art Gallery.

Yes, the inside just as impressive. A  pleasurable layout and environment. You just want to be there. All. Day. Four floors. From the first floor enter and up the stone stairs of the rotunda. Take the escalator up to floors three and four. But aaahhh, no photography except for in the rotunda. They don’t seem confident. Let’s ask someone else. “Excuse me. Is photography allowed?” “No, sir.” A blank look. Turn and walk away. But I like taking pictures in museums. It was for the best that I not. Old habits triumphed with a cinematography-esque clip.

With a dinner promise to co-workers weighing on me, I left after a much too brief 90 minutes of therapy. Approximately mid-50s and clear skies made the walk to a restaurant called simply “C” on the water’s edge bliss. And boy did arrive quickly as the video can attest to my quick step walking pace.

And some de rigueur pictures of the flight. In San Francisco en route to Vancouver.

Right Wing of Plan on San Francisco Tarmac
Right Wing of Plan on San Francisco Tarmac
Window Seat Floor After Landing in San Francisco
Window Seat Floor After Landing in San Francisco

Day 4, 5, 6, 7 of 7 – Back to Toronto for the First Time

So yeah, this hasn’t gone very well. And this post experienced a mighty delay. But in any case sometimes it just must happen even if out of sight and out of mind. Next time I’ll be more consistent in posting, but right now I feel guilty for not doing this earlier as I had planned. So anyway, the final days of this trip were pretty good. The highlight was a visit to the Royal Ontario Museum. Separate post for that and hopefully not too delayed.

Here are some random picks for the last few days there. Good luck.

Two root beer or rancinette aluminium cans
Free pop at the office. Had my fill of root beer.
Dirty snow on side of road.
Neatly piled snow on side of road.
Hilton Garden Inn coffee cup to go
Walk from hotel to office showing off with coffee cup in hand
Striding with right foot in the snow.
Right foot stride wearing gray corduroy pants and dark brown leather shoes in snow.
Walking out of bar called Arizona near the office with heavy snow.
Walking out of bar called Arizona near the office with heavy snow.

Day 3 of 7 – Back to Toronto for the First Time

Update: Life has been busy and just now publishing this long delayed post.

Day two and events were as expected. Finally worked from the office today though not before walking through snow and ice from the hotel to office building; roughly half a mile. I could feel each snowflake land on my face, hair, and eyelashes. Attacked. And don’t expect keeping your shoes clean. The ice and snow and slush simply take them over.

Never having lived in cold weather I still am not over my initial expectation of feeling exceedingly cold. Fact is, it feels nice.

Turn Around and See How Far You've Come Through the Snow
From hotel to office building. Hotel in far left with glass windows. Footprints on right.