Saturday, August 11, 2007

Fun in the Sun in Tampa!!!!

I have worked on putting this blog together for the last four days. Sorry if it seems choppy........

Let me start by saying I had a blast!!!!

My flight to Florida was nice, other than the fact that I had a three hour lay-over in Chicago on the way. I was bored, and scared to fall asleep for fear of missing my plane, so I just wandered around O'hare for awhile. By the time I landed, it was early evening. John had been circling the airport waiting on me because my flight was a little late.

Once we found eachother, it was time for the fun to begin!!! We went back to John's house and decided we needed to go out to eat. I can't remember the name of the restaurant, but it was REALLY good!! I actually found a type of sushi that I liked pretty well. It was called "Temupra Bagel." It had batter on the outside and had been fried briefly, so it was little warm. I think that was the key in me liking it. The cold stuff freaks me out a little :-) Being the tourist, I had to take a picture of it.........It was beautiful!!!
We met up with a friend of John's named Megan, and she went out to eat with us. After dinner, we went to a little Irish bar called "Four Green Fields." When we got there, another friend of John's, Greg, met up with us. I had also called my friend Mike Guimont to meet us there. He is one of my dearest friends, and has been living in Tampa far almost two years. This was the first time I had seen him in almost a year. So, it was really nice to have some time to catch up with him.
This is after a couple drinks, so you'll see me cheesin' quite a bit in most of these pictures....he he he. The tall guy in the back is Greg, and Guimont is on the right.
This is John's friend Megan. We hit it off right off the bat. She was a lot of fun.John, myself, and Guimont. It was so good seeing them both!!!!!

After we left the bar, we all went back to John's house for awhile and had a few more drinks. It turned out to be a late night. But, it was a FUN late night!!!!

Saturday, John and I decided to try out this indoor rock climbing place he had heard about. It was pretty cool. I just wish we could have climbed higher. We didn't take the class to use the ropes, so we were only allowed to climb to this orange line they had taped up on the wall. It really didn't seem high enough, so we cheated a little in the easy spots and went past it. There weren't many easy spots though. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I have no idea how those people do that. Oh yeah....and the shoes they made us wear were NASTY!!!!! But, we still enjoyed it. It was something that neither one of us had ever done before, so it was kinda cool.

After our little rock climbing trip, we went back to John's to get cleaned up and start another fun filled night. We went to a restaurant on the water called Rattlefish. It was really nice. We sat outside and watched all the rich people and talked about them. It was fun. There were a couple guys playing live music. Nothing fancy, but it's always nice to have live music in the background. They did play some Def Leppard, and I was laughing at John because he was mocking their one-armed drummer through part of it. That's definitely one thing I did a lot of while I was there....LAUGH!!!!

We went back to John's after dinner and just hung out together for the night. We made balloon animals, or I guess I should say we TRIED to make balloon animals for a little while. It was hilarious. John got one looking pretty close to a dog. "Perty close, but not plum," as my dad would say:-) A couple of them popped while we were twisting them around, and of course, I screamed like a little girl. I just wonder what his landlord was thinking. Poor guy. He has been away for the last few months, and this was his first weekend back. We probably kept him up all night.....oops.......

At about midnight, we decided we were hungry again, and John fixed a second dinner for me. He is a great cook!!! You should all pay attention when he sends his recipes. That boy knows what he's doing!!!! He fixed blackened salmon steaks for us. That was definitely my favorite meal while I was there. Not just because it was free either!!!! It was delicious!!!

The next day was Sunday. My last full day there. John bought himself a kayak not too long ago, and wanted me to go kayaking with him. So, we went to Fort Desoto beach and I rented a kayak. It was a lot of fun. John gave me a quick lesson in paddling, and we were on our way. It took me awhile to get the hang of it. John had to keep slowing down and waiting on me....sorry Cuz!!! We were in a really nice area with lots of nature all around us. It was absolutely gorgeous!! We floated up near some egrets and sat and watched them for a little while. I just thought they were cranes. A little further into our trip we saw a manatee. Holy cow!!!! THAT was amazing!!! I can't say I've ever encountered an endangered species anywhere besides the zoo. Here is a picture of what a manatee looks like. Obviously, I didn't take this:Isn't he cute?!?! They are not dangerous to humans, so it was really cool to be able to sit and watch it as it swam around us. There was nothing scary about it at all. Every once in awhile you would see a big flat surface rise out of the water. That was his back coming up. It was so big that I probably could park my car on it. We saw it's back fin pop out a couple times too. It was pretty exciting.
That's me...floundering around in my kayak :-)
Here's John posing for a pic.............he he heWe stopped on a sandbar to get out and walk around for a few minutes. I was expecting to see some sting rays, and was actually a little nervous about getting stung by one, but I never had any problems. The water here was hotter than normal bath water. It was crazy.
This is John's kayak. His was much prettier than mine :-)
These are the egrets that we stopped next to for awhile.

Kayaking was definitely one of my favorite parts of my trip. I love being outside and seeing nature all around me. This was a little different than hanging out on the beach like I usually do in Florida. I loved every minute of it!!!!

By the time we finished our kayak trip, we had been out for almost four hours. I didn't realize how sore my arms were until the next morning. Between kayaking and rock climbing, I got a decent amount of exercise while I was on vacation. My arms felt like jello for a couple days. But it was SOOOO worth it!!!!

That night, John took me to Ybor City. It's kind of a little party town not too far fromTampa. There were several little artsy shops, and a few expensive clothing stores down there. We ate dinner at a pretty nice brewery. We ate some coconut shrimp, which was delicious, and conch fritters for our appetizers. The conch fritters were awesome!!! I'm really glad we ate so much seafood while I was there. Normally, I'm not a big fan, but I ate some really good food while I was down there this time. Again, the salmon steaks were by far the best meal I had.

Here's John sitting outside the reastaurant in Ybor City.
This was the best I could do picture-wise at night with my cheap little digi cam. Ybor City in all it's glory..................

After we ate dinner at the brewery, we went back to John's house and started burning CD's from his computer. I think I came home with close to forty new Cd's to listen to. I'm going alphabetically, and I'm still on "B."
In between burning some of the CD's, we decided it was our last chance to get a quick drum lesson in. John played some really "nasty" stuff as he would say :-) He has a child's size drum set in his living room. His real drum set is all in cases in the corner. It was a lot of fun to hear him play again. It's been a long time. He let me sit down and gave me a little lesson on the basics. It was so much fun. We tried to keep an eye out for his neighbor coming home. We didn't want to keep him up all night again. John gave me an acronym to remember some important things about playing the drums. CRUF: C- be Confident, R- Relax, U- elbow Up, F- wrist Flat. Now, if I only had a drum set to actually practice all that. I finished off the last bottle of wine that I had bought the first night I got while we played drums and burned CD's all night long. It seemed like we got a lot done that last night I was there, but there was still so much left to do. I guess I'll just have to go back sometime soon :-)
This is the last picture of John and me together. I think it's pretty obvious that we had both finished off a few drinks by then.......................... he he he................................... Check out the cheeseburger in the background. I think we have Craig S. to thank for that. I'm pretty sure that is right out of Steak and Shake. Looks pretty authentic to me!!

I had to get up at about 9:00 to get ready to catch my plane. That was a little earlier than I would have liked to get up, but I caught a nap on the plane on the way to North Carolina. I had a lay-over in Charlotte. It was only supposed to be an hour, but it turned into a three hours by the time I got out of there. On the way out of Charlotte, I took a couple pictures from the plane and decided to take a nap. I landed in Indy about two hours late, but luckily, I had gotten ahold of my friend who was picking me up so she wouldn't have to wait too long. After meeting up with them, I went back to their house to pick up my car and Delilah. They took care of her for the weekend so Ryan would have one less dog to deal with while he was working on the house.

It was great to get home, and especially to sleep in my own bed again. But, I had a wonderful time, and I can't wait to go back!!!!!


s-hooks said...

Oh lawdy!! That last picture of the two of you has me crackin' up!!

Doesn't he look like a MAN with his shirt off?!! JEESH! Who is he & what has he done with my brother?!!?

I am sooo glad you could go down and visit with him! If he's still there in a couple years when my babies are a little bigger I want to go see him too.

And I know he'd love to have anyone in the fam to visit if they can.

KellyAnn said...


enN2sp said...

Love the swim trunks. . . Nice BIG pink flowers!

Looks & sounds like you had the time of your life. I've never been to Florida. Just Texas, Padre Island, and Mexico.

s-hooks said...

Yep, those are some big pink flowers! :) Someone is secure with his manliness!!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad my pink flower shorts were a hit. Oh, the sushi is called a "Bagel Tempoura". It has cucumber, salmon & cream cheese. The other is a "volcano". It's cold veggie sushi with bright avocado on the top...then crab meat is sort of poured over the top! Freakin wish we had a couple more days too, cuz. Bless you for coming down here. It was SO nice to have some family here. SOMEONE ELSE IN THE FAM COME DOWN & SEE ME! I won't be down here forever. JB

Andrea said...

Is that "man body" man the same kid that was embarrassed when I was folding his underwear when I babysat him and Sarah?????

Looks like a great time!!! I guess we need to venture down to Tampa while we still have a cuz livin' there!!!!!!!!

s-hooks said...

Ha ha ha!! That's funny!

s-hooks said...

Dang, you fold underwear?

We put ours on straight outta the dryer!!! Ha ha ha!!!!

HAY! At least it's been washed.


Andrea said...

Rich thinks I'm crazy for folding underwear, but I like to see nice folded stacks of stuff. I even fold socks together.

Am I crazy? Maybe a little OCD?

enN2sp said...

No your not crazy, I fold B's underwear and everyone elses as well and socks. All ways have.

I said I liked your trunks, takes a REAL DUDE to wear pink at all!

alli-gal said...

I don't fold my underwear, but I do fold Ryans......boxers seem easier to fold.

And, I wasn't a big fan of the "volcano" sushi....I think the crab Meat is what got me.....not a big fan.........

You guys really should try to go see John while he's still down there.

He's a great host, and knows about a lot of fun stuff to do. We probably could have styed busy for another week!!!

Andrea said...

I love your new blog pic AlliGal! Too cute!!!!!

enN2sp said...

Yeah, Great Graphics! I could barely see that is way you. Where did you do that?

almost went to grammy's last night but guess who didn't want to "I have no gas to come get you". Just love it when he forgets that I have my drivers license.

alli-gal said...

I got that taken at The Vogue at the Black Keys show. They had a booth set up for people to get their pictures taken, but the deal had to sign off all your rights to the photo, and they can use it for all their advertising for their tour. It's on a website from their tour now. It was lots of fun. i was bouncing all over the place in this big cardboard box with a city scene in the background. it didn't look anything like the picture turned out!!!!

ccb said...

Hi. Just a money saving tip if you're going to Tampa. If you’re going to visit Tampa, check out They have some really good discount rates for Tampa tours. They have the best tour and attraction rates (at least from what I could tell).