“Is it spring yet?” is the first thought on every New Yorker’s mind.
“I hate February,” is the second.
Slush, snow, gray, and rain to top it all off. This is New York City at its worst.
Get me the fuck out of here. Put me on a plane to a place with palm trees and beaches. Where I can drink a frozen beverage outside and then smoke a cigar. Let my legs, so long encased in long underwear, see the light of day. Oh, a girl can dream. Wait, airline ticket prices are low this time of year? One of my best friends just moved to Florida? This might actually happen?
You bet it happened. Rose, April, and I packed our bikinis, flip-flops, sunglasses and trudged through the snow to Laguardia Airport. We hopped on a plane, April’s first plane ride ever, and a few hours later landed in Tampa Bay.
What followed next were four of the most indulgent, enjoyable, and all-American days of my life.
The beach was our #1 priority. It never got quite warm enough for bikinis. But the sun did shine on our pasty northern skin! We looked like ghost next to Walter and beautifully bronzed skin.
It felt amazing to take my shoes off and feel the sand and the water. Luxury.
I would have flown here just for a 30 minute walk on the beach. It was what I needed. Now I’ll be able to make it to spring and still maintain sanity.
Did you know Hooters began in Florida? Did you know they paint cleavage on their sexy dolphin mascot here? Did you know I’d never been to Hooters before? I’ll probably never go again, unless I’m in Florida, but their wings aren’t half bad. Did you know they’ll replace your margarita if you spill the whole thing all over yourself?
This is the view Walter wakes up to every morning. Lucky bastard. The property has a private dock. It’s the perfect place for smoking cigars.
This is the first cigar I ever smoked. Walter killed all the old men gabbing outside the cigar shop when he walked in with us ladies in tow. We got the girliest cigars they had: mojito and vanilla flavored. We sat on the dock, our legs dangling over the water, puffing our cigars and watching pelicans fly pass and searching for dolphins. Spotted one! It looked nothing like the Hooters representative above.
We considered going to Disney World, but after consulting out bank balances, opted for the Florida State Fair instead.
An Alligator Show! These guys were great. The alligator was lethargic in the cloudy, 60° weather. If I had left Florida without seeing a gator, I would’ve been disappointed. The little girl they got as a volunteer who’s sitting on the alligator there? She was hilarious.
Remember all the food from when I worked at the New York State Fair? (Here’s the post if you don’t.) Well it’s the same scene in Florida. Except this time no one was working, we were on vacation. I ate a corn dog and loved it. But that was nothing. Rose and Walter each tried a donut burger. That’s a burger with one glazed donut as the top bun, and another glazed donut as the bottom bun.
April and I
looked on in horror cheered them on. The jaded New Yorker in me says I went to Florida and got mouth cancer (from the cigars) and elevated cholesterol! Oh, and a gambling problem!
I told you this vacation was the most all-American thing I’ve ever done! Yep. This was my first time at a casino. I played the slots for the first time and lost five dollars.
Really, we went to Florida and had a blast. I’ve never had a real American vacation! It was high time! It was so amazing to get away from the snow. It was great to see Walter and how he’d making his life post-NYC. I guess there are other places in the world one can live, I guess I can understand why he moved away. I mean, dolphins from your backyard! It was with heavy hearts (and heavy stomachs) that we returned to NYC. We ended our vacation sharing a slice of key lime pie while waiting for our flight to board. It was back to the snow and cold. At least now we know Florida is only 1,009 short miles away!