It seemed like a long journey, with a baby screaming a few seats away and then a taxi driver who thought he was a rally driver. Speed limits are voluntary here apparently, for taxi drivers like him anyway. This disappeared once at the hotel. Alexander the Great Hotel in Paphos is already amongst my top 5 hotels.
Our last day in Florida. Yesterday we had an easy day with lunch and dinner out and the cinema in between. If you get the chance go and see The Book Thief, it was my favourite book of two years ago and the film is pretty good. Take a hanky or two.
Wanting to see some alligators we took a trip to the nearest state park. We saw some amazing birds and quite a few gators, but the boat trip on the lake was a bit of a disappointment because we couldn’t hear the guide above the engine.
There are so many ponds in Florida, even several on the golf course. All have alligators, snakes and turtles, so it is quite common to see them. People are advised not to walk on the golf course at night and not to get with 10 metres of a gator, but everyone takes it in their stride.
This coast of Florida wasn’t settled until the late 1860s and after. Our trip today took us south to Spanish Point settled by the Webb family who started off with orange groves and putting up guests for Winter. http://historicspanishpoint.org/. Before that there had been an Indian settlement which lasted a thousand years, based on fish and shellfish. An interesting tour and attractive place with a lovely cooling breeze off the water.
Then it was off to the marina in Sarasota with millionaires’ apartments and yachts, with dinner at Marina Jacks watching the sunset and listening to a good group. Another day in paradise. http://www.marinajacks.com/
Now on last leg of trip. The hire car has gone back, much to Richard’s relief as he hasn’t enjoyed driving on the wrong side. We are staying at our friends’ condo by the golf course. The temperature is 82 f and likely to stay that way until we go back. The rest of the USA is freezing again.
We overlook the second hole and today the Americans(in red) play the Brits (in white) in the Tara Ryder cup.
Lovely day today, a swim at the club pool after breakfast followed by a trip to Anna Maria Island off the coast but linked by a bridge. A walk down the pier to watch the fishermen, admiring the view of boats and pelicans and at the end and there was a singer / musician singing “Sitting at the dock of the bay.”
One fisherman caught a small flat fish, but before he could get it off the hook a 3 foot crane landed and took it off him. This crane has obviously decided to train men to catch his dinner.
The island is in some places no more than 100 yards wide but a thriving, picturesque holiday resort with many colourful houses and apartments. We finished the day off at the south end on the Gulf of Mexico watching dolphins and the sun setting. Fabulous.
Driving from the Atlantic coast to the Gulf coast. Stopped off in smart town of Kissimmee where Shirley and family lived before venturing north to Georgia and the Carolinas. Saw a guy all of 4ft 10 and 7 stone who was dressed like a sheriff. He had a walkie talkie, handcuffs, a truncheon and a gun, or was it real. His badge and cowboy hat looked as though it was from cowboy times. The strange thing was he was unshaven and looked like he was on day release.
Saw a real policeman later but didn’t like to ask him if the other guy was for real.
Then accosted by a guy who was bemoaning the state of America. He bent our ear for at least 30 minutes. There is so much angst and division here. I think one of the problems is that TV news is so partisan. There is no requirement for balance so Fox News spews out lies on the right while MSNBC ridicules the republicans and is on the left side of the Democrats.
But there is also general disgust at politicians from the local to the Federal. The guy on the street who had travelled all over the world believes the USA is now a third world country, worried sick for his family and the debt being built up.
Staying at our last motel but this one has a nice view, mostly it’s just car parks.
It’s so hot and humid here that it is uncomfortable to walk. I am beginning to think fondly of an English winter. There are Mosquitos and alligators to watch out for too. We noticed lots of fenced off ponds today and were not sure if they were to keep the gators in or out.
Wow! Awesome! Spectacular! What a good day! So much to do, see and experience. IMAX films of astronauts building the space station, a bus tour to the launch area of the Apollo rockets and a fabulous presentation about that. More about the shuttle programme and another presentation about the real shuttle Atlantis. Back to the IMAX for a film about the Hubble. Humbling.
At 5.30 pm after a full day we were directed to a grassy knoll to watch a real rocket launch, which just happened to be taking off at 5.40. ( Actually not a coincidence as I arranged it with friend in the pub last October—- Richard ).
Saw numerous alligators too.
See story of the launch we witnessed.