Listen. This is going to be long, so just take a break out of your day, enjoy your favourite hot beverage, and stay with me. I know everybody has no time for anything more than quick blurbs these days, but I have so much to share with all y'all!
So! How is everyone? How have you guys been? I just got back from Florida yesterday around dinner time. When I left it was warm and balmy, and this morning I awoke to FREEZING COLD TEMPS! Whilst walking the kids to school this morning, it was so cold I actually wished I'd worn my scarf. Is that depressing?! Well, a little, so let's transport ourselves back to Florida, shall we?
The trip begins in the dark and cold...
Wednesday, 1:30 AM
The airbus is coming to pick my sis and I up between 2:20 and 2:40 AM to get us to the Buffalo airport for our 7 AM flight. Yes, that's right. It's coming to pick us up ridiculously early.
Is this ever a good way to start a vacation? For the record, it is very, very, very difficult to gag down a ham and cheese sandwich and a yogurt at this hour. The body protests. It screams:
I DON'T EAT AT THIS TIME. I SLEEP AT THIS TIME.
Shut up body: you won't get to eat until that awful airport food court opens at 5 AM
Airbus arrives ten minutes early and off we go! Last year, we had to pick up several people, and so we made it to the airport by 4 AM. This year, however, I am HORRIFIED as I realise we are hurtling along, on a DIRECT COURSE for the airport. We will arrive there by THREE IN THE FREAKING MORNING. OH DEAR GOD, WE HAVE FOUR HOURS TO KILL BEFORE OUR FLIGHT.
Somehow time passes and we manage to stumble around until that food court opens.
By the way--go to your local McDonk's, and thank them for how they've PERFECTED that egg/sausage muffin sandwich, because the version that the food court was serving up? Guh-ross. One hour later I burped up pure acid.
Anyhoo, sister kept commenting on how surly the employees at the breakfast thingy were. Yeah well, it looks like they have to start every day at FOUR, then fry up bacon and sausages and shit for an hour, they probably get a total garbage wage, and every morning have to face travelers standing there staring at them, chomping at the bit until they open.
Does this sound fun to you?
Finally it's time to get on the plane! Oh but wait, they've boarded all the other rows that are supposed to go up first: the people with small children, the premium jerks who paid for extra leg room, the elderly people who are motoring off to Florida in their wheel chairs, and so all the rest of us common shlumps are waiting to get on the plane when buddy says;
"I'm sorry everyone, looks like there's going to be a slight delay. I've just been informed that they have to RESET THE CONTROL PANEL, BY TURNING IT OFF AND ON AGAIN. So, it'll take a few minutes before you can board. Sorry about that folks! Thanks for your patience!"
And then he disappears for a bit.
My sister, who has barely been keeping it together since we lined up, is crumbling faster than a house of cards in a stiff breeze. She is MASSIVELY, MONSTROUSLY, SUFFOCATINGLY terrified of flying.
Why? Why are we always tested. Is the plane just going to STOP WORKING in mid air? WTF.
All is well, it's time to board. As we're walking down the portable ramp/hallway, sister is crumbling and starting to cry. I had to keep her in line.
Me: "NOT HERE! Wait till you get in your seat!"
Sis: "I'm trying!!!"
Me: "try harder! You CAN DO IT! WAIT FOR YOUR SEAT!!!"
So, she sweated through her clothes, and hugged my arm, and any other thing near her for dear life, but we made it! Me? I was all excited kid with my face pressed to the window.
Highlights of the plane: Jet Blue Airlines is a nice plane that is NOT too crampy on leg room. Plus, you get your choice of lots of free snacks and drinks, AND they have a tv you can plug your headphones into. We somehow had the luck to find a station that was playing back to back episodes of the Millionaire Matchmaker, which I secretly LURV. SCORE!
|GET THE F*CK OUT OF MY CLUB!|
We're here! There's Dad! Aw! Big hugs for Dad! Whoa, Dad...what the hell is with your hair? I know you've been chillin' for a month, but the Einstein look is NOT in...
Palm trees! Flowers! GREEN EVERYWHERE! Oh! It's so warm! CURSE YOU, HUSBAND FOR ADVISING ME TO WEAR THIS LONG SLEEVE SHIRT! We change into flip flops! Feel that tropical breeze! Now let's hop into dad's van and away we go! Off to BONITA SPRINGS!
|suck it Canada: it's actually WARM HERE..oh wait,|
it was stupid warm when we left too...
The condo is awesome!
actually...the penthouse is overrated. You can't walk up
to the 5th floor a million times for cocktails. Something to consider.
|pic I grabbed from the net|
The view of the bay from the screened in LANAIS (not a f*cking porch, people. It's a lanais) is fantastic! It's all wonderful but...
I feel weird.
I haven't slept in hours and hours.
I'm...I'm so tired.
Wait..I think I'm not fun anymore!
I no longer feel fun.
I NO LONGER KNOW HOW TO HAVE FUN.
Eat some American Raisin Bran, which is shockingly BRAN-Y, and collapse on the bed and pass out until...
HOT DOGS, YO! I FREAKING LOVE HOTDOGS.
Time to hit the pool!
Here are some highlights from the rest of the trip:
Okay, there's something y'all might be aware of already. It's a travel phenomenon that occurs when there's too many hours spent in the same pair of underpants, too many hours being sweaty on an airplane, too many trips to airport washrooms, and a sudden change in climate to someplace much, much warmer than you were previously accustomed to:
I'm not going to go into too much detail, but my god-- the smell of one's steamy, tropical travel undergitch! OH right! Don't look at me with that self-righteous face. As if you haven't sniffed your own gitch before.
Anyhow, I've learned that despite all my best efforts, and general rabid need to be clean and smell fantastic, and despite my obsession with body washes, scented lotions and other accoutrements of smellgoodness, I stink. And, it would appear that while I travel, I piss my pants a little bit every time I go to the can.
Men, I'm guessing you suffer from this too. I would like to offer up a name for you guys as well, so you don't feel left out. I've just thought of it now: TROPICA-SAK. You're welcome.
I share this horrible story with you, because you may have experienced this yourself, and felt unnecessary shame.
You are not alone, my friend. You are NOT alone.
There really is no segue from jungle crotch to food, but whatevs.
The first day we ate dinner at Bahama Breeze in Fort Myers, which is not too far away from where we were staying in Bonita Beach, in Florida terms. In regular human city terms, it's retardedly far, and the traffic is sooo stoopid you can't even BELIEVE that anyone wants to live here or RETIRE HERE. I mean, MY GOD, EVERY ROAD FEELS LIKE AN EIGHT LANE HIGHWAY FOR CRAP'S SAKE. HOW CAN YOU PEOPLE STAND IT? HOW?!?
Bahama Breeze Restaurant
As I was saying, we went to Bahama Breeze. I HIGHLY recommend, that if you're ever in the Florida area, you GO THERE. No, you don't CONSIDER GOING THERE, you go there. We went there last year, and we went this year and I ate the same damn thing twice because it is THAT FREAKING GOOD.
How good is it?
It is the best meal I have ever eaten in a restaurant. In fact, it may be one of the best things I've eaten PERIOD.
Okay karen, so what did you eat?
We started the meal with THIS:
"Our guests' favorite! Crispy large shrimp hand-breaded with sweet flaky coconut, with our delicious citrus-mustard dipping sauce. "
Oh, freaking YUM. Best dipping sauce ever. But it's the main course that has burned its way into my brain forever.
And it is.....THIS:
|pic grabbed from their menu|
Buttermilk Fried Chicken
"Buttermilk-marinated chicken breasts, lightly seasoned and golden-fried, layered with spinach, tomatoes and melted cheese. With garlic mashed potatoes, lemon butter sauce and black bean roasted corn salsa."
So picture this most amazing, delicious, crispy, crunchy breaded chicken breast--no--two--sitting atop THE most delicious garlic mashed potatoes you've ever had, and circling them is this absolutely gorgeous salsa with just a hint of cilantro.
Then you take a bite with the chicken, the potatoes and the salsa all at once. Then you pass out for a bit. You actually wish your stomach were the size of a garbage bag so you could eat the whole thing, but alas, you abandon half your taters, and take that other breaded chicken breast home in a little container for an awesome lunch the next day.
I enjoyed this meal with a pina colada! DOPE.
Extreme Riders ~ The Cruzin' Cafe
As we were clipping up and down Bonita Beach Road, dad had spotted a sign that boasted the best sandwiches "in the world." Well that's intriguing, right?? Who wouldn't want to see if that sandwich lived up to the claim!
So, we headed to this Biker's shop/cafe for lunch one day. And damn, that was a fine, fine sandwich.
First I started off with an ice tea.
Totally forgot that in most parts of the U.S., your ice tea shows up SHOCKINGLY UNSWEETENED. It's a disgusting drink without sugar, but I felt virtuous over all the calories I was saving.
From the list of yummy sandwiches, I chose "The Ducati". My dad tells me that a Ducati is some sort of Italian motorcyle, but blah, blah, blah, GIRL BRAIN, BORING, that kind of went in one ear and out the other.
The Ducati SANDWICH however, is a masterful creation of fresh mozzarella, tomato, and olive tapenade topped with some lovely marinated salad greens on a crisp ciabatta roll. YUM. See that? It was also vegetarian friendly.
It came with a generous pile of corn chips, and your choice of homemade coleslaw or homemade potato salad. Well, coleslaw sucks ass, so I decided to take a gamble on the potato salad. AND IT WAS DELICIOUS. It was zippy and not all bland and gluey, and it had THE most important thing in it to transcend a potato salad from good to awesome: dill pickle bits.
Don't try to tell me I'm wrong. You know a good potato salad is better with pickle bits.
We loved our sandwiches so much, we had to compliment the chef, who actually came out personally to ask how everything was. It was such a unique, delicious, different sandwich, and the mannequin in the shop front, sporting the assless leatherchaps, bootie shorts, and tight t-shirt, had the biggest nopples of any shop mannequin I'd ever seen.
Thus, I would HIGHLY recommend that if you're there, you grab a sandwich at the Cruzin Café!
The Fish House Restaurant
|we ate there!|
Stuff to See
Okay, so Bonita Springs isn't exactly CRAM PACKED with stuff to do, and the biggest problem of where we were staying was that there was next to NOTHING within walking distance. Because, I love to walk. I love to stroll up and down the road to get a feel for where I'm staying, and see what kind of fun the town has to offer.
Within walking distance, there was one typical beach shop/tourist trap, a 7-Eleven, and a neat shop that sold every kind of seashell you can imagine.
Honestly--the driving everywhere thing gets super old super fast. I mean, you just want a freaking container of milk, and to get to Publix, it's like 15 minutes up the road and a total pain in the ass.
We were close to some really fun places,
Dig this write-up from the same website:
Nestled within the islands of Southwest Florida is a tropical oasis known for its
impeccable beauty and amazing wildlife. Escape to an intriguing island getaway where dreams become reality.
like Hell YEAH! I'll have me TWO HELPINGS OF THAT!
Just picture, as you're driving along, the land gives way to sparkling blue ocean on either side of your vehicle as you cruise along, with the balmy breeze in your hair.
One night, dad took us to a beach there, where we looked for shells, and saw
SO MUCH SUPER GROSS FAUNA!
I have never seen so many starfish washed up on shore.
No, silly. You're thinking of those lovely, golden starfish you bought in the gift shop. Nuh-uh. Picture more of a creepy, browny sea spider thingy, in the sand with all these little waving feeler things on their undersides.
We also saw:
* a little pink dead squid guy :(
* some weird corkscrew meaty guy things sticking up out of the sand (WTF ARE THOSE???)
* a couple of those blech-o sea TUBES. What the hell are those tubes? I hate those tubes
* the disgusting blob that lives in the big, impressive conch shell!
* lots of little hermit crab dudes
Okay, so nature is basically totally disgusting, right? But, my sister and I respect it. So, we made Dad toss all those ugly things back in the ocean so that they might LIVE ANOTHER DAY!
Some old man walking along the beach, picked up that meaty conch blob guy and tossed it back into the ocean, and as it flumped through the air, purple juice shot out the other end of it.
However, I told dad that that guy was his KINDRED SPIRIT. AW. Dad's not afraid to pick up anything! Hooray!
|so purty..but filled with gross, yucky ocean life|
Then, as we were walking back to the car, it was dark, and we (not my dad) were TOTALLY creeped out that a gator might come roaring out of the long grasses to our right to devour us.
Aim: "if one came running at us, I'd out-run it."
Dad: "yeah. GOOD LUCK."
Aim: "I'm really fast you know! I think I could do it!"
Dad: "Yeah? Are you FASTER THAN A HORSE?"
See? It's a lose-lose situation.
Okay, first of all, I need you guys to click on the above link to Flamingo Island. There. Hear that obnoxious song?
Flamingo Island...gonna keep you smilin'
Well, my sister, in all her OCD-ness, sang that song until my dad and I were sobbing, weeping, BEGGING her to stop. We had seen the website before we got to Florida, and we were looking forward to the place, but my god, I never want to hear that song again.
Okay, I don't know. It's someplace to go, but I suggest NOT going with your dad, because DADS hate shopping, and there are approximately 5 billion stalls of junk to peruse, and the place is cram-packed with old people, and there aren't any good bargains, and really? It kinda bit.
Still, if you like 50 different store choices to find a pair of sunglasses, I highly recommend it!
Coconut Point Mall
I'm a little confused by the Coconut Point shopping centre. I mean--it's huge. It's WEIRD HUGE. It's CRAZY BIG. As we were driving down the road, there are like, at least five entrances into the place. It's like it's own tiny city.
It's like....DISNEYWORLD for grownup women!
It's all shops, and lovely residences and...
I don't get it. It hurts my head.
Okay people. I have to be honest here: the thing my sister and I were MOST excited about for Florida (well, one of the things. I'm not ashamed) was our planned trip to VICTORIA'S SECRET.
Stupid Victoria's Secret. Why are they only in select locations in Canada, and why did it take them so FREAKING LONG to get here?!?
Oh, you're thinking--you're one of THOSE girls.
Oh no I am NOT. I don't give two shits about their teeny weenie bras and panties and uncomfortable slippery bed wear.
It's all about the SCENTED PRODUCTS people.
We're obsessed with it.
So, they had a deal when we arrived: on this entire wall of smellies, you could choose 6 things for THIRTY FIVE DOLLARS, BITCHES, and then you got a 7th lotion for free.
We chose our stuff. It took ages. Dad must have been dying from boredom.
I did take a look at the bras. Apparently, my 38 C's are on the outer periphery of bra sizes at VS.
Stooopid, if you ask me. I mean, are you not known for your bras??? Ah well, as I walked past the posters of all those VC models, all super-sexed in their lingerie, I felt a little smug thinking I had bigger ba-bongos. Not that I NORMALLY feel smug over that, but honestly people--in a place like that, it's all I have. Don't take it away from me.
Once again, go without your dad. Dads don't love shopping.
Pinchers Tiki Bar ~ Fort Myers Beach
there is NOTHING wrong with drinking OUTSIDE! If you go to Pincher's Crab Shack and Tiki Bar in Fort Myers Beach, it will cost you five bucks to park. However, then you get a coupon (or Q-pon, as the lovely American peeps pronounce it) for five bucks off at the bar/restaurant.
Also, Americans know that the key to happiness in life is simple:
HAPPY HOUR, WITH TWO-FOR-ONE drink specials.
The bar sits at the top of the most gorgeous beach, with white sand like icing sugar, sparkling ocean waves, and NO DISGUSTING OCEAN LIFE WASHED UP ON SHORE.
It's a wonderful place to go.
At first, I was a little freaked out. Then I thought it was fascinating and amusing that Bonita Springs is CRAMMED with old people. CRAMMED. And I mean OLD--well into their 80's. And they're everywhere--they're on the road in their big, white, LINCOLN TOWN CARS.
|if you think this car is awesome, you are very, very old.|
But then I got to thinking: GOOD FOR THEM. I mean, they are living the remaining years of their lives to the fullest. They're OUT THERE. Riding their bikes, shopping, swimming, socializing. Enjoying life. Not sitting in a chair, with a tv tray full of medications, unmoving for the last 30 years of their lives.
Something to think about.
Incidentally, dad says that Florida is "god's waiting room."
That gives me the heebie jeebies.
Lucky people who can go to Florida! Lucky people who can escape the drudgery of our lives, if only for just a little while, for a sky so blue it could make you cry! I practically lived in my bathing suit the past five days. I wore next to no makeup. I put my hair up in a butterfly clip nearly every day. I literally peed my bathing suit pants from laughing one day--not that I recommend THAT. I floated in the pool for hours.
It was a very nice trip. I hope we all get there again at some point in our lives.
Because, we deserve it.