Saturday, February 03, 2007
Beyond this place there be Dragons!
That's the sign at the entrance to the driveway of a house not far from the Marina here in Gulfport. And true to its word, sure enough, just beyond the sign, lurking along the wall of the house - a Dragon! Big, shiny metal scales and all.
The woman who lives in the house always wanted a dragon, and her husband gave her one right before he died. She keeps it there, in good repair, in his memory.
Her husband always hosted a big Christmas party every year for the kids in the community, and his widow has kept up the tradition.
All this we learned from Sandy who gave us a ride to Walmart. We were in desperate need of a Walmart fix and she took pity on us and gave us a ride. Thank you, Sandy - for the ride and the local folklore.
Friday night we took a walk downtown to see the "First Friday Artwalk," a regular monthly event. We saw some neat art, heard some live music then walked over to the theater to see a community production of "Lend me a Tenor." The play was very well produced, acted and directed and so funny it left us sore for hours.
Today we took a bus to downtown St. Pete. A $1.50 fare got us downtown where another $.25 took us on the trolly to all the downtown attractions. We went to the pier but were disappointed that the aquarium was closed for renovations. We went to the local history museum and learned that the very first regularly scheduled passenger airline got its start running between Tampa and St. Pete starting Jan 1, 1914. The flight consisted on the pilot, one passenger and a sack of mail. It cut travel time from several hours by steamer to 22 minutes by air - rocketing along at the breakneck speed of 55 mph!
Another 25-cent trolley ride brought us to the Salvador Dali museum. Did he ever have some good drugs? Wow! It is really neat to see his paintings in the original. The details they contain just cannot be brought out in a reproduction. We learned that he was inspired by the Spanish Baroque masters and was influenced by all the great 20th century trends from surrealism to Andy Warhol. Although the museum was built during his lifetime, he himself never visited.
While we were downtown at the pier we spotted "Breakaway" a boat we had traveled with on the Mississippi and the Tenn-Tom. Her crew has completed the loop, and it looks like Breakaway herself may be up for sale.
Walking around the city of Gulfport, we are reminded of what "old Florida" must have been like. We have gotten rather fond of the place. Too bad they have this pronounced prejudice against "liveaboards." I wouldn't mind tying up here for a couple of months to relax. I guess that's just not allowed any more. Pity.