Thursday, June 29, 2006

NOT at Disney today!

In case any of you are watching the news, we want to reassure you that we are in Tampa, D is doing just fine, and that the 12-year old boy who died after riding the roller coaster at Disney-MGM this morning was NOT ours. Spooky. I guess these rides are still a lot safer than driving to the mall or riding a bike, but sure makes one think twice before casually heading off on a ride that pulls several g's. I feel terrible for the family.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Wednesday evening back at the hotel and all kids (ours, at least) are accounted for. M&I and two other chess parents went up to Tarpon Springs for a Greek dinner and a visit to Spongeorama. We decided it might be better if we dealt with pick up at the camp tonight, so we swung by Berkeley Prep and waited for kids to finish their games. Took D and two friends to gelato at the mall before coming back here, where they are now among a couple dozen kids (and a couple grandmasters) playing bughouse and blitz in the skittles room off the lobby.

Fort de Soto

Afterwards, we checked out the beach at Fort de Soto, before heading back to Tampa while the sun set.

A pleasant day turned sour after we arrived back at the hotel. By soon after 9pm, everyone appeared to have arrived back from the camp (which is held at a private school campus 15 minutes away from the hotel), except D. We spent a panicked hour trying to locate him around the hotel before heading back out to the school where he was still waiting out front in the dark. He was understandably upset, as were we. I suspect this may lead to some improvements in the way in which the camp accounts for the kids!


While D plays chess, M&I explore. Yesterday we checked out Ybor City in Tampa. Today we visited Dali Museum in St. Petersburg and then headed out to the beaches. Walked through the Islande Grand Resort, since we've each been there on our own but never together (and never in sweltering heat). We headed down to Passe-a-Grille and found a great little Caribbean-Asian place for dinner (Banana Leaf Grille).

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

St. Petersburg

We drove from Cypress Lake back across the state toward Bradenton and then drove into St. Pete via the Sunshine Skyway bridge a little after sunset. We stayed in Indian Rocks and then drove up to Clearwater Beach the next morning. Looked like a Florida Beach should look like - lots of people and lots of big hotels and condos. D might have enjoyed the water more if we hadn't rented Jaws last week! Crabby Bill's for lunch and then a hot muggy game of mini-golf in Indian Shores. We chose not to feed the teenage alligators in the pond. Checked into Tampa hotel Sunday afternoon. D played chess in lobby and M&D grabbed dinner at Subway while I stayed in room suffering from the unintended and unpleasant consequences of my crabcake lunch.

Island of Adventure

A day at Universal trying to avoid the heat and pick the shortest lines. That means we headed for the Incredible Hulk as soon as the gates opened. The ride is green (which I should have seen as a warning)! I sat out the next couple rides before getting back into the swing of things -- fortunately Devon was willing to go on some of the more extreme rides by himself while his elderly parents sat in the shade.


I thought a good way to see Florida, and in way that might entertain D, would be to take an airboat out into the marsh. We saw lots of birds, most of the tall, skinny genre, and a few alligators. Also lots of cows and lots of marsh flattened by hundreds of airboats. But it was fast and fun and a nice contrast to resort hotels and theme parks and central Florida strip malls.


Greetings from Florida! Again! Arrived in Tampa to heat and mugginess and smell of brush fires. Drove up to Orlando for three days, but only spent one day at Universal and no time at Disney parks. M&D played Bingo and worked on their chip shots at the pool. Headed to miniature golf in the evenings when it got cooler.