Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Florida has been great. The weather is bearable, and the scenery is wonderful, when we go out sightseeing. Craig is trying to buy a condo, so we have been to Clearwater twice, the location of the condo. It is very nice in that area, and the beach area is interesting. We checked out the beach Saturday.

Sunday, we went to Bradenton, Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key, Lido Key and Sarasota. That area is a tropical paradise. When we were on the beach on Anna Maria Island, I felt as though I was back in Jamaica, where I had been in the early 80's. The sea grapes are trees on the beach that provide shade, and a place to locate picnic tables. There was a cafe there, and I enjoyed sitting at the table with the Gulf breezes blowing, keeping things fairly cool in the shade.

There was one negative thing, but it is not a problem very often. There was a red tide, and the moment we got out of the van at the beach, my throat started hurting, causing me to cough for the whole time that we were there. Of course, there were dead fish, but I never realized before that red tide can cause a respiratory problem akin to asthma.

Eventually we left that area and drove to Longboat Key, just to check things out. Wow! The houses are really something. We stopped at a restaurant for brunch, and getting from the van to the restaurant caused another bout of choking and coughing. It was quite unpleasant. While in the restaurant (there were people eating outside overlooking the beach, but I think they were nuts or had strong constitutions), I noticed that many people were coughing.

We enjoyed our meal, then continued on to Lido Key and St. Armand's Circle. It is a very upscale shopping area, and signs in the stores remind you that it is comparable to shopping in the Hamptons, Martha's Vineyard and other high class places. I have been in the Hamptons several times, and I must agree that it does have a touch of the same atmosphere.

After walking around the Circle window shopping and stopping for ice cream, we headed back to Riverview. We did see lots of dead fish in the bay areas, especially when we crossed bridges. These were in full view of the multi-million dollar houses.

I would really like to live in that general area, but it won't happen. Maybe Clearwater is a possibility, but if not there, then I might find something here in or around Riverview.

It has been pleasant keeping track of the birdlife around the very large pond outside Carrie's sliding glass doors. There are four white ducks waddling around quack quacking all day long, and they are really cute. They come up to the patio, but have been trained to stay off it. They walk along the edges begging for food.

Sometimes a Sand Hill Crane shows up, and a cormorant is in the pond a lot of the time. There has been a Roseate Spoonbill in the past, and I think I saw him out of the corner of my eye the other day skimming along above the pond. Ibis and egrets hang out along the pond edges, and the mockingbirds have shown up in large numbers. This is a new development, and it is great when more birds start hanging out here.

Soon I'll be leaving, but I am trying to soak it all up as much as I can.


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