Our First U.S. Home…FLORIDA!

There’s no place like home! There’s no place like home!

Seniors, cheap oysters and race cars…oh my!

Actually, going from Honduras to Florida is like going from Kansas to the Land of Oz. Some of the seniors in Florida could pass as munchkins! And let me see…Munchkin Land is probably Fort Lauderdale, Oz is probably Key West and the Wicked Witch of the West is Orlando (Sorry, it is way too Disney owns everything land). My Mom is Dorothy, of course, sweet as can be. My Step Dad is the Tin Man, in his no-nonsense kind of way. And their dog, Angel, is Toto too! Todd is the scarecrow…not because he is does not have a brain but because he is fun loving, and Wayne is the Lion…not because he is cowardly but because he had this huge afro in his early teens which reminds me of a Lion’s main! ;o)

The first city in the fantasy state of Florida we stayed in was South Daytona, the unknown next door neighbor to Daytona Beach, the home of the World’s Most Famous Beach and Nascar racing. It is not only home to Nascar and the World’s Most Famous Beach, but me too! I lived there between the ages of 6 and 16…three blocks from the beach!

We hung out at my parents house a lot, did some hanging with my nephew, Josh, and his crew. We saw a decorated boat Christmas parade on the river, went to Ponce Inlet to hang for a bit with Todd, we hit our first American dive bar with Wayne, went to the race track with the Glasiers, and had sangria with Sean and Candy in St. Augustine.

Daytona Dec-09

We also made our way down south heading towards OZ. We wanted to hang out with my niece Jenna who lives on Key West. Our first night away was in South Beach Miami in all its art deco splendor. The next day, before heading south again, we hit the Little Havana hood of Miami. Although, almost everyone speaks Spanish, Little Havana I am sure, looks nothing like the real Havana! It is an Americanized, big roaded, washed out version, not that I have been to Havana…yet! But even with that said, we had a nice cuban sandwich and tried mate soda for the first time!

Then we headed to the Keys, a set of many islands off the most southern part of Florida. Quite beautiful and nothing like the islands off the coast of Honduras. Well maybe, but super Americanized, which is both good and not so good. We spent a great afternoon with 17 year old and quite wonderfully beautiful Jenna and her friend, Simone. We (that being Jim and I only) ate oysters, conch fritters, and amazingly wonderful Gelato. Teen girls and their cute tiny little figures! No, they had lunch before we met up! We also fed Jim loves of pirates and lost treasures at Mel Fisher’s Museum. Where else in the world can you pick up and touch a gold bar that is over 300 years old? And how about buying a real piece of eight? Pretty cool. But I was a bit disappointed with how much Duval Street changed in just 6 years. Come on, Claire’s and Banana Republic? That is what a mall is made of…not the Land of The Conch Republic where The Conchs proclaim anything goes, you know lots of artsy types, individuals, piratesque peeps and so on. Banana Republic Clothing Store = individualism? But we did enjoy a pub or two on the Duval Crawl and we did have our fill of large oysters at Happy Hour prices ($6.00 a dozen), conch fritters and gator bites (made from actual alligator tails).

Key West

On our way back North we were hoping to go across the Everglades and maybe see some gators, but we missed the road (it wasn’t my fault) and decided to go up to Lake Okeechobee which ended up not to be kind of sad, but it is the second largest fresh water lake in the United states.

Florida Road Trips

Back to Daytona, my Mom somehow wrangled Jim into making Christmas dinner! That is what he gets for always talking about how he cooks this and that. Dinner was awesome and my Mom was cook-free for the day. Now that is a great Christmas present! And we did ended the meal with my Mom’s specialty, Baked Alaska, which she made the day before.

Besides the great food, our Christmas day was wonderful and somewhat funny! Josh and Todd trying to figure out how to use a Nicaraguan toy top, premiering our 12 Months of Hondomas video, and having a pirate face contest, was quite entertaining!

Florida Christmas

That was it…the day after Christmas we took off for destination North.
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~ by HenderBalz on January 10, 2010.

One Response to “Our First U.S. Home…FLORIDA!”

  1. Mmmm… oysters. 😉

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