Sunday, February 19, 2023

The Flamingo, the Floridan and the 57 Bus

We're in Tampa, where the familiar giant flamingo greeted us at the airport. It's finished now, so we got the added effect of the silvery ceiling and aquatic lighting that ripples like it's underwater. (You don't really get the lighting effect in a still photo.) And the barriers are gone! I'm hating those red balloons, though.

The flight was LONG -- more than ten hours. I don't know why it was longer than it's been previously. I watched two movies, the gay comedy "Bros" and a Polish movie called "Eo" about a donkey that I found surprisingly compelling. It took a hard look at the way humans treat animals and the world as they might experience it. "Bros," on the other hand, was funny in places but also flawed -- the main character was so annoying he was hard to tolerate, and as in a Woody Allen movie (the only way this resembled a Woody Allen movie) a much more attractive person rather unbelievably falls for him and he gets to put them through all kinds of grief courtesy of his neurosis. It had its moments but it's not a win.

I also read an entire book, "The 57 Bus," about a nonbinary teen who was riding a public bus in Oakland, California, when a nearby boy -- joking around with some friends -- impulsively decided to set the nonbinary teen's skirt on fire. (This really happened.) The nonbinary kid was seriously injured, and the book details their recovery and the offender's subsequent treatment by the police, justice system and the victim and their family. It examines ideas like restorative justice and was very good.

Plus I polished off a couple of New Yorkers, which always feels like an achievement.

When we landed in Tampa we got our bags with no problem and caught a cab to our downtown hotel. It was only halfway through the ride that I realized the cab -- which definitely said taxi on top -- had no meter and no displayed license, which makes me think it was actually just some schmo making money on the side. He definitely overcharged us, but I was too tired to argue the point. I should have been more on my toes but I didn't expect a bootleg taxi to be waiting in the queue at the Tampa airport.

Here are Dave and I at the bar in our hotel's very grand but slightly tatty lobby. I know the etching on the mirror is covering our travel-weary faces. That's intentional.

We're staying at the historic old Floridan Palace. We had dinner in the bar -- Cuban sandwiches -- and watched a gaggle of tween girls who seemed to be on a school trip run shrieking around the mezzanine. Every once in a while an adult would rise from a group having drinks at a nearby table and tell them to be quiet. "That's a real effective chaperone," Dave whispered snarkily.

We came upstairs -- which took a while because only one of the 19-story hotel's three elevators is working -- and tumbled into bed. I slept like a log.


Yorkshire Pudding said...

It is a relief that you made it over there. Mind you, it is a wonder that your head didn't explode on the flight due to over-stimulation - two films, an entire book and a couple of "New Yorkers". Wow! Have some fun over there.

Rachel Phillips said...

Glad to hear you are there and I like the pink flamingo. I saw Bros at the cinema, the only person there on the day, and felt exactly as you describe it. That guy really irritated me. I never wrote about it because I didn't know what to say but you have summed it up for me nicely. Have a good day as they say.

Andrew said...

I've never seen a flamingo I didn't like, but I have now. It is an ugly sculpture.

Ten hour flight! We are so poor we have to take 22 hour flights to get anywhere decently interesting.

From reviews Bros seemed to be copy of a rom com but with gay characters. Rather boring. Fire Island sounds a bit better but similar.

I've looked at the book "The 57 Bus", and it did not sound cheerful. In fact awfully depressing.

You were taxi cab ripped off in a place you know well. Wow.

A group of young lads might have been more interesting to observe and perhaps a little quieter.

You slept the sleep of the innocent. That's always great.

Boud said...

Glad you arrived safely. What a long trip. I wonder if there were headwinds.
I like the touch of hiding your tired old fizzogs behind the etching! Enjoy your week.

Ms. Moon said...

Welcome to Florida!
Okay. I would stay at the Floridan Palace. It looks gorgeous and so fun. Ten hours of flying does not sound fun. You sure got a lot accomplished on the flight though. Whoa, man!
I love the flamingo but I am a big fan of giant whimsy.

Marcia LaRue said...

Looking at the full picture of that flamingo, you do get the sense it is underwater!
It's nice to kind of get an idea of what Dave looks like!
Enjoy your time in Florida!

ellen abbott said...

I think magazines would be the last thing I would pack to take on a trip. 10 hours is a long flight. I do like the flamingo but yeah, what's up with the red balloons?

NewRobin13 said...

You really got a lot done on that 10 hour flight-- movies, books and magazines. Sounds like a great way to pass some time.
I like the giant flamingo, but those balloons have got to go.
Have a grand time there in warm and sunny Florida.

Sharon said...

Two movies, a book and two New Yorkers. You certainly make good use of that flying time.
I love the giant flamingo. I see now that it is supposed look like everyone is under water. Great concept.
Have fun!

Jim Davis said...

The winds are generally against you at altitude Westbound over the Atlantic, and based on the length of your flight I would say that they were quite strong. 10+ hours from Heathrow to Florida is overly long.

The Padre said...

Welcome Back To The States - Make It Count


Jim Davis said...

PS: Not a fan of that Flamingo. :)

Allison said...

I like the flamingo, but not the red balloons.

Ellen D. said...

Welcome back to the USA. Watch out for Ron DeSatan...

Margaret said...

Glad you've arrived and gotten some sleep. Now it's on to more adventures. Stay away from that flamingo--scary!!

Pixie said...

One of the reasons I don't like flying much is the jet lag, and I usually feel like shit by the time I get someplace. Hope you have a wonderful trip.

The Bug said...

Yay! Glad you made it safely! The flamingo looks fun to me, but then I always liked the tacky sculpture at the Miami Marlins park. I hope you have a great trip!

jenny_o said...

Maybe those red balloons are Valentine's Day leftovers, or from a grand opening of the flamingo installation ... and maybe they'll be gone by the time you leave Florida! Please let us know :)

Hope your jet lag is not too bad and you have a great trip.

Kelly said...

I like the clever way the flamingo is made to appear it's under water. I bet kids love it.

Speaking of kids... even on your school break you can't get away from them! I'm surprised your instincts didn't kick in making you try to rein in that group of girls!

Catalyst said...

Hmmm. Do you pick these hotels out yourself?

Red said...

I could not read a book and watch two movies in 10 hours. I'm a slow reader. I doze the whole tome on an airplane.

Ed said...

I'm not one who really like a lot of modern art installations but I do like the flamingo. It was well done.

Traveling gets harder the older I get. My skin evidently is getting thinner.

Linda Sue said...

Love the sculpture, I only wish it was part of my house.

sparklingmerlot said...

Balloons left over from valentines day?
I'm glad you made it there safely. Enjoy the break.

Moving with Mitchell said...

Glad you made it. How strange about the 10-hour flight. I love the flamingo and the balloons. Hope you recover quickly from jet lag.

Steve Reed said...

YP: You'd be surprised how much you can accomplish when you're confined to a chair for ten hours!

Rachel: Apparently "Bros" was a bust upon its release in the states, and I'm not sure it did well overseas either. I think most people WOULD see a good gay rom-com. This one just wasn't good.

Andrew: Yeah, I know, a 10-hour flight is nothing to an Australian. "The 57 Bus" really WASN'T depressing, despite the subject matter. In fact it ended rather hopefully, I thought.

Boud: "Fizzogs" -- now THAT's a word I've never heard! I guess there must have been headwinds, or maybe we flew a slightly different route. (But how different could it be?!)

Ms Moon: I like the Floridan and I'd stay here again. It's not without faults, but I just love the fact that a historic building that was derelict when I lived in Florida has been successfully rehabbed.

Marcia: It really is a clever sculpture, I think.

Ellen: I assume they're Valentine's Day leftovers. Traveling is a GREAT time to plow through accumulated magazines!

Robin: It IS warm and sunny here. So nice to walk around in shorts and a t-shirt.

Sharon: It really is creative, isn't it?!

Jim: Yeah, I assume headwinds were the problem, but it's weird that the pilot didn't just say that. Usually they're happy to blame headwinds!

Padre: Thanks! So far, so good!

Allison: I like the flamingo too.

Ellen D: He was the subject of much conversation yesterday!

Margaret: Ha! I don't think it will HURT me. :)

Pixie: Yeah, but it passes. It's just a matter of patience.

Bug: I think the flamingo is pretty fun too.

Jenny-O: Yeah, I thought they were probably Valentine's Day leftovers. They just don't look good with the bird, though! They should have put the balloons elsewhere in the terminal.

Kelly: I'm sure Dave was tempted, but in the states, if you intervene with someone else's kids you're likely to get pistol-whipped!

Catalyst: I do indeed. And I actually like this hotel though it has its faults. It was a derelict shell for many years and I like the fact that the owners rehabbed it and re-opened it rather than just tearing it down.

Red: See, I can't sleep on a plane, even on overnight flights.

Ed: I'm finding that to be true as well! I definitely have more travel anxieties these days.

Linda Sue: It would pop out the roof! Your neighbors would be gobsmacked!

Caro: I think so, yes.

Mitchell: You like the balloons too?! I think you might be alone on that one. :)

Moving with Mitchell said...

Oh dear god, no. That was supposed to say “and hate the balloons.”

Jeanie said...

I love that you're staying at a historic hotel. The bar looks fabulous. And what a nightmare of a flight -- two movies, all that reading -- how's the jetlag?!

Debby said...

I never heard of the Sasha Fleishman/Richard Thomas case. I wandered off to google it. What I came away with was a deep respect for both families. They reached into themselves and then out to each other. We need to rethink the idea that justice = punishment. I've added that book to my list.