Friday, September 4, 2009

Florida Keys Day 1, Part 1 | Sox win helps fill void in my suitcase

Raymond - a mascot whose sex and species is unknown to many fans of the Tampa Bay Rays - often would sneak up on people during Thursday night's game against the Red Sox at Tropical Field in St. Petersburg.

Even during this race between bottles of beverages, Raymond felt the need to suddenly stick its arm in front of Aquafina, "clotheslining" the human bottle of water.

Picking on water sends a wrong message to children. They should be taught to like water.

Instead, Sierra Mist and its lemon-lime goodness won out, just as the Sox did in the game. I'm sure Aquafina was bitter, just as the Rays were.

As the photographic fates would have it, I accidentally left an important item at home for my roundabout trip to Key West: the power adapter to my computer.

During this vacation - my first of 2009 - I initially ventured to St. Petersburg on Thursday afternoon to watch a Red Sox-Rays game from behind home plate. Things were going smoothly. The pregame supper was a delightful Southern classic of seafood and grits (more on that later), and Boston performed admirably in a 6-3 win over Tampa Bay.

From St. Pete, I plan to journey southward, paralleling Florida's Gulf Coast, crossing the state and traveling all the way through the Keys, finally winding up in Key West whenever I feel like it. I have no plans other than to stop when I think something needs to be photographed or eaten. I have no reservations.

The scheme was working swimmingly late Thursday night after I departed the company of my revered cousin and his wife, with whom I had watched the game. I steered my car onto Interstate 275, a major highway in the St. Pete area. I stopped to shoot Tampa Bay's Sunshine Skyway Bridge under a beautiful haloed moon (more on that later).

But exhaustion was setting in. I had traveled 150 miles Thursday, which is not excessive, but when you wake up three hours before your usual time to do it, the feet is compounded. Arriving in Bradenton around 1:30 a.m., I kept my eyes out for a cheap hotel or motel room. Passing signs advertising new homes for $44,000 a pop, I briefly considered purchasing a house just for a shower and a good night's sleep. Alas, I happened upon a Super 8 with a sign outside that listed its amenities: It had me at "Wi-Fi."

I registered and settled in to my room that smelled of something that every respectable Florida building should: mold. But it was no huge issue: I was on vacation - and I had Wi-Fi. Life was good.

After turning on my computer and seeing that its battery life was nearly expired, though, I shuffled nervously through my bags. Chances were that if I didn't remember packing that power cord, I likely did not pack it.

Sure enough, I have embarked on a journey of nearly 1,000 miles without the juice needed to power my MacBook. I did pack a spare laptop, but editing photos on it takes hours.

I see the revelation as a blessing in disguise, however. My new plan is to post one or two photos that, I hope, highlight the day's events, or nonevents. I'll leave the serious photo editing for when I return safely to Melbourne, where I'll still have a few free days before heading back to the grind of paycheck-earning.

After all, this is vacation, and constantly updating this blog - no matter how enthusiastic I am about it - probably isn't conducive to a restive few days.

Now, the real trick is to find a hotel that doesn't have a checkout time before my usual wake-up time of 1 p.m.

With a seat on the aisle, I had no complaints. A good way to start a vacation.

Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon was called on in the ninth inning to seal up the win.

A beer vendor serves a Bud Light Lime to a spectator nearby.

Most of these photos, including this one, turned out quite grainy because of the high ISO setting of 1600 I had to use for the low-light conditions of an indoor baseball stadium. But in this shot, I was just amused by all the sunflower seed shells that had gathered in front of the Rays' dugout by the ninth inning.

These are the same lights as those in the first vertical photo in this post, but with a darker exposure, it's plain to see that they aren't just bright white lights: There is some color to them, too.

1 comment:

Rockledge said...

really like the shot of the lights. it's different.