We took a few bad pictures. The weekend went very well! We got in early afternoon Friday, had a barbecued lunch with his office and then a gift exchange where you could steal others' gifts. That was lots of fun. We stole lottery tickets, won $7, bought a few more with the $7, won $4 and another ticket, lost the $4 ticket and won nothing on our free ticket. And that's why I don't play the lottery.
After lunch Stan had a meeting with his bosses and I took the rental to Barnes & Nobles and spent two hours wandering, sipping a Peppermint Mocha Twist, buying a few heavy books for the kids' Christmas gifts that added about 7 more pounds to my carry-on.
Then we found our hotel in Ybor City and went out to dinner. We went to Carmine's and had Cuban pork, some sort of roasted sirloin and a mojito that was way too sweet! I watered mine down every so often with my glass of water. We sat side by side at the table so we could watch the people passing by on the street, which was full of bars, restaurants, tattoo parlors and cigar shops. We didn't know that Ybor City was the cigar capital of the world from 1901 -1911. We also didn't go to this establishment.
Next morning we ate at the Tropicana and had a Cuban egg sandwich and Cuban coffee. Cuban bread melts in your mouth, it's like light, fluffy French bread with a crisp crust. Delish. After breakfast, as Stan fiddled around with our lottery issues inside, I sat on a bench in the Florida sun - you never realize how much you miss SUN until your are suddenly dropped into it out of a dreary New Jersey December - called my kids and took this picture.
After breakfast we wandered the streets and ended up at the Urban Outfitters buying various discount t-shirts for the boys for Christmas. Then we walked outside and I took this picture of this weird character sitting above us. Then we walked through an arts and crafts sidewalk sale in a park where I managed to buy a couple beaded, silvery and homemade facial scrubby things.
Later that afternoon we went to another shopping/restaurant area and sat on a balcony in the sun and enjoyed listening to some good music sang and played by a young guy on his guitar. I also bought another Christmas gift, this time for my niece. I found a very small silver bangle bracelet and bangle bracelets are hard to find in small sizes, so I scooped that up.
After that nice afternoon of sun and strolling, I made Stan go home and sleep because I knew it was either then or at the table that evening during the Christmas party/dinner. It wouldn't be the first time he fell asleep at a company dinner. They tend to be late...Fridays tend to be days he gets up early...and then I'm left elbowing my narcoleptic all night. Don't fancy it. So he did sleep and he was bright-eyed and bushytailed for his first company dinner with these people.
We went to Columbia where we had lots of Cuban food, lots of good conversation and lots of Flamenco dancing. Not us, them. There was a really nice show during the dinner. Lots of stomping and clapping.
The next day it was breakfast at The Crepery. We walked in and there stood a lone lady behind the counter. She began telling us that the cooks always come in late and she's there alone and we could tell by the tone of her voice, though pleasant enough toward us, that she was darn sick of it. So we ordered a coffee and a latte - probably the best one I've ever had - and sat down in the window. A few minutes later she came over with a couple menus and explained that she was willing to try and make us some crepes and pointed to the ones she knew how to do and the ones she didn't. We were grateful, ordered a breakfast egg, ham and cheese crepe and a sweet cinammon and sugar crepe. They were delicious!
Then the flight home. I don't like flying but both flights were okay. There was turbulence and we did have to circle the Philadelphia airport for a while which I didn't appreciate, especially when the pilot said things like you may see other planes circling with us, but don't be alarmed, they're at a different altitude. Don't need to hear that. Or, we will be landing on the same strip as some planes are taking off, so don't be alarmed when you see planes next to us... It might be better to say, hey, why don't you close all of your window shades until the plane comes to a stop.
But alas, again I was not involved in a midair crash, the wings did not snap off plummeting us groundward, there were no windsheers that turned us upside-down, and our landing gear did not fail to emerge. Though evidently later last night, another plane's did and there was much foam and to-do on the ground until the plane came to a stop with a damaged left wing. If that happened to be my plane, I'd still be a puddle on the runway sucking my thumb cross-eyed in the fetal position. But alas, it wasn't. Thank you Lord.