On the long list of ways that Alex and I are different is the fact that he is a big outdoors person and I am more city. But I am back from the boonies of Florida happy and tanner (a little sunburnt too). Though I will have to upload all my pictures, here are a few with highlights from the trip:
-Kayaking: Although we did not end up fishing, we spent most of the weekend out by the waters. On Saturday Alex's uncle, Alex, and I kayaked the Juniper Springs, a seven mile river run that was narrow, had crystal clear water, and was full of overhanging trees that we had to navigate around or duck under. It reminded me a lot of the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland.
The next day we kayaked eight miles of Withlacoochee River, a much bigger river with great scenery and wildlife. Without having to duck under trees, this river was a lot more relaxing.
-Gators! Over the weekend we saw three gators out on the river. Alex's uncle assured us that alligators do not attack people out on kayaks and canoes; the only reported incidents have been people swimming, particularly people who taunt the gator with food or are just plain stupid. To complete our gator experience, we went to a restaurant after the second day and Alex's aunt and uncle ordered fried gator appetizers. They had me try it, and it does taste like chicken- really rubbery not tasty chicken. But now I can say that I've tried gator. Below is the one we say at Juniper Springs, not the one we ate.
-Trailer Trash: Though Alex's aunt and uncle live in a nice wooded area, we were not far from the "hicks." I honestly saw a guy go out into the river, wearing his board shorts and trucker hat, to swim around on his paddleboard with a beer. Then, he pulls out another beer from board shorts and starts drinking the second beer (which is covered in dirty river water). Double fisting in a river, classy. Alex yelled at me for not taking a picture, but I think I was half shocked, half worried about messing with this guy.
-Cuban Food: When we got off the plane, Alex and I stopped at La Terista, a local Cuban lunch counter. So good, so cheap.
-Tampa/St. Petersburg: We explored the cities and beaches, which were very pretty and reminded me of California and Hawaii. However we could not stay out for long because it was extremely hot and humid. For you Seinfeld fans, I felt like Elaine visiting Del Boca Vista between the weather and density of retirees.
-Hanging out with Phil and Lee: Alex's uncle and aunt are hilarious. His uncle is a lot like Alex, more reserved with a dry sense of humor. His aunt, who also happens to be Vietnamese, is over a foot shorter than her husband, fiesty, and is quite the talker with crazy stories. Being around families are fun, even if they aren't your own.
Though it was sad returning back to the real world, it was nice to finally go on a trip with Alex where saying goodbye didn't mean "see you in a month or two." So even with all my prejudices against Florida, I think we both give the trip a thumbs up for vacationing.