A Day With Three Parts

I was awakened this morning by an avalanche outside the window…took me a moment, oh yea! The airplanes taking off! I didn’t really mind…could be a lot worse noises out there! The hotel was very quiet overnight and I got a good sleep, with some weird dreams, though.

I forgot to show a funny sign in my room, on the workstation desk:

a "how-to" for getting on the internet - obviously i can't be the only techy knob-head in the world!

My plan for today was this: walk the Bayshore sidewalk for a bit (that’s the one that’s the Longest In The World, supposedly), lounge by the pool in the aft, and go shopping late aft/early eve. At least two of the three parts worked out!

Long story short, I wasted about an hour this morning trying to find Bayshore – well, I found the road, but I was thoroughly UNDERWHELMED by it. I guess in my mind I had pictured something scenic and tourist-worthy…nope. It was just a road! Now I did pass by some huge homes, and I was trying to locate Hyde Park area, but there was nowhere that I felt like pulling over to go for a walk (I had been thinking I could do an out and back walk). Maybe I didn’t drive through the right area? Anyway, I decided to ditch that part of the plan and go to downtown Tampa.

I had no clue how to get downtown since I hadn’t researched or printed out any directions for that location, not planning on going there. I had by luck picked up a Tampa map in the lobby this a.m. and figured I could find my way downtown from that. QUESTION PARENTS! From which one of you did I inherit an absolutely ABYSMAL SENSE OF DIRECTION?! It didn’t take long til I was quite confused! I stopped in at a Marriott hotel and a very nice woman at the front desk told me how to get to the downtown area. I was back on my way and did get downtown.

I always say that things work out as they’re meant to be, and this morning proved my point. I drove past this children’s museum…

very scenic grounds with a park and fountains, too

…and figured they must have parking nearby for that. Yup! On the map, I saw a parking garage right next door. I had no idea how much it would cost, but I had already circled around trying to find ANY parking, so decided just to go with it – and fingers crossed that I would not be paying $20 an hour! I placed the parking garage ticket on my windshield as we all do at home, then saw this sign as I was walking away:

say what???!

I took a quick look at other parked cars and saw no tickets on windshields, so I went back to the car and got mine…a new pay system to me!

I examined my map and discovered I had happened upon the Tampa Arts District! I decided I could do a nice river walk and check out the University of Tampa campus. By this time, I really had to pee, though (TMI, I know!) – a ha! The library right next door = available washrooms – and I was right!

huge, modern, cool inside

What was formerly known as the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center is phenomenal – so huge I could not find the best angle to take a photo. I really enjoyed seeing the outside of this gorgeous facility. Here’s a photo tour of my walk:

i started off on the river walk along the hillsborough river - happy to see the walk was marked!

clean, open, peaceful!

i kept my map in hand (note how i red x'd the parking garage!)

looking towards the business district of downtown tampa

i liked the iguana on this building!

The University of Tampa campus was right over a bridge so I wandered over there…

view as i walked towards the campus - look at those palm trees!

welcome to the campus!


i simply followed the RED brick road!

definitely a southern flair to the architecture

I was out about an hour and enjoyed every sunny, sweaty, gloriously humid moment:

see sweat on brow?!

I stopped back at the library to “avail myself of their facilities,” and decided to ask the librarian how the pay system worked for the parking garage – he told me you pay, then go to your car. This is what the signs indicated, too, at the pay stations when I got there, but it makes no sense to me! Couldn’t you pay then keep parking there?…With bated breath I awaited my total….$2.40! Yippee! I like that price of admission! I exited as quick as possible, fearing this bizarre pay system. You do scan your parking ticket again upon exiting – I guess they catch any cheaters that way??!

I made a quick stop at Publix, (no further directional challenges, might I add) then headed back to my casa for part two of my day.

boy, this lunch dessert sure hit the spot!

Here is my AMERICAN FIND OF THE DAY for you:

only $6.99 for this magical potion!

I had planned on buying sunscreen down here, and with the pool date for this aft, decided I better make a purchase – looky at this! SPF 30 AND instant bronzer AND water-resistant! And it’s got the coolest flip top ever.


yes, the kiki harrharrwood glasses made the trip!

This hotel SERIOUSLY has the BEST hotel pool I have ever seen:

look how long it is!

AND the best part was the pool water was warm enough that I could swim and not feel cold – yet the water wasn’t too warm, it was sooo refreshing! It was just perfect. I read my novel, researched trip stuff and swam whenever I got too hot.

i think my instant bronz-age is working!! 🙂

And now it was time to hit the mall. First, the ONLY IN AMERICA photo of the day!…

i had forgotten how americans looooove their angled parking in the parking lots!

 The International Plaza is just two minutes from my hotel and all I can say is HO.LY.COW!!! Just take two seconds to have a peek at the store directory in the link. I spent 2.5 hours glorious hours here. The atmosphere was on par with Sherway Gardens and the department stores are like Holt’s in Yorkville. Betsey Johnson! Kate Spade! Burberry! Tiffany & Co.! and on and on!…*sigh*

One more funny photo:

as you enter nordstrom dept store - to use for your wet umbrella when it's raining out, i am guessing!

I spent a large chunk of time at Fit2Run. Amazing!!! First, they have a little track IN the store so that you can try out shoes:

how many laps for a marathon?! haha!

I played Mystery Shopper and did not let on that I work in a running store and that I already know I am a neutral runner. But I asked to get their analysis done anyway. They do two things to help you choose shoes:

my actual feet...

You step on this sensor and it shows the pressure you exert along the bottoms of your feet. I am even on both sides and even front and back, with high arches. See the little white dot in the centre? Apparently, I am evenly balanced over my feet, too.

Then you do a little 30 second treadmill run while they videotape you…

that's me up there!

This was so cool!!! Even I could see that I am indeed completely neutral – as the sales associate said, I am “just about as neutral as you can be” – and we were looking at the ankles, the feet, the legs…good to know! (which means my vibrams and frees are indeed appropriate footwear for me!)

In the end, I lef the mall with…

...just three items!

Nike shorts I can’t get at home at a fantastic price, silky-smooth tech tshirt $12 (with the Fit2Run logo – can I wear that into the Running Room?!) to supplement my wardrobe down here, and undies for $3.80 at Forever 21! (Think H&M but even better if that is possible!)

Another fun day tomorrow as I leave Tampa – I’ve got a beach, a Target and more sightseeing to do!  🙂

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