Thursday, August 18, 2011
More About Florida
Most people probably know that I'm from South Florida. My parents were both raised there, and my grandparents, two of my uncles, and many longtime family friends still live there. I know it's weird - or pathetic - that I still claim to be from Miami even though I've lived in Memphis for roughly 2/3 of my life now. But my roots run deep, and I've only recently reached a point of considering myself a dual citizen, with allegiance to both places. On my trip last week, although it was balm to my soul to be in Florida, I was also aware of my Memphisness. It was strangely satisfying. :) Maybe it's because, at this point in my life, I'm actually choosing to be in Memphis. As a single lady, if I had a job opportunity, I could move back to Florida at any time. But I've decided that, at least for the time being, my relationships and roots here are more important than being near the ocean again. Besides, there are some great things about Memphis - you just have to want to see them.
Anyway, aside from lobstering, all I did on my trip was eat amazing food and commune with the ocean and with relatives and friends. We spent several days in the Keys and it was exactly what I needed. I ate seafood lasagna at the Key Colony Inn, and one of the best meals of my life at Snappers - hogfish (my favorite) sauteed in a wine and lemon butter sauce, with creamed spinach and sweet potato fries. I also had two kinds of key lime pie (surprisingly, the Publix bakery version was better by a nose). We also went to Gilbert's, one of my grandfather's favorite haunts, and I had a mango margarita that was even better than Chili's!
We went out to the coral reef for snorkeling one day, and my mom and I were crushed to see THOUSANDS of jellyfish in the water.
They were moon jellyfish, which aren't severe but will still sting you. Of course, my dad got in the water anyway. :) After a long internal struggle, I worked up the courage to get in the water because snorkeling is pretty much my favorite thing in the world. Unfortunately, my self-preservation instincts were too strong. The jellyfish were easy to see and dodge, but I had to keep looking up and checking for them. It was basically "Oh a beautiful parrotfish - OMG JELLYFISH! Oh a sea fan - JELLYFISH TO THE LEFT!! OMG JELLYFISH TO THE RIGHT!!!" It was like trying to snorkel inside a video game. I was afraid of hitting a jellyfish head-on and getting stung in the face. I kept shrieking and scaring my poor dad. After about ten minutes I was practically having a panic attack, so I admitted defeat and got back in the boat. I was very disappointed in myself. :( My only jellyfish sting was in Savannah a couple of years ago, and my dad says that that was a box or lionhead jellyfish and much more lethal than the moon jellies. But apparently my subconscious can't make a distinction.
Back in Miami, my mom and I decided to go to South Beach. I've never spent much time down there, but I loved it. I think it would be really fun to go with friends for a few days, and stay at one of those huge hotels, and not worry about anything but going to the beach and sitting by the pool and eating good food and enjoying the atmosphere. And shopping! They have some amazing shopping.
In conclusion, I wish I had a magical door between Memphis and Miami so I could go back and forth as needed.