Saturday, November 21, 2009

Finally - into Florida

Cumberland Island, where we left off last time, is just across the line from Florida. On November 20, about 10:30, we crossed that line.

We made a quick stop in Fernandina at the pier of the city marina and partook of their water supply as ours was empty.  Had a quick lunch and walked about town for a bit.

We met a friendly pirate as we entered town.  He was really big but he didn't talk much.  He didn't move much either.  We both agreed, he probably wasn't real.  But we take no chances with things like that and didn't molest him at all.  Besides, there was a guy across the street keeping a suspicious eye on us.

Like many towns this size, Fernandino has buildings.

Here's another Fernandino building, just to drive home my point.

Enough of building pictures.  They weren't that great anyway and I could see you were getting bored.  I don't have a real big audience and didn't want to lose you.  So here's something I thought you might like:  most bridges open for us - either on request, or on a schedule.  Train bridges, on the other hand, are normally open.  Unless a train is coming.  Then they close, as did this one.  Without any warning.  As we innocently approached, moving along at about 7 1/2 knots with the current behind us, suddenly I noticed that the railroad bridge span was moving steadily from its normally opened position - to the closed position.

This was an awful lot of excitement for one day, for us old folks, dealing with oversized pirates and trains trying to run us down.

So my heart gets back to its regular rhythm of about 4 beats per minutes (years of rum has had its affect), and we encounter yet another bridge.  These always make me nervous.  Our mast is 55 feet off the water - about as tall as a five story building.  Look at that bridge - does it look like a 5 story building could fit under it?  And if it could, wouldn't it be in our way? But casting our fate to the wind and current and our trust in the charts that say it's over 60 feet off the water - we approach - expecting a heart rending, metal crunching sound at any time.

But as you must have expected, because otherwise I wouldn't be here writing about it, we passed safely under with mere millimeters to spare. Well, lots and lots of mere millimeters, but pretty much all millimeters are mere. 

And we saw a blimp.  And, if you've been following along, you know where this was manufactured.  Because we had a photo of it awhile back.  Special kudos and ta ta photos to the first one to tell us where in the comments below!

Here's another pelican photo.  We know you enjoy them almost as much as the mermaid shots we've taken.

 Along the waterway there are many very large and impressive homes.

One of the things that impresses us is that nobody is ever home.

We kinda feel that we could just pull up and move in and nobody would notice.

And if they did ever come home, as they came in the front door, we could hightail it out the back door, onto our boat and gone!

Or maybe change the locks and when they do finally come home, we could call the cops and report intruders.

This one could house an entire Ethiopian village.

Nobody we know could afford a home such as these, but if you're interested, we saw a real nice bird house for sale.  Cheep.

We kinda like this one.  But we're afraid our friends may feel uncomfortable visiting us in such opulent surroundings, while the host and hostess are wearing shorts with holes and a torn t-shirt, driving a 63 Buick and living on Mac and Cheese. (Which may be why so few visit us now.)

If you lived in this place, we would come visit you.  See, we're just not that picky.

I feel sorry for the poor folks living here.

St. Augustine Lighthouse.  And a gashole putting out a big wake next to a lot of boats at anchor.

Same guy going by at night?

Like a regular house, only fewer calories.

Then we went into town and the light was bad because it was cloudy and overcast (redundant, I know, but in Florida, you don't seem to get one without the other.)  So we took pictures of flowers and tiny berries and stuff that we think is pretty.

These are poseyficus Augustinium. (Translate to the common tongue - poseys in St. Augustine)

This one doesn't have a name.  And you have the honor of naming it after yourself if you want.  Or a loved one upon whom you wish to bestow great honor.  Post the name below complete with honoraree's name.

I have nothing to say about this photo.  And I'm only on my first rum.  And second beer.

Here is a flower losing it's virginity - kinda of being deflowered.

Stand in for Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors

Here's my lovely wife, Saltwater Suzi, taking a picture of her nose.  She's really, really smart, but not about hi-tech stuff.

I was just kidding - she didn't really take a picture of her nose - she took this picture.  It's a flowering bush.  In my expert opinion.

What can I say, I like doorways.  They are so metaphorical.

They have buildings in St. Augustine, too.  But this isn't one of them.  It's just a wall with a big metaphor in it.  The door was wide open - so the whole concept just baffles me.  Why build a big wall, then stick an open door in it?  That's kind of like not pulling your pants all the way up.

Would you rather I do this blog like other blogs?  Today we walked into town and purchased a loaf of bread and some milk because we were running low.  Then we looked in a store that had dresses and hats but we didn't buy one, because I already have a hat, and Suzi already has a dress, and though I don't have a dress, if I got one, I probably wouldn't wear it, because what would people think?  (Though, I don't know, there might be a certain feeling of freedom, and there is the convenience factor to consider, and after all, the Scots have already established a precedence, what with their kilts and all  - and no one would accuse them of being less than manly - not after they've seen them toss a caber the size of a small telephone pole.)  Nope, it turns out I couldn't write a regular blog even if I tried.

Gate open, doors closed.  Mixed message.

Gate closed, door closed.  Unequivocal.

If you arrive early, you get the best parking spaces.  This guy arrived in 1930.

This is part of Flagler College.  There used to be phone wires, signs and traffic lights.  But I photoshopped them out for your viewing pleasure.  But then I had to go and tell you about it.  Sorry.

This is another building right across the street from the previous one.  I don't remember what it is.  But it's big and has a statue, and a fountain, and they take pretty good care of the shrubbery so it must be important enough to be included here.  So I did.  If you're ever in St. Augustine, you could read the sign and maybe you'll remember better than I.

Same building.  Still no clue.

Statue of some old dead guy I never heard of.  These things just are of very little importance to me.  Now if they'd put up statues of women, especially scantily clad women, I'd probably pay closer attention.

Here's Suzi pantomiming an Ayn Rand book.  Kind of like Charades.  Get it?
Don't scroll down until you've guessed.

It's The Fountainhead.
Isn't this blog fun?

Here's one of the towers for that building that I didn't know what it was.  Is your curiosity getting the better of you?  You'll just have to go visit St. Augustine.  You'll thank me if you do.  For leaving some things for you to discover.

Flagler College again.  Built a long time ago.  They don't build buildings like this anymore.  Why is that, Colleen?  (Colleen is my daughter, she's an architect and she knows these things.)

...oh, my.

See, they just don't make them like this anymore.  And they last a lot longer than modern buildings.  And you'll never see a courtyard at a modern college with a fountain with spitting frogs all around.

Here's one of them.  And they're all different.  Not made out of the same mold to be efficient and save money.  Damn bean counters have taken all the fun and artistry and creativity out of the world.

See? If you look closely, you can see that the puking frogs are all different. A little. 

More people would probably be inspired to stay in college if more of them looked like this.

You have to stand tall, you have to be proud, just to enter a door like this.  (They wouldn't let me in.)

Close up of the original Audrey II

Less creative buildings have mere downspouts - hardware store variety aluminum or tin pipes that merely conduct water from the roof to the ground.  No imagination these days.  None.

Suzi really liked this one.  It looks too phallic for my tastes.  Maybe that's ...nevermind.

It may take a little more time, but in my estimation, it's worth it.  (As long as I don't have to foot the bill.) (If I had to foot the bill, it probably would be made out of cardboard. I'm not cheap, I'm poor.  But opinionated.)

Suzi's a real good navigator.  But she had trouble getting out the gate.

I don't remember why I took this photo.  But I included it here to separate the photo above from the one below.  Which probably wasn't necessary, but it's done now, so we'll just leave it.

Another pretty flower.  Suzi knows what this is.  You probably do, too.

Unusual fire department vehicles in St. Augustine.  They probably spent so much on the neat buildings there was nothing left over.

Apparently, as this and the next two pictures show, there's an enforced truth in advertising law in St. Augustine.

I don't know if people are real religious here - but they really believe in big churches.

This is still the same church.

And still the same church - it covers about a whole city block.  Seems to me the money could have been better spent helping poor people.  But right wingers don't like poor people and would rather build impressive churches instead.  Hey, it's my blog, I'll pontificate if I want.

This is a Bird of Paradise flower.  We hope it doesn't fly up your nose.

This is a fountain in a small plaza in front of a fancy restaurant.  It wasn't founting though.  Maybe next time.

There's the gateway into town.  It's big and impressive, but you can just walk around it. Maybe it was different in the olden days.  Or maybe people weren't as smart as we are now.  I'd like to think so.  But we still keep killing each other.

This is the oldest school in the U.S.  One of the things they didn't teach was that you could walk around things that were in your way.

Across the street is a little courtyard with a waterwheel.  It goes around with water they pump up to the top and pour on it.  Then it goes around and dumps the water in a pond and it gets pumped back up.  I don't think they are quite clear on the concept.

This is the fort. It was built in the 1600's and it's still here so they built it pretty well.  It got attacked a lot.  I never understood that whole thing.  Forts can't move much.  Why not just ignore them and go around?

Here's another photo of part of the fort.  The cannons were all over and on weekends, people dress up
like they are from the 1600's and march around a lot and fire the cannon, and musket, and yell a lot.  And you can just stand there and watch.  Great fun.  We watched it last time we were here.  But not this time.  My ears still hurt.

On the way back to the boat in the dinghy we came upon a mermaid, washed up on the beach.  She was struggling and flopping so we beached the dinghy and slid her back into the water.  You have to be real careful doing this because their tails are extraordinarily strong and can break bones if they swing them at you.  Fortunately, she seemed to realize that we were just trying to help - or maybe she was tired from struggling.  One way or the other, we got her back into the water.  I wanted to get another picture, but by the time I got the camera, she was gone.  It kind of makes you feel good though when you can help a helpless creature.

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