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Archive for January 25th, 2003

Made it to Florida

Saturday, January 25th, 2003

Wowie, we are on the road and it is such a different life! We had to get up at 4:15am to leave for Detroit, and since we normally go to bed between 1am and 2am, it was really a stretch for us. I got a small nap on the plane and another small one in the car, and those helped. We went to bed at 11:15 at Kathy and Pedro’s house, though. One can only handle so much!

We had no trouble at all getting checked in with our e-tickets on Northwest. The security was worlds better to get through than it had been in August when we went to Las Vegas. I was relieved. Everything about the flight went well (those seats are too small for anyone over 12 years old, though).

When we were preparing to land, the pilot announced that it was 30 degrees F (0 C) in Orlando. There were groans of disbelief from the crowd! Sure enough, when we were walking to get our rental car, there was a recently-washed vehicle sitting in the parking ramp with icicles hanging underneath it. I didn’t have my camera but I wish now I had, just to prove it. Later that night we saw frozen puddles on the ground. Kathy says it has not been this cold in Florida for seven years. I am very glad I brought a few wool sweaters!

On the way from Orlando to Jacksonville, we had a challenge finding food. We went past a strip of Vietnamese and Korean restaurants in Orlando when we weren’t hungry, and then regretted it an hour later when we wanted to find a meal. We got off at Deltona hoping to find something, and there was a strip mall at the exit with stores, then we drove and drove and drove and found only houses. We gave up and turned around, got back on the highway (US95) and finally got off at Daytona Beach and went east looking for a funky beach restaurant.

We apparently got to the area north of the business strip, so again we found a bunch of nicely-landscaped Florida homes. It was interesting though, because all these beautiful yards had plants covered with sheets and blankets, to protect them from the frost. It looked sort of like a flea market or something, a hodgepodge of unmatched garments all thrown together in a mess. I am sure that the gardeners here will have a lot of work this spring, replacing plants that did not make it.

We gave up on a beach café and at Ormond Beach we turned west again, at this point not picky about where we might eat… we would have been happy with even a chain restaurant and bland food. Luckily we found English Rose Tearoom. As you may know, I am a tea fanatic and we truly enjoyed the atmosphere, the Darjeeling tea, and the meal. I had an incredible chicken salad with pineapple, celery, grapes, and a wonderful creamed curry dressing. It was the best food I have had in a long time.

Friday night Kathy and Pedro took us to eat dinner at a vegetarian restaurant, Heartworks Café and Gallery, in five corners, a funky part of Jacksonville. I had lentil loaf (something like meatloaf but much better), Kathy had sweet potato stew, and Brian and Pedro had some latin-American influenced meals. It all looked great.

After dinner we got the grand tour of Jacksonville, driving around and at one point we found an Opening of an art gallery. It was wonderful. There was a showing of several artists, one was Mark Cottle, his show was called Body Doubles. He did assemblages of folded paper and paperclips, a method he learned in China (they make door curtains of these and he found a shopkeeper to show him how it was done). He is an architect as well as fine artist, and so he printed out particular images on the paper that he folded around the clips before assembling them into long chains. Some chains were on a large wall, a huge panel of them flat like a painting. The others were hung in airy cylindrical columns which looked from the outdoors as if they were solid mosaic columns. It is very hard to explain but it was incredible to see as they moved in the breeze.

Another woman, Lynn Whipple, made assemblages with old photos, old boxes, and found objects. There were four glass jars holding cut out pictures of people, three of them who she had given wings of bugs or cut out paper. They were secured to the bottom of the bottles with what looked like beeswax. Two of the bottles were honey jars. It was as if the people were caught by a young child and trapped in a bottle to be observed until they wither from disinterest. She also did some antique looking box assemblages, one with a hand puppet body which had two photos of the same person’s head sticking out, and old handwriting as the backdrop. It reminds me a little of the work of my friend, book artist Susan Hensel.