Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween from Tampa's 36th Annual All Hallows Ball

Welcome to my annual outing amongst the well dressed.  In these electoral times being bombarded by both parties for our vote here in Florida, I love getting away from all the insanity of advertising on TV to enjoy some cocktails and a lot of great costumes.  I just wish someone would propose presidential elections every six years with elections lasting one month - that person would get elected!  But  enough about that, enjoy some vicarious fun.  It was a great party on Saturday with thousands of participants filling one of the grand spaces of the Tampa Convention Center.  Yes, it was the same place where Romney got nominated. Not surprisingly, the crowd that was there I am sure will not vote for him.  The theme this year was "It's a Small World."  Ain't it so!

Italian pagliaci?

A wonderful tooth fairy

Small wordlites

Heidi und toy

Olaff the Magnificent

African beauties

Turandot and Mandarin


Captain America



 Little lights

Lots of flesh

Including a little Meatballs & Sausage


We had Deco Buildings

Aztec Rulers

Scottish lads

Great Psychedelic Screens

Avant Garde in Bubble Wrap

The entirety of Madame Butterfly

Even a witch with an apple

Maybe in these crazy times what we want is a fictional character like Superman to solve all our problems and fantasies.  Here's mine.  Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 7, 2012


I have always loved traveling.  I started traveling at a very early age as consequence of my parent's choice to leave Cuba.  It seems that since I was ten I have been a bit of gypsy, first following my parents in their quest for choices and freedom and since I was a teen ager, as an explorer.  It may not be like Columbus discovering America, but to me travel is not only about exploration but it is about the education that comes with the experience.  You may not think there is much to be seen in backwater roads crossing the country but I would beg to differ.  The trip from Vermont to my last leg of the trip in Maine was yet more about discovering new places, things to see and meeting great people along way.

Crossing New Hampshire a variety of diners  posed for a picture opportunity.  My camera had started going on the fritz in Vermont from I guess too much use.  It was to last until my arrival at Acadia National Park and like clockwork it ceased working after  the climb for sunrise on Cadillac Mountain.  So, enjoy the limited number of images from another great north eastern tip of the country.

Before getting to Acadia I made a few stops in Maine at Yarmouth/Freeport area home of LL Bean, UU friends, and some great photo opportunities and discoveries.  Eartha (not Kitt) is a globe of the planet that was built by the DeLorme Map company and holds the records as the largest rotating reproduction of our planet.  It measure 41 feet in diameter.  It is rather impressive and at night when you go out to Freeport, next door, it is a bit like a Faberge egg in its lit crystal box.  

You can go and visit and shop at their map store for just about any map you can imagine and walk up to the top of the globe and see it, possibly like astronauts see the planet in their circumnavigations.

As you continue to Freeport on route 1 that used to be that  main highway from Key West to the tip of Maine you run into the Big Freeport Indian. This 25 foot statue has served many marketing purposes and is unfortunately without a tenant these days.  He was the sign post for Lewinsky's a clothing store that specialized in selling moccasins.

My trip to the area took me to the home of UU friends who live in a wonderful farm and as part of my first night in town we went to a Grange dinner.  This was all new to me but of course I have seen them in all kinds of western movies where the town's farmers would socialize with a great home cooked meal benefiting the association that sponsored the event.  For our outing we had wonderful selection of Boston Baked beans (three types) all manner of slaws, salads and the reddest hot dogs to grace the planet.  So red in fact they must have used #2 red dye which I normally associate with the cherries in my Manhattans!  After dinner we had a great walk in the local landmark:  LL Bean.

No question that the entire New England area must be supported by the success of the Maine firm.  What was one or two stores when I was last there ten years, or so, ago is now a conglomeration of stores that must number around a dozen when you consider the various family members other efforts that include food, coffee, ice cream etc.  Needless to say there is there is everything for camping and outdoor life.  I am in the market for a Kayak and was checking out the choices in their store.  Turning 100 in 2017 they pack them in maybe not like Disneyland, but they have about three million customers visit the complex each year.  So much so to say that all the other retail establishments have attached themselves like leaches to reap some rewards from the overflow.

Along the way further north led me to Red's Eats in Wiscasset a fine hot dog and lobster stand.  It was closed when I was heading north but not when I returned.  The queue went all around the stand as people stood in line for their famous lobster rolls than pack more than a pound of lobster.  Needless to say my cholesterol is in check so I took advantage of the tasty New England treat.

This trip was not about shopping but about taking my pooch back to a place I had taken Taxi so many years ago and had wonderful memories of her jumping through the woods and playing in the beach.  So Bar Harbor was the next stop and beautiful Acadia National Park.  The Maine coastline is rocky and forested and magical like the Monterrey coast of my youth.  When I first visited the park I felt inspired, invigorated by the cool scented forest air and majesty that surrounded every which way you turned.

Of course, when you revisit a place with the hopes of recapturing your past you wind up disappointing yourself somewhere along the line.  My trip to Acadia was driven by a thirst for some of my past:  a relation, a dog and no doubt a younger self. 

The reality is that I discovered that all my camping gear which I had not used in those many years and had not managed to check and service did not function well or at all.  This, of course made for some fun stories as I had to cook on the camp ring with firewood and use a flashlight as my Coleman light also did not work.  Fortunately, I was on the go all day and ate while there was light and then quickly settled in for the night to start another day - so much for romance!

Limo was in rare form.  I saw the "puppiness" in him finally start to subside and a more mature dog develop as he travelled and met people and dogs, enjoying the journey.  I now have this image of the two of us near our campground at Blackwoods.

Next year I plan on taking an even longer break from the Florida summer heat.  I will no doubt come back to Acadia and even go to the Bay of Fundy and Campobello Island to see the FDR summer cottage and discover new ground.  By then, I will have upgraded all my camping gear and purchased new equipment.  On the list is an inflatable mattress.  Sleeping on Acadia's granite can make you feel older than you are and as I will be 62 for my return I will need some help - so much for contemplating youth.  I will also have an Eagle pass that will entitle me to enter the National Parks for free and camp at a reduced rate.  Oh, the joy to be part of the 47%!

As I said my camera was on the fritz and eventually died. Going to sleep at nine from fatigue and adventure was a great opportunity to start early the next morning on new ones.   I drove up to the top of Cadillac Mountain to glimpse the sunrise.  On top of this massive granite bolder in this easternmost corner of the United States a few of us early morning adventurers shared this sunrise before anyone else in the country and much more even though this was the last image I captured.  Happy Trails!