One thing that has surprised us during our stay in this state has been the diversity that neither of us really expected. As ignorant Brits, Florida meant Disney and Oranges! Yet we have been tempted by the beautiful beaches, Sanibel, the Keys and here on the gulf coast “the Emerald coast” they have been spectacular, though recently not matched by the weather unfortunately. We have been educated whilst traversing the state, finding that cattle and horses are the very backbone of the interior. Miami gave us the Florida of the TV programmes, whilst Orlando gave us the traffic, the commercialism, the tourists by the thousand! The State parks have offered solace and enchanted us with their wild life. Everywhere, there has been the chasm between those who have and those who do not…but that’s not unique to this part of the world.
We have rounded off our stay with a couple of days of yet more diversity. We spent a couple of hours below ground in the Florida Caverns, limestone caves that took us to a world of natural fantasy, where our imagination could run wild. From the “wedding cake and organ” (yes people actually do get married there!) to shapes, textures and colours that seemed to leap from a film set. “Don’t touch” the guide said because we would leave a film on the stalacmites/tites that would halt the natural course of things…but then there was a bit where we could touch!! Yes it was wet, but oh the satisfaction after keeping your fingers under control! Malc took so many shots he ran out of memory…I put it down to his age!
Today we have been to the Air force Armament Museum at Eglin Air force base just east of Pensacola. Every boys dream, Malc certainly enjoyed every minute, and we’re sure his brother would have enjoyed it even more. From wandering around outside among the many exhibits, to the fascinating displays inside, it for a made for a fascinating visit. The thing that struck me most, was that we were reading about and seeing artefacts from our lifetime. There was much relevant to the early world wars, but also much relevant to Vietnam and the Gulf War. Fittingly our visit was punctuated by the sound of jets flying overhead from the airbase close by. Malc needed a male compatriot to share his forays into engineering speak, explaining the intricacies of jet engines, re-heat, 28 rotary cylindered piston engines bla- bla- bla. You know what I mean girls?…Malcolm J when are you coming out, where are you when we need you? (Think we’ll be in N.California for April).
Tomorrow we move on Westwards towards New Orleans, passing from Florida through Alabama, Mississippi and into Louisiana…not far really about 220 miles.
PS. New experiences today, Malc had a pair of “Hush Puppies” served up on his plate at lunch. He had ordered Amberjack fish, with a side of black-eyed beans, garlic mash and hush puppies…guesses on a post card to that hanger at Bournemouth airport. I had a grouper sandwich and it was yum!