Largo, Forida

Oct 25 - 27, 2001

 Our Travel Experience

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Our Travel Experience

We visited Largo to visit Tara's friend, Hugo, with whom she used to work. They had last seen each other in New York when they taught a class together in 1997. We'd wanted to see Hugo in December of 2000 when we were in Clearwater, but he was busy - in the hospital attending the birth of his second child.

After a last visit to Disneyworld's Magic Kingdom, we hit the road for an uneventful drive to Hugo's house. Hugo, his ten month old baby Jensen and their dog Piglet greeted us at the door. It was great to see Hugo after four years. We received a house tour and then settled into our bedroom/office. Soon Denise came home and we got to meet their three year old daughter, Lauren. Mimi, the cat, was a bit shy, but she also made an appearance.

- Quick drive to a nearby boardwalk to see the sunset.
- Drinks in a very tropical bar/restaurant
- Back home for Hugo's home cooked BBQ ribs that we'd been smelling all afternoon
- Lots of talk that everyone enjoyed
- SciFi channel's TV series

- Tara immediately took a liking to Piglet, aka Piggy. Denise even brought Piggy's photo album out to show everyone. There was Piggy in front of the Eifel Tower, Piggy in the Swiss Alps, Piggy in Venice's St. Mark's square, Piggy in a bicycle basket and more. Piggy was a great European traveller during the five years Hugo and Denise lived in Zurich. Seth remarked how Piggy was the first dog that he'd seen Tara actively approach and pet/pick up. Tara thinks it's because Piggy, a chowawa, was cat-sized and just so good natured.

- Denise & Hugo gave us good advice for us our own transistion from an overseas life to a normal life back in the US:
overwhelmed in a grocery store
driving to everything
finding friends with similar backgrounds vs changing yourself and not talking about your background/putting Piggy's travel photos away instead of displaying them

- Early morning Japanese study for Tara out at their pool-side table
- Trying to determine what Lauren was saying about the storm last night
- Seth not sleeping well due to the storm

- Canoe trip down the bayou in back of a neighbor's house. Hugo, Lauren, Seth, Tara and Piggy in the canoe
- Wishing we had a camera to caputure Piggy standing on Tara's lap in the front of the boat, but glad we didn't have to worry about losing the camera in the water
- LOTS of birds, standing in the water, perched on the mangroves, sitting on people's piers
- Paddling further than Hugo had remembered going before. Strong paddling required to take us home. Not getting stuck even in shallow place (seeing no snakes - unlike Hugo & Denise's last canoe trip)

- Heading out for lunch to a Hurricane restaurant they'd found in their Entertainment book
- Tara hearing all about the lengths Hugo and Denise went to for Lauren and Jensen. Amazing that Denise was able to see Jensen at only 8 cells old!
- A great setting just along a waterway with many residential houses lining the shores
- A tasty lunch, but a lame Hurricane (sprinklers on the windows)

- A stop at Fort......... ocean-front park. (South of St. Petersburg)
- A nice walk to the beach and then the decision to wade through the water to a beach with shells
- Seth stepping on *something* on the way over & the water getting very deep for Tara and Denise
- MANY shells. Even live ones! And dead stingrays perfectly preserved. A dead puffer fish. Another dead fish. Plus a crab.
- Jensen, the beach baby, crawling through the sand. VERY fine, white sand.
- Tara having too many shells to hold in her hand. Turning up the bottom of her shirt

- A stop at Target on the way home to pick up Halloween costumes
-  More experience for Seth and Tara at seeing challenging parenting in action. What to do about Lauren's tantrum over not being able to buy an un-priced certain candy? What to do after she throws away the replacement candy twice? How about throw the replacement candy out of the minivan so that it's permanently gone?
- We think that seeing kids be kids and parents handle their kids is wonderful experience for us.

- Denise's Mom as babysitter. The four of us out to dinner at the restaurant where Hugo and Denise's friend were working when they met more than ten years ago. (not the exact restaurant as it's closed, but the same named-restaurant)
- Peanuts on the floor, tasty beer cheese soup
- GREAT conversation

- A brief morning together before departing

- Good suggestion to pass time at the International Plaza Mall before flying out

- Being "profiled" at Delta and having to accompany our checked bag to a special XRay machine. Then having to take EVERYTHING out of our carry ons at the gate. Last on the plane.


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