Monday, December 15, 2014

Block Party, TSO Concert, NBA Game... Very Active Few Days!

(Avon Park, FL) Hi: mid-70's Lo: mid-40's -- We're in another cool spell, but with the daily highs in the 70's we're not complaining. Besides, it shouldn't last long. At least it feels more like the Christmas season that way.

This past Wednesday we went to our first block party here in the park. Residents who live within loosely-defined areas (blocks) periodically get together at one place and get to know each other and snack on finger food. Sort of like what we call in the RV community a happy hour. We met some new friends and had a great time. (Click on the photos to enlarge them.)

Our friends Vi and Kevin moved in behind us on Friday. We met them several years ago in North Carolina, and they've been full timers for almost two years. They were staying down in Okeechobee and decided to come here for a change of scenery. They'll be here through the winter.

We had a very busy weekend. On Saturday we drove to the Amalie Center in Tampa to see a concert by the Trans Siberian Orchestra (TSO).

This is the arena about a half hour before showtime.

TSO is one of our favorite musical groups. They combine classical and rock music into a bombastic sound and light show that's an assault on your senses. The show is partly a narrated Christmas story based on one of their several Christmas albums, interspersed with many stand-alone songs, all very loud and bright.

We've seen TSO several times in the past, but we always enjoy their show. It was an afternoon show, so when we headed back to the car we had a beautiful view from the top deck of our parking garage of the Tampa skyline in twilight.

On Sunday we got to spend the whole day with our friends Mike and Terri. They're workamping at a COE park near Ft. Myers. Jim is a Miami Heat fan and Mike is a Chicago Bulls fan, so we got some tickets to see the Heat play the Bulls at American Airlines Arena in Miami. They drove east, and we drove south, to meet up in Clewiston. We then continued on to Miami in their car. Our route down US 27 went through the sugar cane fields around Lake Okeechobee.

We also drove through the vast swamps of the everglades. It's always a culture shock as we leave our quiet, country lifestyle here in Central Florida, drive through all those miles of nothingness, and then all of a sudden we're in the non-stop traffic and hectic lifestyle of the Ft. Lauderdale and Miami area.

Our first stop in Miami was for lunch at the Versailles restaurant in the Little Havana district. Versailles is one of the most famous Cuban restaurants in Miami, but how it got a French name I'll never know. During lunch I took the opportunity to get a picture of Mike and Terri.

After lunch we had a few hours to kill before the 6pm game, so with the help of Google Maps on Jim's smart phone we embarked on a driving tour of Miami Beach. We went past the Miami cruise port, where several ships were getting ready to depart.

We've been to Miami Beach before, but this was Mike and Terri's first visit, and like us they were amazed at how the "one percent" love to show off their wealth. Wherever you see water (and there's a LOT of water around Miami Beach) you see yachts... BIG yachts.

This one was really spectacular. A quick check of its name on Google (Attessa IV) revealed that it's owned by a billionaire named Dennis Washington.

It's 332 feet long and is worth about $250 million. And notice it has a helicopter on the deck. Wow!

Another thing you'll see in the Miami area is fancy cars. We saw several Ferraris and Rolls Royces, but this Lamborghini was a real eye opener. Is is really gold plated?

Probably not, but it sure is a shiny gold paint job!

We couldn't visit Miami Beach without putting our feet in some sand.

It was time to make our way back to the mainland to the American Airlines Arena.

We got there early enough to enjoy all the pregame warm-ups and festivities.

Finally, the game was on.

The experience of watching a live NBA game was great, but the game itself wasn't the best. The Bulls beat the Heat pretty handily 93-75, making Mike happy. (Jim, not so much.)  :)

The game ended around 8:30, and after about a 30-minute delay getting our of our parking lot, we were back on the road for the trip home. US 27 is one dark road at night! We said goodbye to Mike and Terri in Clewiston, got in our car and made it back home right at midnight.

It was a wonderful, action-filled weekend! Thanks Mike and Terri for joining us and making the weekend very special. We'll see you again soon.

And to our readers, see you in a few days.


Phyllis said...

Quite a busy few days. I'd have a hard time remembering it all!

Mike and Terri said...

Thank you, Jim and Dee, for a GREAT day!!! Thanks, also, for guiding us through the driving tour. We really enjoyed spending the day with you two. Go Bulls!

Gail Houle said...

Looks like you all had a great time! Sure glad "your" team won! :)

See you all soon :)

Bob and Jo said...

What a great few days

Laurel Owen said...

What a fun day with Mike & Terri :) I can't even imagine what opulence there is in Miami, wow!