Weekend in Naples
So Chris had a conference in Naples this weekend. That's the west coast of Florida, for you non-Floridians. You know, from my house if you drive east you fall into the ocean in about one city block. If you drive west, it would take you about two hours to fall into the Gulf of Mexico. That's where Naples is, on the coast.
Chris had a conference to attend Saturday, so I was left to my own devices. I had big plans, involving cameras and wildlife areas and sunrises, but the hotel had cable. (We canceled ours, remember.) And there was Law & Order on. Chris had a dinner Friday night and then we went out and it was his night to drink, so we didn't even get back to the hotel until about midnight anyhow. And oh Lord, you should have seen him. There is NOTHING more annoying than a drunk person when you are stone-cold sober. AAAYYYYY. Highlight of the night: I was allowing myself one drink, and I chose well. LYCHEE MARTINI. Yummiest thing ever.
So anyway, Saturday it turned out to rain all day anyway. We had a pretty serious balcony, so I could see the rain everywhere around us in the distance. It was cool. So I stayed in the room and watched some TV and got some coffee and stuff like that.
That's the view.
Trees! From the balcony
Oh yeah, when we got there we went to the Whole Foods there so I could stock up on healthy food and avoid having to eat bad-for-you and expensive food out the whole weekend. I stand by my idea that eating out is wonderful, but it should be an occasion and entertainment, not just convenience.
So anyway, while Chris was at dinner, I got to eat this:
Yeah, yeah, baby.. $7 fruit pie. SO GOOD. And it's just fruit and almonds and dates!
Saturday Chris was all hungover and feeling bad, so when he got done with his conference at 3, he took a nap (!!!) and I went outside.
I was trying to figure out how I could get into the swampy area we could see from the balcony, but there were gates that prevented that, so I grabbed my bike and started to ride. I got just a few blocks away and found a gated-off area that I quickly ducked into to check out. I saw birds and water and fun stuff like that.... So I started taking some pictures. Soon enough, a golf cart came zipping by. Yeah, I was right next to a golf course. On it, just not in view of it yet.
Golf course flower
Golf course butterfly
People in Naples LOVE golf. I have never seen so many golf courses in my life. Every ten feet. So many housing developments advertised GOLF COURSE LIVING. Seriously... okay, I understand liking something, but COME ON.
So anyway, I spent a good hour and a half snapping non-keeper pictures and just enjoying the quiet and the beautiful (HOT, HUMID) weather.
Then I rode to the Target on my bike so I could buy Chris something to wear.
See, people in Naples are also VERY RICH. It's one of the wealthiest cities in the country. And what did Chris bring to wear when we went out?
This outfit, basically, except it wasn't a nice new Steelers t-shirt, it was an old, dingy Our Place (local hangout) shirt. And light-brown swim trunks. With Crocs, of course. This pic was taken in Key West and while I have NO PROBLEM with him dressing like that there, Naples is NOT Key West. We drove by the place we were going to go out Friday night and there was a guy in a SUIT outside smoking. And Chris was wearing swim trunks. AGGH.
So I got him this for Saturday night:
See? Real shorts. And SLEEVES! No armpits! He was COMPLAINING TO DEATH, like I had just made him put on a fucking tux... while in actuality it was a super soft, 100% cotton nice shirt and some cargo shorts. Which he insisted were too small for him even though they fit him PERFECT. He looked really nice. :) And he still got to wear his Crocs, only now they matched.
Oh, look where our room was:
I guess places are starting to stop this whole superstitious no-13th floor business.
Oh, OK, so we were actually in Bonita Springs, about a half hour from Naples. And the place is, like, my hell. Like the whole Naples-Bonita Springs area just felt like CORAL SPRINGS for those of you who that means something to. Mega pedestrian-unfriendly. Tons of housing developments named things like Turtle Run and Pelican Landing when you know they drained and tore down anything that would make it a place where turtles or pelicans could live. It was just awful. I spent the whole time marveling how anyone could live there. To add to that, it's still very much UNDER development, rather than being already developed, like where I live. And trust me, it's much more depressing when you're watching somewhere go from what it looked like off the hotel balcony to what it looked like on the hotel grounds. I stood and stared off the balcony and wondered how long those trees and that swampy area (with wading birds!) would be there. Sad.
And on my 10-mile bike ride I did not see not even ONE pedestrian or other person on a bike. Not one! Just cars. And we were on the main drag (Tamiami Trail). SO WEIRD.
Oh, and everything was deserted too. I guess the recession has hit that part of Florida BAD, combined with its really extreme seasonality.
This was at like 5 p.m. on a Saturday.
And that's how most of the shopping centers looked. Ft Myers is closeby and I think it has the highest unemployment & foreclosure rates in Florida.
Saturday night we met Dean & Meredith out for my one eat-out meal of the weekend at Truluck's which was INSANELY DELICIOUSLY YUMMY. OMG. Meredith brought her friends.
Sunday I dragged Chris to Delnor-Wiggins beach in Naples, which is a park and a nice section of beach free from development. Notably, there were sand dollars EVERYWHERE. Everywhere! You walked on them when you were in the water.. I picked a bunch of out of the water to check them out and there were BABY CRABS that were so tiny on them. I wanted a picture but didn't want to take them out of the water for long, so alas..
This little girl was so cute, playing in the water.
There were tons of birds at Delnor-Wiggins on the beach too, and I have like a hundred pics of a few different kinds of birds running around, but picking a few keepers is really hard since birds are USUALLY quite pretty, by nature. I have to find a sandpiper picture and put it up, though, since they are so cute. OH, there was a manatee in the water, right by where I was, but I was talking to some lady and her husband was right there and he made some noise of surprise when he saw it that basically scared it away. SMOOTH MOVE, DUDE.
Some other bird. Also cute.
Then we went to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, something run by Audubon. It's like a half-hour from Naples the city, but is still in "Naples." We were kinda hurrying through since we wanted to get home at a decent time, but did the 3-mile trail and were able to enjoy it.
It smelled SO GOOD there. Like plants. Like Costa Rica. It made me realize I need to go to places like that more often. And back to Costa Rica.
I saw a deer there, up close.. And I even had my camera out, but I knew that clicking the shutter would ruin it and he'd run away, so I just held my breath and enjoyed the moment. :)
Doesn't it look like it's floating?
Chris saw this and said, "I guess Oreo's been here." Hehe.
That's water under that green stuff! Am I weird.. I just wanted to go wading in it so bad.
Innit pretty? I wish this were scratch & sniff.
The tree trunks are works of art
There are lots of tall trees there. LOVE IT.
So that was Naples. We got home at 7 p.m. or so on Sunday and we were SO TIRED but I was glad that we took advantage of the fact we were over there to see some cool stuff.