Thursday, October 6, 2011

First Day on the Florida Atlantic Coast -OR- Daytona (Beach) 500 (Family) Speedway

Sunrise over the ocean from Daytona Beach, Fla., as seen from the 9th floor of the Daytona Beach Regency hotel, 7:30AM, Oct. 5, 2011.

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Hello blog and Gentle Reader...

This is a VERY not so short update from one of the two hotel computers. Of note, Google / Blogger asked me to verify that it was really me (and not a "hijacker") and also I cannot find the recycle bin on this computer to delete the images I am uploading from the desktop (since I don't want them there). However, I cannot find that recycle bin -- but neither can I find an image file by name anywhere on the computer once I have deleted it.

The gurgling Atlantic Ocean surf, Daytona Beach, Fla., 11:06AM, Oct. 5, 2011.

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All in all, it's scary-accessible and overly restrictive at the same time. Actually, I'm a bit impressed with Google for doing that.

The Daytona Beach Pier on the northside (the lettering reads "Daytona Beach Pier Restaurant"), Daytona Beach, Fla., 11:01AM, Oct. 5, 2011. (The pier is actually closed for renovations.)

I didn't get any pictures of the really cool Cretaceous looking pelicans that fly around here.

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All that aside, I am here in Daytona Beach and it has so far (about 36 hours into the 8-day trip) been a very interesting one. The flight was fine -- and I had a spectacular up-river take off from National Airport.

The National Mall including the Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol Building, as well as downtown D.C., as seen from the Delta flight 2339 from DCA to ATL at take off, 12:06PM, Oct. 4, 2011.

Yes, I had a right side seat (39F) and the jet had an up-river take off. And, yes, I had to have my cellphone on in a stealth way in order to take this picture. I could have ended up in Gitmo for life.

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The flight to Atlanta was fine, except for the time at Hartsfield - Jackson Int'l Airport. Oh, and flying over Atlanta reminded me why I could NEVER live there. (And it's no wonder The Weather Channel flourishes in this place.)

On approach to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) (visible just below the middle of the wing) with Metro Atlanta, including Stone Mountain, seen below,l 1:14PM, Oct. 4, 2011.

Didn't Martin Luther King, Jr., mention Stone Mountain in his I Have a Dream Speech??

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Descending into ATL, 1:19PM, Oct. 4, 2011.

Atlanta -- a souped-up, more Southernized version of Northern Virginia -- is everything I can't abide in an American city, but let's save that topic for another entry. I also have childhood memories of changing flights at ATL from 1980 and 1981, but we'll save that one, too.

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My ginormous bed at the Daytona Beach Regency (room 906), Daytona Beach, Fla., 9:56AM, Oct. 5, 2011.

My "room" in the hotel is a full-fledged apartment. It is absolutely lovely (even if far too big for what I'm comfortable with). This bed alone is about half the size of my efficiency back home.

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Anyway, long story short, I am at the Daytona Beach Regency, and the room is just beautiful -- more of a decent-sized apartment than anything else. I'm on the 9th floor and have a (partial) lovely view of the ocean that includes sunrise at this time of year. Oh, and I got it at a great rate, about a third what it should cost.

Daytona Beach pier southside (from the beach), Daytona Beach, Fla., 11:02AM, Oct. 5, 2011.

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Even longer story short, my dad stayed overnight (he drove down from Flagler Beach) after a lot of difficulty / drama trying to find where I was and trying to meet him (this is a whole entry unto itself).

We had a very nice time and all was fine -- including our dinner last night at the Bubba Gump restaurant at the Ocean Walk Shoppes place here in the "center" of Daytona Beach.

The gently roiled surf looking north, Daytona Beach, Fla., 11:07AM, Oct. 5, 2011. (If you went about 20 miles north of here, you would arrive at where my dad lives.)

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However, he went back to Flager Beach to get his ATM card in order to go to a local Wal-Mart to buy a computer. But he brought his girlfriend down and after about 30 minutes, after I had enjoyed a nice late morning swim in the ocean and early lunch / daiquiri drink, and was back in the room, it quickly devolved into everything I feared / totally knew it would as she started yelling this or that at me.

Here is a really stealth picture I took with my cellphone camera on the flight from ATL to Daytona Beach Int'l Airport (DAB) -- the jet was crowded wiht old people and the flight attendants were everywhere. We were over Flagler County around the area called "The Hammock" or the north side of Flagler Beach (very near where my dad lives), about 5:15PM, Oct. 4, 2011.

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In the end, I said, "OUT! OUT! I WANT YOU BOTH OUT! IF YOU'RE NOT OUT IN 5 MINUTES, I'M CALLING SECURITY!!"

I felt like Mr. Sirius talking to me.

I will explain in a later entry why I was so upset. Anyway, they both left very quickly, and I've yet to hear from him. I hope I see him again for dinner or something, but if not, sobeit. MOSTLY, I was just trying to get her out, but I was mad he brought her -- insistently -- along for the ride.

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Yours truly having an early lulunch and early banana daiquiri at the beachside / pooldeck bar to the Daytona Beach Regency, 11:34AM, Oct. 5, 2011.

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As for the rest of the day, I was able to get a hotel room at the nearby Hilton for Friday night -- thanks to my mom, who SWUNG into action when I called her at work and told her all that transpired. She actually bought the one night for me. The issue was that I could not get a Friday night here in the hotel. I owe her, like, $112 now. And there I was giving hotel check-in person my cellphone to talk to my mom ...

The Daytona Beach Regency (right side) and one of the two Ocean Walk towers (right side), 110:19AM, Oct. 5, 2011. The latter is about 22 stories and much higher than the former, but the rooms in the former are quite large and very nice. I'm not sure about the other hotel.

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Tonight, I went to a bar called Mai Tai, where I had a gay bartender who told me of the one or two gay places in Daytona Beach to go, and I had a nice conversation with a fellow named Doug, and another 22-year old Iraq veteran stationed now at Fort Hood, Texas who was waiting for a girl to show up.

Ocean Walk Shoppes area at night, Daytona Beach, Fla., 9:56PM, Oct. 5, 2011.

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I then walked back to the hotel on the beach. It was very low tide. As for the weather, the morning sunshine had given way to squally afternoon showers and a very gusty wind off the ocean.

But at that point, it was simply sublime with the big puffy maritime tropical (mT) cumulus congestus clouds playing hide-and-go-seek with the stars; a very low tide and flat, wet expansive beach with a gurgling - swishing ocean whose surf was wanly lit by the lights of the hotels along the beach; and a balmy, delightful wind. It was sublime.

I also had a wonderful song in my head whose lyrics I adapted but now I can't recall (in part because this hotel has genteel music piped in throughout) with lots of Sade (also wonderful).

Daytona Beach morning, 10:20AM, Oct. 5, 2011.

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Anyway, I am still scheduled to leave on that Amtrak-arranged taxi from Daytona Beach to Deland on Saturday morning in order to start phase two of this trip down in Deerfield Beach / Boca Raton before returning via Fort Lauderdale (FLL) on Wednesday.

Yours Truly on Flight 1019 (Seat 18A, I think), on the tarmac at ATL waiting to take off for DAB, 4:04PM, Oct. 4, 2011.

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That's all for now. If I can update this blog again while I'm down here, it will be in South Florida.

Bu'bye.

--Regulus

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