Thursday, March 31, 2011

20 Beaches and Counting: Tampa Bay, Florida

Located on the Gulf of Mexico side of the state of Florida, Tampa Bay reminds me of a time in my life when I took my first adventurous leap into the world of travel. I was 17 and had never been on a plane before. After learning that a great-uncle (whom I had never met) was living in Florida, I decided at that moment to book a flight to Tampa and embark on my first real trip.

I booked a flight on USAir (I still remember the airline) and flew to Tampa to meet my great uncle. He was lovely and so was his neighbour, Naomi. What I remember most about that trip were evening walks with Naomi, a visit to Tarpon Springs to buy sea sponges, my first taste of Tropicana-brand orange juice (we didn't have it in Canada back then), spending a day at Sea World, and a church experience I will never forget. I was a church-goer in those days, so one Sunday morning Naomi took me to her church - a drive-in church. If you think of the drive-in movie concept, it was pretty much the same. We drove to the back of the church and parked in clear view of the the pastor's podium, which was located behind a glass window on the second floor of the church for all the people in cars to see. I can't recall how we heard the sermon.. it was probably a channel on the radio we had to tune in to. I had never seen anything like it - you could literally attend church wearing your pajamas.

That first trip seems so long ago now, but I still get the same feeling of excitement when I travel today. It was just the beginning!

This is the second post in the "20 Beaches and Counting" series. In my first post I share the first beach of my childhood.

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