Etikettarkiv: Palm Harbor

”It’s paradise on Earth”

When Lars and I was in Greece a couple of years ago we met a man who had emigrated to Florida in the 70’s and had come back to start a restaurant in the village on Karpathos where he was born. Since Greece’s economy isn’t peaking right now his restaurant wasn’t doing very well, but we had an interesting conversation about politics. When he talked about America his voice got dreamy. Florida – it’s paradise on Earth he told us.

I have now spent a week in Florida and I’m not sure if I agree. Don’t get me wrong, I have had a great time. But I need more out of a place to call it Paradise. In my opinion Greek islands are closer to paradise, but everyone is different. Disney World is situated about 1,5 hours from here but all of Florida has a Disney World feeling to it – like it isn’t for real. The buildings are too pretty, the AC is too cold, there are too many wealthy old people. At the same time – the climate is wonderful – even though the weather has been bad while I’ve been here (with Florida standards) it’s like a perfectly fine Swedish summer. But tropical – cool birds, stingrays that you can see from the boardwalk and white powdery beaches.

And once again I have been taken care of by lovely people. I already wrote about my distant relatives that let me stay in their house. We’ve embrabaced their Swedish heritage and we cooked meatballs from scratch and did cinnamon buns. in Swedish that would be perfect kids’ food but i guess American kids have different preferences. But the grown ups liked it at least.

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Baking cinnamon buns with Lincoln, Elizabeth and Heather.

Swedish and American food culture is different in many ways, I knew that and was prepared to gain weight since there is a love of sugar and deep fried in this country. But one thing I didn’t expect was that so few people sit down and eat a home cooked meal together. Most places i have stayed in doesn’t have a dinner table. You eat standing up, or in the couch, semi finished food or finished food (I don’t know if that’s the right translation but I am trying to write halv- and helfabrikat). Since I have adapted to American food culture very well it felt so good coking for a good amount of hours (we made meatballs out of 4 pounds or 2 kgs of meat). And the cinnamon buns took us 24 hours, because we ran out of time after we had made the dough, so we let them raise in the fridge over night and until the next afternoon. And by then the dough was so cold it took forever to flatten it to make the rolls. But the longer it takes to cook something – the better it tastes.

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I found this on the lawn a couple of days after our baking adventure…

This week has been all about family life and skating. And combining these two things. It was a really fun experience to go to family skate at a skating rink on Wednesday night. We danced and raced and played around on skates and I was so impressed by all the kids’ skating skills. I wish i could skate like that. I feel like i need to start a skating rink back home, since they don’t exist in Sweden and they are so much fun. I just need to win the lottery first. At family night I was the only one wearing any kind of protection and the only one who hurt myself falling. I hyper extended my hip when I accidentally did a split after tripping on my own toe stop racing an 8 year old icehockey player. At least I feel better now.

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I skated with some kids.

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I am related to all these people. Even though it’s a distant relation, just think about it – there are so many people all over the world that we are related to without knowing it. Pretty cool.

The next day I skated about 14 miles or 22 km to Clearwater beach. Part of the skate was a really high bridge, but if you bend your knees enough when skating almost anything is possible. I need to keep reminding myself of that, because I’m one of these skaters who get lazy and quit bending my knees. On the other side of that bridge one of those white powdery beaches waited for me. I didn’t go swimming because it was windy and quite cold, but I sat down at a luxurious beach bar and had three drinks, which made me really drunk because I hadn’t had enough water during my skate. I guess why that’s the three drinks went down so easily.

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Vulvo on top of the (world) bridge.

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I didn’t go swimming, but the beach still posed for a picture.

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The sun set in the Mexican Gulf while I waited for the bus.

Everyone in the roller derby community that I have told I’m visiting Tampa has gotten hearts in their eyes and said ”Aaaaaaaaaaaaaw, I love the Tampa girls”. I am ready to agree with that. At WFTDA Champs in Nashville I met this girl at the after party. We spoke for about 5 minutes and we just had enough time for her to tell me she was Panty Bandit from Tampa and me saying ”I’m going there soon”. Then she gave me her name so I could add her on Facebook, which i did. So when I got here I contacted her and she gave me a ride to Daytona Beach where the roller derby tournament State Wars was held over the weekend. She also hooked me up with some of her teammates who I shared a hotel room with. What a great bunch of people.

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This is me and PhDiesel, who I shared beds with at State wars.

The first night in Daytona i met two girls from Texas in the jacuzzi. It was obvious that they were roller derby players so I started to talk to them. Since we were right on the beach we decided to go skinny dipping together. Half way to the water we realised that we hadn’t introduced ourselves. So we did. And then we ran naked into the water.

Sharing beds or swimming naked with strangers would feel super weird to do with other people. But with roller derby people it just makes sense.

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Last day of the tournament I got a little sick of derby, yes it is possible, so I went to the beach by myself. I put on my angriest selfie face to show to the world how nice it is to take a swim in the warm ocean (but people from Florida told me it was cold).

I’m headed out for a day of skating with the Tampa girls (aaaaw, I love them). Tomorrow I’m off to Austin. Didn’t have time for photos this time – but there are videos and photos on both my Instagram and Facebook if you are super curious.

xx

Vulvo

Below are some photos taken after this blog post was written, but that still belongs in the Florida section of this blog:

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Lunch Lady and Panty Bandit from Tampa Roller Derby took me to a skate park in a convertible Mustang on my last day in Florida. It was close to 30 degrees Celcius and a perfect way to finish off the Florida part of this trip. 

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This is us at the skate park, as you can see it was warm and that combined with skating made our faces so shiny and T-shirts so wet. I am not that much taller than lunch lady. I am still wearing my skates.IMG_7762

Tampa Roller Derby invited me to a Thanksgiving Scrimmage with a Pot Luck dinner (knytkalas) afterwards. Aaaaw I love them.

 

Time traveling. And piss (again)

If New Orleans was like a journey back in time, the 15 hour long bus ride to Palm Harbor, Florida was a time travel back to the present. A very stereotypical American present.

On my last day in Louisiana I went on a kayaking tour in Manchac Swamp. 99 years ago there were people living in that swamp, but then a big hurricane came and killed them all, except for maybe four people – and they never moved back. You can still see poles from their homes sticking up from the water. The ghost of voodoo princess Julie White is supposedly haunting the Manchac Swamp. Legend has it that White used to sit on her front porch and predict the destruction of close towns and sing, “One day I’m gonna die, and I’m gonna take all of you with me”. On the day of her funeral in 1915, the hurricane struck the area and wiped out three towns.

I’m telling you. It’s gonna happen again and again and again. These levees won’t save you from voodoo hurricanes, I am sorry New Orleans.

The kayaking was beautiful and I wasn’t so scared actually, not even of the alligators. We only saw one, a baby, but apparently there are heaps of them there. We saw the nest of two bald eagles and a couple of herons/egrets that apparently are two different birds in English, but the same in Swedish – hägern. After 2 hours of kayaking I needed to pee so much I wasn’t even enjoying myself anymore. I tried to ask if there was any way I could go to shore and pee, but either it was dangerous because of alligators or they didn’t understand my pain. And the pain was real. The tour went on for 45 more minutes. I have never had to pee so much in my life. Every paddle stroke made my bladder feel like it was going to explode.I thought about peeing in small juice bottle, but realized it would be too small and that it wasn’t socially acceptable in the group i was in. Then i thought of just peeing in my pants, but realized that would be rude towards the guy who was gonna drive me back in his new and clean car, so i paddled, and paddled, faster than I ever have before, against the wind, thinking i might die from a broken bladder. As soon as we got to shore I ran into the bushes, after I realized that that wasn’t really socially acceptable either. But that was really the best I could do.

But even if I somewhat peed all over my swamp experience, I had a great time.

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Killa, the coast guard/tuna fisher I wrote about in my last blog post and Venus EnVie, roommate of Hennessy Williams and therefor also my host in Nola.

The afternoon I spent packing and actually eating alligator. Just an alligator sausage and it tasted like any sausage. I felt a little bad for eating it, but since I am a meat eater and someone told me it was good i gave it a try.

The very last hours in Nola I spent with Abeata Applebum, who is a jammer for Big Easy Rollergirls and also skates for the Moxi Skate Team in a skate park. I was definitely a little better than the last time i tried. Still far from dropping in, but I atleast attempted a stall, even though it just meant I was clinging on to the bars at the top of the ramp. It was so much fun and inspired me so much I went straight to Facebook to take the initiative to a Swedish chapter of the Chicks in Bowls movement.

Third time ever in a skate park. Not a pro yet, but at least I am having fun. Should have cut out all the crappy parts of this, but I couldn’t be bothered.

After skating I went back to the house, grabbed my stuff and went to the bus station. As I have written before I had been warned about all the shady people on the Greyhounds and up until now I thought it was very exaggerated. But a night bus through the deep south changed my view on that. I have never seen so many criminal looking people at the same time as I did on the Mobile bus station at 2 in the morning. I was happy I didn’t shower after skating and that i was wearing dirty clothes, because all I wanted to do was to blend in, to look like the methhead girl sitting next to me. Nothing bad happened, and no-one was threatening me, but let’s just say there were more people with tear drop tattoos than not there. I was sure the amount of tear drops were the same as the number of people you have killed, but Lars informed me it could also mean the number of gang members one has lost to make me feel better. I just googled it and it can apparently also mean the number of times you have been raped in jail.

After a long and sleepless night I finally made it to Tampa, where my relative Heather picked me up at the bus station and drove me back to her home. Apparently our grandmothers were cousins, but to make it easy we say that we are cousins. She has been to Sweden and visited when she was 14, but I was just born then so i don’t remember much of that encounter. We went back to their home in Palm Harbor, in a neighbourhood that feels like Desperate Housewives with a jungle twist. I started unpacking in a room with 500 stuffed toys and a huge Mickey Mouse rug when I sensed a very unpleasant smell – cat piss. I had brought the smell of piss with me from New Orleans. One of the cats, I don’t know which one, had peed in my bag as a good bye present. My ”Welcome to Nashville”-poster that Phantom Power is pee stained, the lining of my bag smells horrible, and so does my new fancy high heels. The rest of the smelly clothes are at least washable. At first I thought it was my derby clothes that smelled so badly, but I’m happy it wasn’t because I would feel very bad about myself if that was the smell of my body odor.

So without sleep or food for 15 hours and with the smell of cat piss in my bag we went straight to Lincolns sixth birthday party. And this is where time traveling really happened. Not only had I left 1800-something Nola, I had arrived in neon light, bouncy castle- jungle desperate housewives land. Not because I think any of the adults at the party were anything like the characters in the series, it’s about architecture and city planning. I’m not sure what age that is though. Maybe it’s a very 2014 setting?

It was really fun and interesting to attend a very American B’day party. It was very different from the ones I used to have when i was a kid. It’s often Easter on my birthday, so we mainly dressed up as Easter witches and begged for candy.

Heather’s three year old daughter Elizabeth took an instant liking to me. She also calls me her cousin. Elizabeth is so cool – she roller skates and always wear a Super Girl costume. She is also very tough. One day she’ll become a great roller derby player. We played in the bouncy castles and the slides together until the lack of sleep and hunger caught up on me and I wandered around Jungle Bounce like a ghost.

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Heather took proper photos of my first ever American bouncy party. Hopefully I can post them later. If you want to see a video from it there is one on my Instagram.

Tomorrow I’m gonna explore the surroundings, but i felt the water today and with Swedish standards it’s warm. The gulf of Mexico (proudly sponsored by BP oil) is only a mile away. And I will swim in it, even though i apparently brought the cold weather with me from Nola.

/Vulvo in Sunshine State

Below are two of these photos that Heather took:

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Elizabeth and I one one of the slides at Jungle Bounce.

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The Palmer Family and I.