Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Florida: It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

Hello hello, my amigos. And guess what?

I am already back in Portland. So much for my "grand adventure."

I don't really know what I was expecting in Florida. Probably sunshine and alligators and streets full of very tan, muscular men who walk around shirtless because of the heat. Or something along those lines.

It didn't take long for me to discover that my destination was a place that looks like Alabama.

I swear I could hear banjo music in the distance...
What was that noise overhead?  Oh, you know, just an alien spacecraft...
Okay, so I've never actually been to Alabama, but I assume that it looks ugly and dead like that.

Everything was flat and covered in a combination of scraggly little trees and grass that needed to be watered.  Billboards promoting fundamental religious beliefs lined the highway.  There was not a single hipster in sight - instead, it seemed that everyone was overweight and attempting to keep their unruly flab inside their tight clothes while drinking a large ice tea from the one Starbucks in town.

It should also be noted that I had to explain to a barista in that one Starbucks how to make me a cup of basic, brewed coffee.  I realize that I'm beginning to sound like a snob, but it was all a bit shocking.

Landing in a household that assumed I was a "liberal, green peace, tree-hugging hippy freak" simply because I asked where the recycling bin was didn't do much for my opinion of Central Florida.  It didn't help that I was obliviously drinking decaf every morning.  Anyway, it wasn't long until I wanted to go home.

In fact, all I could think of was Portland - my friends, my family, decent coffee, trash cans that say "LAND FILL" on them, the quirky night clubs, etc.  So when I got a text asking if I could house-sit in Southeast, I quickly replied "YES" and booked a return flight to the Pacific Northwest. 

It wasn't a worthless adventure - I feel as though I gained a lot of insight on the rest of the country as well as myself and how truly West Coast I am.  I also got to spend a day at the beach, try a lot of weird Latin food (I stayed in a bilingual household), and see Cirque Du Soleil for free (I happened to be in the right place at the right time and some random guy named Ted handed me a ticket he couldn't, so awesome).  So that's all good stuff.

Sticking my feet in The Atlantic Ocean

Hanging out with some seagulls

A bit of beautiful scenery
Embracing the campy side of Orlando
Eating yucca con chicharon (or, those potato-type things with pork skins on top)

I also took advantage of the moderately abysmal scenery and shot a music video when no one was looking.  I only took one take because I wasn't entirely sure where I was and those big black birds were beginning to circle above me (vultures, perhaps?), but I think it turned out okay.

Anyway, it feels incredibly good to be back in the town that still honors the dream of the 90's.

Except I'm not really back in town - I'm staying at my parents' house in the country.  But that's a small detail. 


(Note:  If you are reading this and you are from Central Florida or anywhere in The South, please do not take offensive to this post.  I do not have anything against you - I've just lived in Portland my entire life and found your Bible Belt shocking.  Take everything I say with a grain of organic kosher salt.)


  1. This is the post I am going to send my friend next time he's like "come out to San Fransisco." I have lived on the East Coast my whole life and the south for 90% of it. I can't imagine a world with hills and a place where hipsters are common (and not something spotted like a bigfoot).

  2. At least you got free Cirque de Soleil out of it, along with some affirmation about what you like. So it sounds like a pretty worthwhile adventure to me. And I am shocked that someone who works at Starbucks didn't know how to brew coffee. That's insane!

  3. You were probably dreaming of Key West or Miami and ended up in the most boring place on earth. People forget that Florida isn't all orange trees and Disney World.

    It's like people saying they're from New York, then you find out they're really from Buffalo, NY.

  4. Nice music video! I miss the 90s too, especially because for a good part of that decade it was considered cool to wear baggy clothes and not brush my hair every day. And I think it's good that you went to Florida. Like you said, it helped you figure out where you really wanted to be.

  5. Living in Boston I don't think I could handle central FL. I like recycling and my Starbucks made right!

    I'm sure Portland missed you too.

  6. I was wondering about that -- I could have sworn I saw a tweet from you about being in Portland.

    I will watch the music vid when I get home from -- bet its awesome.

    I can't say I've ever seen that part of Florida, but I would likely be in as much shock as you.

    Speaking of. Y'know, if you ever get the urge to randomly travel again, you should so just come up to Toronto ;)

  7. I'm from FL, and by FL I mean MIAMI. Maybe give it another chance and go there, you'll see beefy oiled guys, wild colors and way less Bible Belters!

  8. I laughed at your description of your adventure! Glad that you are back where you belong. Opposites don't always attract.

  9. you must be so happy to be back on the west coast! florida is not really my speed either. it's very flat, doesn't strike me as a place with a ton of character. i've been to Miami and that was fun for a short getaway, but i couldn't imagine living in FL!

  10. This is hilarious. My parents have a house in FL and some of your observations are spot on. I just discovered your blog - well done! Check out mine if you get a sec at

  11. I have family in Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.

    The South is the only place in the world that you will ever see the words "Hamburger Helper," on a restaurant menu.

    Also, billboards that say things like, "Pornography Destroys, Jesus Saves."

    I'm an Angeleno all the way, but I can't say I don't get a kick out of my southern family members. Reunions are filled with shot guns, four wheelers and moonshine. (Yes, real and actual moonshine.)

    Of course, they are also filled with my intoxicated aunt telling me I will go to Hell if I don't find Jesus.

  12. I am from central Florida(winter park) and there great community of real coffee shops that serve organic coffee to go with your organic kosher salt... (Starbucks is just as lame as walmart) there are plenty of art galleries, attractive people, and beautiful plush landscapes and recycling programs! We also have an excellent music scene.. There are beautiful rivers, natural preserves, great restaurants and it's just a shame you weren't exposed to that. I honestly have no idea how people live in the fog and snow for 8 months at a time.. When I liven in Chicago I thought I was going to go crazy without the fl sun and my experience with the pacific northwest has been a mixture of beautiful landscapes and flakey folks.


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