15 February 2009
Sightseeing in Sarasota
We had all day on Valentine's Day to see the sights in Sarasota, after Chris and Mirna's wedding on Friday. At the Mote Aquarium we saw exotic fish - fish that didn't quite look like fish - fish with both eyes on one side of their body or with strange, ugly spines or with fins like manes. We hung out with sea turtles, watched the dolphins paint valentines, and peeked tentatively at the lengthly tentacles of the dead giant squid on display. When we left there we headed back over to St. Armand's Circle which was packed with people. Traffic moved slow and parking wasn't promising until by some Valentine's Day miracle we managed to squeeze our rented, plump Chevy Caliber into a spot only a block off the circle. The circle is where the Ferrari, Porsche, et. al. show was and so we spent the next little while looking at exotic cars - cars that didn't quite look like cars - cars with doors that open up instead of out, cars with engines in the back instead of the front, cars with unaccommodating shapes and unusual colors.
We left St. Armand's Circle and headed back over the water (so much water! so many palm trees! what a place, this strange "Florida") to get back to downtown where we grabbed a plenteous pasta lunch, with doppios for dessert, to tide us over until Valentine's Day dinner at Marina Jack where the food was good, all the women wore red, and the server was above average.
But before that delicious dinner, we did make it to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art (Ringling as in Ringling Bros. and as in Ringling College of Art and Design) where we had just enough time to see the miniature circus - stunning in scope for how it effectively conveys with such small figurines just how vast an endeavor the circus was in its hey day - the larger circus exhibit, with actual fixtures, trailers, and signs - and the Ca' de Zan - the "House of John" (Ringling) which is an exquisite and unique Venetian mansion which has been sitting on the waterfront, replete with gorgeousness inside and out, since 1926.
We had a pristine day of sightseeing together - a good way to spend the 14th day of February, which also happens to be Valentine's Day.