Saturday, November 23, 2013

Saturday in St. Pete

Today Molly and I stayed busy.  First we were off to the race expo to pick up our race bibs.  When we got to the host hotel, we had a choice of (a) spending $12 for hotel parking or (b) using the metered parking on the street.   Naturally we chose street parking.  Except then we discovered we had no change.  Molly noticed that these were fancy meters by which you could pay on the phone, but after a too-long process/wait, we opted for Plan B - ask random strangers for change for $1.  After a few "sorry no change," one dude said he didn't have change, but then searched in his car and came up with four quarters.  We fed the meter and were soon off to the expo to get our stuff.  Of course there was a little shopping, especially when there were racks with stuff 75% off.  And we may have done a little Christmas shopping at the expo for some special people ... 

Anyhow, after an hour (our meter-allotted time), we got back in our car and looked for a store that was having a big sale.  We searched for parking, only to remember that we still had no change, so we ditched that plan and headed back to the hotel and parked the car.

By this time we were getting hungry so we headed for the farmer's market that was in the park across the street from the hotel.  For lunch we had:  dumplings, black beans and rice, caramels, corn cake sandwich, meat sandwich, Nutella crepe, and various samples of this and that.  We headed back to the hotel for a post-lunch siesta.

We decided we needed to get out of the hotel, so we headed for a mall.  There was some discussion as to which mall (communication seemed to break down after lunch) but we finally agreed we would go to the regular mall rather than the outlet mall.  Molly asked Siri for directions, and Siri directed us to a strip mall in an interesting part of town.  Apparently Molly and Siri were having communication difficulties, too.  Eventually they also resolved their issues and we found a parking place at the mall.

We found several stores that seemed empty of customers, so we had plenty of space to shop - and purchase.  We considered having dinner at the food court until we got there and found that approximately six billion high school band members were there eating (and mating as only high schoolers can do).  We opted for a restaurant instead, and were rewarded by possibly the slowest service ever recorded in history (I would mention the restaurant but the last time I discussed a name, I was promptly commented on by the local manager - in not very glowing terms).  Anyhow, eventually we received our food (but no refills on our water) and even later we were given our bill, which we paid and left.

We headed back to the hotel to pack our suitcases, since by the time we finish tomorrow's race it will be close to check-out time.  We also thought it might be beneficial to get a few hours sleep before our 13.1 miles tomorrow!
Today was a great day because:  fun stuff at the expo and race shirts and bibs; shopping and eating at the farmer's market; shopping and eating at the mall

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