Chillin' on the Beach

Trip Start Aug 05, 2006
Trip End Aug 19, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Friday, August 25, 2006

While in Tampa I stayed with Alex and his family. When I first arrived he informed me that the Church of Scientology has a "base" here and that they hold a great deal influence in parts of the city. Although I am no expert on Scientology, after reading about some of their crazy beliefs Wikipedia I was interested to find out more about them. My friend told me that just a week before I arrived the security guards outside their main facility had almost killed a film director making a documentary on cults. Even though he was a little concerned after the previous week incident I convinced Alex to take a drive down by their main facility. When we arrived in the area I noticed a lot of people wearing white shirts and dark slacks. Alex said that this was the standard attire for members of the "Church". He also said that it was common to see members carrying dark briefcases into but never out of buildings especially late at night. I have no idea what this all means but I found it interesting nonetheless. When we cruised by their main building I tried to take a picture from the car window and for the first time ever my flash actually went off during the day time! Alex said about twenty Scientologists standing on the corner all looked at us in unison. Needless to say we got the hell out there before the got Alex's license plate number. I guess we made it out this time but a agree with Alex now that you shouldn't mess with these people unless you want trouble.

I spent most of my time in Tampa just relaxing with friends and dreaming of getting some sun at the beach all day. Unfortunately it stormed almost everyday and I only got to enjoy the sand and surf on my second to last day there. Tampa is a beautiful although slightly crowded city and after spending a week there I can see why. The beaches there are surreal. The sand is like a fine powder under your feet and the Gulf a stunning azure blue that stretches out over the horizon. When I was able to go to the beach I spent most of my time on a semi-private beach known as Honeymoon beach. While most beaches in Tampa are free this beach charges a $1 entry fee per person or $5 per vehicle. This fee is well worth it though because the beach is so deserted during the week it feels like you have it all to yourself.

Also while in Tampa Alex spontaneously decide to get a new tattoo on his arm. I thought he was joking at first but realized he was actually serious when we walked into the tattoo parlor. He got a yin and yang symbol with his wife's name written above it. Alex you're crazy man! Next stop is Jacksonville, NC where I am visiting my friend Alan and his wife.
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