Trip Start Dec 21, 2012
Trip End Jan 19, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Monday, December 31, 2012

Hard to believe really. Yesterday we were rugged up in down jackets trudging through the snow, and today we are walking around in sunglasses and short sleeves. A beautiful morning in Tampa, so we went for a long walk in the sunshine to the Hyde Street market where we sat outside and enjoyed a juice and muffin.

Then it was a drive of half an hour or so south to Fort De Soto Park, a lovely park on a long beach with a huge expanse of 'white' sand (they've obviously never been to Queensland). Had some lunch at the park kiosk. I can't quite work out why they don't get it. Everybody was sitting outside the kiosk, really overweight, and shovelling food into themselves as quickly as they can. And the menu at the kiosk was burgers, fries, 5 types of hotdogs, nachos, and fried chicken strips. All soft drinks were only in large sizes. It's a lifestyle choice guys!

Anyway, enough of the rant. A lovely walk along the beach, around the fort and out on the pier. Really a great day in the sun. Then we headed off again down to Sarasota where we went in chase of the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus museum. It's in the grounds of the Ringling estate that the guy who founded and grew the circus built to spend the Winter when the circus was off the road.

A huge operation with about 500 performers and 800 crew that moved from town to town almost every day. 28 train wagons to move everything overnight in three different convoys. The advance crew left town even before the show started to set up the next one, four huge tents were set up for 15000 spectators, and five simultaneous acts, and there were over 1000 animals to perform, work and be fed. The scale was staggering. Each of the two stagecoaches that pulled the band, for example, was pulled by 40 horses. The eating tent served 4000 meals a day, and everybody had their own eat at a table with tablecloths and china crockery. Try catering for that in a different town 250 days in a row.

Then we went off looking for our motel. Had our New Years Eve meal at Perkins Restaurant and Bakery where we could get exotic things like vegetables and rice!
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