Corvettes and Sponges

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Wednesday, March 12, 2008

1.  The pre amble
The first thing we do when we get back from anywhere is download the day's photos, well - after either a cuppa or a beer depending on the time of day. Then one of us will eventually do the blog, if it's been a Malc kind of place, you know cars, engineering, mechanical architectural - then he'll do it; if it's art, gardens or animals then it's usually me. We 'edit' each other and add any extra bits we think are necessary - and you thought we just sat down and rambled didn't you?
One of the trickiest jobs is choosing which photos to include because as you know we do tend to take one or two! If we have a slow internet connection the actual process can be rather laborious. So here goes with a bit of both:
2. My bit
Well, today we drove south to Tarpon Springs, Florida's Mediterranean village and the 'sponge capitol' of the world. It was like being on holiday in Greece! The main street was lined with the sort of touristy shops that you find in seaside towns whether they be in the UK or Europe, you know 'wonderful' beach towels, sandals, amusing T shirts etc. but with a twist - sponges.   There is a strong Greek community here, descended from the young sponge divers that came in the early 1900's to develop the fledgling sponge industry. 
The Greek influence remains very strong, the restaurants, bakeries and churches all make you feel you are far from Florida. The quayside and the multitude of small boats were, I have to say, rather sad and dilapidated and the almost aggressive selling of boat tours was also reminiscent of Mediterranean methods!

When we explored a little and took ourselves off the touristy bit, as we are prone to do, we found a different side. Residences were as different as chalk and cheese, with humble little homes in the back streets and large, grand homes, on the desirable waterfront. 

We did find a super restaurant off the main drag, where having waited about 20 mins for a table - in line with many locals, always a good sign, we enjoyed an excellent lunch.
3. Malc's bit
Now the real reason we went to Tarpon Springs; the Classic Corvettes and Collectables car museum and showroom.
You see I do all the driving but I like to let Betsy think she makes the decisions where we go, So having picked up the car museum flyer as well as the Tarpon Springs "Mediterranean, Greek sponge diving town" it was a doddle to suggest a "Greek day out" - oh and by the way, we might as well call in here too! (I am sure Betsy would call the conversation the other way round so neither of us are fooled but both of us are happy). Did Betsy mention that maybe you just think we ramble? - not me!!!
The car museum is actually a car showroom but you get to pay an entrance fee - why not, it's only $5 each (with $1 off coupon, remember the flyer) but not to grumble you do get $100 off any vehicle with the admission :)
All the cars looked, as they should, in showroom condition - you may have guessed I primarily went to check out the Corvettes for Ross, however I did expect to see more of them. There were a number of Dodge Challenger/Charger RT's '70 and '71 - any good for the next company car, Ross? My favourite was the 1957 Corvette, black with red interior but as I'm  not prepared to trade in Scoobie it won't turn out to be our next toad :) I could even imagine driving in one of the Chevy Belair convertibles, maybe we should do a classic road trip, staying in motels next time?

So if anyone would like an American classic I would be willing to come out and "drive one home" , however it may end up with a bit more mileage on it than you expect. A job I do fancy though...  By the way, Bree is now for sale, so if you want me to drive that home for you, just say the word - and I'm serious about that!
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