Rained out! Yes, that is exactly how I described my Mini-Summer Break 2. The idyllic afternoon Florida showers and thunderstorms drenched most of our plans. It was like a marathon wherein we had to outrun and finish our “things to do” before thunder rolls in and electric sparks from lightning indicate that time is up and it’s time to go home. Most of the times we barely beat the showers. But, I can’t complain. Considering the nagging cough and tons of schoolwork I also had to deal with in between, it was still a successful mini vacay.
The wonderful flavors of Paciugo gelatos seemed to have left an indelible impression on my husband. So, despite our “not so impressive” experience the first time (thanks to the rain), we gave it another try. We parked a few blocks from the establishment, which gave us the chance to walk and enjoy the scenery. One scenic feature that captured my attention immediately was a gigantic red artwork at the nearby Straus Park. I had no clue what it depicts but, oh boy, it’s huge!
Paciugo was not crowded when we came in. My husband was right: weekdays and working hours are the best time to come for an ice cream. I was so happy to get a table for us and this time really savored the rich concoctions of my gelato. If last mini break my last word for my Paciugo experience was “Boo”, this time I’ll say it’s “YUM!”
Haslam’s Bookstore is probably one of the oldest bookstores in town dating back in 1933 in the Depression. It was started by John and Mary Haslam as a small used book and magazine store in St. Petersburg. It has grown so fast over the years that now, in its third generation, it has the Florida’s largest new and used book store.
When we entered Haslam’s we were immediately welcomed by the weighty musty smell common to an antique bookstore. I couldn’t help it, but I felt like I was transported in time. Unlike new bookstores when everything seems to be fresh, white, and colorful, Haslam’s seemed to have a different feel – at least to me. It actually reminded me of the university library I attended in college, where shelves were stacked by tons and tons of reference materials. I haven’t seen a bookstore like Haslam’s before. It has a rich collections of different books from different time periods and different topics. I had a wonderful time touring the whole area. Unfortunately, my husband and I didn’t find something that strongly appealed to us – or at least to our price range.
My husband was ready to give up. He said we could just re-gift our Haslam’s gift certificate. I was not sure though if it was a good idea since I received the certificate from our Teachers Appreciation Week, so I encouraged him to dig some more. It took us awhile but, true enough, after checking books “ON SALE” we found a treasure. The book, “The Beatles The Dairy of Their Lives” now sits on our coffee table and is included in my husband’s many precious Beatles collections.
A taste of Italian
After giving our “little beach buggy” (car) a special wax treatment, my husband and I took a break from Florida’s sweat and toil we just experienced by dining at Gennaro’s. It is one of our favorite Italiano Restorante on the beach. With only one location, Genaro’s is said to have been in business for over 25 years. Its recipes have been handed down from one generation to the next and only getting better in time.
My favorite was its Eggplant Parm. I don’t know what is in its recipe, but its luscious taste is something I don’t think I can get tired of. The olive oil in its salad is also a must-taste. It has fruity taste and pungent aroma that is very appetizing. It is not unusual for me to bring boxes at home after dining, but I am telling you, this one didn’t last. After taking a nap, I went back to my take-out box and – poof, it disappeared! No crumb was indeed spared.
Happy 4th of July!
I looked forward to this day because it’s my first 4th of July celebration as an American citizen. To make it more memorable, my husband and I decided to wear our shirts his sister gave us as gifts when I had my oath taking. The shirts have the US flag and we both felt it was appropriate to the occasion. It was a great plan, except that – it was not implemented accordingly. We failed to anticipate the Florida weather. Instead of going out in the morning as soon as we saw the sun shining, we dilly-dallied. Our plan to celebrate it on the beach at Treasure Island ended up on the road in dense traffic and subjecting ourselves to a semi-tropical afternoon thunder-boomer. *Yikes!
Although the weather dampened my plan to capture through my lens my first 4th of July experience, it didn’t stop me, however, from enjoying the fireworks display in the evening. The lights, sounds and the festive mood all recapped the American resilience.
As I end my week’s mini respite today, I say thank you to the lovely St. Pete Beach which beauty we have genuinely enjoyed rain or shine…
Thanks for reading and see you soon…