It’s been real, Tampa

29 Jan

Thanks for a great week Tampa, home to the most strip clubs I have ever seen in my life.  Not seen from the inside of course, but seen on the sides of the roads.  Not to mention tattoo parlors, and pirates.  Apparently I was in town just in time for Gasparilla, their annual pirate festival: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasparilla_Pirate_Festival   I guess its exciting, as it had a very Mardi Gras feel to it, but I guess I’m just not into pirates. I did end up attending a pirate themed brunch, which still turned out to be a pretty cool event. I stayed in the historic district of Ybor City, which turned out to be a pretty cool place as well.  It was originally founded in the 1880s by cigar manufacturers and was populated by thousands of immigrants, mainly from Cuba, Spain and Italy. For the next 50 years, workers in Ybor City’s cigar factories would roll millions of cigars annually.  But now the blocks are filled with restaurants, nightlife and I guess shopping.  But the shopping was pretty lackluster, unless you’re searching for outfits you might want to wear on next week’s Jersey Shore. The district is really a party town.  I heard that Ybor City is referenced in the lyrics of the band The Hold Steady a lot.  I hate that band, but it has nothing to do with location.  The song “Killer Parties,” for instance, contains the line “Ybor City is très speedy, but they throw such killer parties.” Whatever. But if you’re ever in town, I can recommend the neighborhood.  It wasn’t as pretty as downtown around the convention center, where I spent the majority of my time, but it had more character and more to do.

It’s also home to GaYbor.  I wound up eating dinner in a place called “Hamburger Mary’s,” a hamburger joint/drag club and it had the sweetest boys working there.  I have to say I really enjoyed that cheeseburger. Not that I’ve ever met a cheeseburger that I don’t like.

Before this trip I had never eaten in a restaurant alone, but I managed to do it for the first time and feel comfortable.  I also met a lot of great people and some great girls to go out with one night. I had a blast. I also worked my butt off and learned a lot.  I saw some really amazing things and some really over the top things. For example:

These poor ladies couldn’t move.  I almost wonder if there was a tiny chair under there.  I can’t imagine throwing an event where I would find this necessary.

Same goes for this woman, except for what she’s showcasing.  A closer look:

BEDAZZLED BON BONS. I had one of these bad boys and it was everything I dreamed it would be and more. I could plan an entire event around these delights.

Did I mention that it was 80 degrees all week? My flip-flops did not want to go back in the suitcase, I assure you.  Next time I’ll rent a car and actually get to the beach.  But I’m glad to be home. So is my mini-me.

You can tell here that someone else has been dressing her.  Bless him.

Now, the diet starts tomorrow.  No more room service. Or cheeseburgers.

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