When National Travel becomes International

ImageImage We are now in Clearwater Beach, Florida overlooking the gulf, and the rest of our clan will be in the house in a few hours. Our group includes two of our “adopted sons” along with their extended families as well as my sister, Terry, who lives about 15 miles from here. Today is a bright one, not many clouds and of course a lot of reflection off of the very white sand — not a good day to be without sunglasses. The squint factor is high. Our first adopted son lived with us initially in 1993, and again later in the decade. Alin is from Romania. He received his PhD from the University of Illinois and is now a tenured associate professor at the University of Florida. Yes, he lives in Hogtown. Boris Morozov joined our MBA program in 2002. He is from The Republic of Moldova. B, as we call him, lived with us in 2005, but over the years he has lived with my son Peter and in a house jointly owned by B and my wife Janet. He completed his PhD in Public Administration at UNO and is now an assistant professor at Louisiana State University (in a state with a very fine name). Peter, Alin, B, Robert (Alin’s son), and my grandson Cooper are my boys and soon they will all be in the same place. It’s a fine day here on the beach. Moreover, it is an international day with Russian, Romanian, English and a bit of pretend Spanish being spoken. Stay thirsty, my friends!

Janet, Peter, and I first visited Clearwater Beach in 1988. We were living in Winter Park, a suburb of Orlando, and a friend suggested that we go over to the west coast of Florida for a visit because Clearwater Beach was interesting. We have returned here many, many times since. This is not a typical beach in that there is a mix of old and newer construction along with permanent and short term residents. There are very few people on the beach early and late in the day. There is a fine collection of raisins, those who have spent way too many hours in the sun working on some variation of skin cancer. There is also the usual collection of folks who need to wear more clothes. Several times a day there is someone walking on the beach who  evokes the question, “What were they thinking when they decided to go outside dressed like that?” Some even take their bad judgement to the local restaurants — appetite suppression therapy in play. Bad sights aside, the restaurants have good food, and eating lunch or dinner close to the gulf is never a bad thing.

It rained what many in the south would call a “frog strangler” last night. The streets were flooded — one of those rains where the water is spurting up out of the holes in the manhole covers. There are some threatening clouds in the neighborhood again tonight, but for the most part they seem to be several miles offshore. We saw the typical Florida gulf side sunset tonight, just wonderful. Big clouds disperse the light and the orange/purple/yellow combination becomes a show that I just cannot stop watching.

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