Yesterday was RIDICULOUSLY awesome.
Colleen and I left around 10:15am and after a couple detours to the bank and Dunkin' Donuts, we were on our way to Tampa at 10:40. Making ridiculously good time, we got to the city around noon (Google maps predicted a 1h43m drive...or not).
Navigating downtown Tampa was a little tricky because first I took a sort-of wrong turn, then there were streets blocked off for the festivities. We ended up following a long line of cars into a parking garage that had a special, all-day "event parking" for only $10. Most of the other places we had seen were $20...so sweet. And we were only a few blocks from Bayshore Blvd, where most of the Gasparilla festivities were happening.
Initially, we just walked along Bayshore and it was a bunch of vendors selling beads and trinkets, bad carnival-type food, and people sitting along the parade route. It seemed pretty dull but there was alcohol a-plenty and by 12:30 there were a ton of drunk people already. Following suit, we bought an overpriced, $5 bottle of Bacardi Silver (the only non-beer thing they were selling). Noticing we'd passed a Publix earlier, we decided to head that way and get a 6-pack of something not so crazily overpriced.
And oh man, was the Publix doing a booming business. People were taking cases of beer off out of the cooler as quickly as the stockers could put them up there. And for some reason, they were only selling beer. No wine coolers or Mike's Hard, or Bacardi Silvers...not even a hard cider. Additionally, their wine section was blocked off so you couldn't get to it. We're still not quite sure why that is, but we had noticed that they were selling those 4-packs of little wine bottles, so we each grabbed a pack and went off in search of a cup. Colleen had the brilliant idea of going to the deli section where they have fountain drinks, so we took two empty cups with lids and straws. Once outside the store, we cracked open the bottles and filled up our cups. I think we decided that the four mini bottles is equivalent to a regular bottle of wine, so we were chugging down bottles of wine out of to-go cups with straws. So classy.
After we started drinking, the festivities got more amusing and we found a good, not overly crowded place to watch the parade, which is really the whole point. It's epic and LONG. Well over two hours of floats with people dressed in pirate gear throwing beads. Oh, it's all about the beads. We were glad we didn't actually buy any because I got 52 strands and Colleen got 69...for free. It was awesome...but heavy on the neck after a while. We also chatted with some cool people around and it ended up being really cool.
After the parade, we had a couple hours until the concert, which was the perfect amount of time to stand in a ridiculous long line for Publix's bathrooms (because the port-o-potties everywhere were gross and had huge lines anyway). We then bought another drink from Publix (they were selling single bottles of beer, wine, and Mike's Hard at a booth by the door. Weird), and headed back to the car, where we dropped off most of the beads, and other souvenirs, and changed into clothes that weren't quite as smelly. The parking garage became an even better find when I noticed that you could see the St. Pete Times Forum from where we were...it was only 3 blocks away. Awesome.
So we headed that way, went in and went on search for hard liquor. Alas! No hard liquor was to be sold! We found a Bacardi bar, and they only had bad wines (a chardonnay and a shiraz. No thanks). We ended up finding a guy selling Arbor Mist White Zinfindel and decided it was our best option. Then we decided since we hadn't eaten since the donuts at 10:30 and it was now 8 hours later and we had drunken a bottle of wine each, not to mention the Bacardi Silver and Mike's Hard...that we should eat. So we got fries and a hot dog and took our seats.
Oh dear god. I could have died last night and my life would have been ENTIRELY fulfilled. Alanis was amazing. She played for an hour and there were probably 3 songs that I didn't know (so I'm assuming they are new...because let's be honest, I know 98% of her music, though not so much off of Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie).
And Matchbox. Oh, my dear, dear Matchbox. They were lovely and wonderful and I knew every song (though I was sketchiest on the ones from More Than You Think You Are and only belted out the choruses). But I had really forgotten how much I love both Alanis and Matchbox as performers. I had a really great time and it was awesome.
I would write more about it. How I felt that if my soul had a voice, it would be Alanis, and other crazy garble like that, but my sister just called and I'm meeting her (and the other sister and brother-in-law) at Disney. Because I haven't had enough fun this weekend. Magic Kingdom, here I come!!!