Sunday 9/2/07 - Sanibel Island

We woke up at 9:00 am and had a leisurely breakfast of organic "Three Berry Bear Naked Granola" and English breakfast tea (with honey; a Tom staple!). We sat chatting at the dining room table and it was like old times, when we lived closer. The time flew and we soon realized that if we planned to go to the beach today, we had better get a move on. We took showers, and left the house at a little after 2:00 pm for Sanibel Island.

We stopped at CVS to buy styrofoam "noodles" flotation aids. and then drove to Sanibel. It was the same ride we had taken last night, including the $6 toll to cross the bridge. We saw a quiant little restaurant that had red Adirondack chairs shaped like fish. You can't see the beach from the road on Sanibel Island, but there are no tall buildings or chain stores/restuarants, so the whole place has a very small-town feel, much different from the stripmalls of mainland Florida.

We went to Bowman's Beach, arriving at 3:10. We parked and Karen fed the meter (you have to pre-pay $2/hour to park). We walked down the boardwalk past the picturesque beach grass, sea grape trees, and mangrove marshes to get to the ocean. It reminded me a bit of Martha's Vineyard. The beach had powdery white sand which was some of the softest I have ever felt. There were many seashells at the high tide water line. We put down our things and went into the water, which was almost uncomfortably hot. It was the warmest ocean water I've ever experienced, Hawaii and Caribbean included. The water remained very shallow for quite a while but got cooler as you got further from the shore. Unlike swimming in New England, where you tend to seek warm spots in the water, we found ourselves seeking cool spots. We floated on the styrofoam noodles and chatted some more.

I noticed something floating in the water out of the corner of my eye, and soon others noticed it as well. It was quite clear that it was fecal matter. We moved away from it, noticing the extreme irony. A lot of Americans are afraid to go to developing countries because they consider they to be hygeinic risks. Lack of sanitation infrastructure leads Americans to avoid certain countries. Well, here we were in a very ecologically conscious resort community in the United States, where most Americans wouldn't think twice about swimmimg, and even this place is not pristine.

Thunderheads looked threatening, but the storm managed to hold off for the duration of our beach visit. We swam and floated on our "noodles" until 4:40, and then we quickly dried off, walked back to the entrance, and rinsed off in the outdoor showers. There was an enclosed changing area for women and another for men, and we all changed out of our bathing suits in preparation for dinner. These facilities made the parking fee worthwhile.

Karen and Tom wanted to eat at Traders, but it was apparently closed on Sunday, so we went to the funky Island Cow instead. The decor was New England clam shack meets Jimmy Buffett. There was a large statue of a red eyed tree frog hanging upside down from the ceiling, and instead of napkins, each table had a roll of paper towels. Instead of bread, they gave us a plate of Funfetti cupcakes, which harkened me back to my younger days of hanging out with friends in my parents' basement. For an appetizer we got a veggie quesadilla and hush puppies. The hush puppies were served with Russian dressing. It sounds like an odd combination, but it was actually quite tasty and gave them a little zing. Craig had "voodoo stuffed scallops blackened island style w/ crabmeat stuffing", which was served in a cute little cast-iron skillet, and drank Bahamian Kalik beer. I had the BBQ pulled pork plate with hush puppies, fries, and garlic toast. It was delicious, but it was way too much food and I wound up with a lot ofleftovers.

We left Sanibel at a little after 6 pm. Karen realized that she had left her sunglasses on the table, so we returned to the restaurant a few minutes later. Luckily, they were still there, so we were all quite happy on the drive home. We hit a thunderstorm with lots of lightning and torrential rain. It was exciting; we rarely get these kind of storms back home. Visibility was very low on the highways, and I was glad that I wasn't driving.

We were back at their house by 7:00. We hung out in Tom's office chatting until around 9 pm and then watched 2 episodes of "Entourage" on DVD. We don't get HBO, and had never seen the show before, but we loved it and were hooked immediately. It was hysterical and hip. After two episodes on DVD from its first, the finale of the current (third) season of "Entourage" was airing live on HBO. Tom and Karen, who were fully caught up on episodes, really wanted to watch it live. I knew that Craig was cringing, as he hates to watch things out of order, and he had really been getting into thegroove of this series. But he politely kept quiet and although it was out of order for us, we all watched it, and then resumed season 1 on DVD where we had left off. We snacked on miniature Milky Ways and cheese and crackers while watching episodes 3-8, loving every minute of it. When all was said and done, we had watched the entire first season, and we didn't get to bed until 1 am.
Bowman's Beach, Sanibel Island

Shell, Bowman's Beach

Karen and Tom, Leaving Bowman's Beach

Dinner at the Island Cow

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