Tampa, day 1

I’m in Tampa, having flown in bright and early this morning (Charlotte to Memphis at 06:50 EST, Memphis to Tampa at 09:00 CST).

Memphis’s airport (the two gates I saw of it) was fugly as hell. Brown brick interior walls and square. Looked like some Langoliers shit.

Tampa’s airport was mildly confusing, with a shuttle to get from some gates to other areas. Looked new-ish overall, but otherwise unremarkable.

Awesome tidbit: the rental car is a Prius. Good stuff, although I scared the shit out of Ma Dre by mistaking the brake for a clutch when trying to park, as I’m wont to do. *stomp* Its little engine display is distracting; I have a heavy foot (an understatement) and am not sure how awesome the electric engine is supposed to be. Should I be able to ride above 45 mph just on the battery? I have a weekend to experiment with tweaking it.

Now Tampa proper… is obnoxious. I find that I rather prefer a more condensed city. Tampa reminds me of Phoenix in that even the downtown skyline appears to be missing buildings, it’s so scattered. Getting from one place to another today involved 30+ minute drives, distances that Ma Dre doesn’t seem to think much of. I’m used to a 15-minute drive being normal in Charlotte (and that’s me not living near a highway), but 30 minutes better be for something decently special in Charlotte.

Without a really good light rail system (and not the cross-style that Atlanta has or Charlotte hopes to have), I don’t know how public transit could be an option in a city that sprawled.

City aside (and really, who cares?), I’m having a blast. Being with Ma Dre is great, and Little Man (her son) is adorable, growly, and friendly, although it took him a little while to warm up to me. I am reminded again of why I had an IUD put in, though — I could handle the slobber and the mess just fine (although I cringe a little at it now), but the noise… I’m worried I might do a child harm if I couldn’t shut her up peacefully. And heaven forbid if I get a colicky/milk-intolerant baby. I’d probably never leave the house for not wanting the kid to bother other people.

Tomorrow’s the beach, a bit of shopping, and maybe some restaurants recommended by Michael.

  • Andrew

    What’s your opinion of the view? I’ve always loved driving through and around Tampa. Of course, I’m strongly biased to the view with palm trees.

    And how do you like the Prius? The last one I drove, I found it to be a technically interesting vehicle, and an absolute annoyance to drive. Everything about it’s design on the inside chaffed against my comfort zone. As a feat of engineering, though, it seems pretty great. Perhaps it was just my tastes.

  • Andrew,

    The palm trees are gorgeous, but I definitely like a more condensed city for driving. The lack of a good highway system makes driving around a very… square endeavor.

    The Prius had several interior problems. For instance, for all that big ol’ screen space they gave us, there was no GPS. I also couldn’t find a way for skip CD tracks without using the steering wheel controls. The whole center dash was obnoxious, honestly. What looks like a nearly-complete radio/CD setup below the screen that actually manages it, etc. Too much of a distraction and too non-intuitive.

    I also prefer an emergency brake I pull to a the foot-toggle. Even a press-to-set, pull-different-lever-to-deactivate style (ala Buicks and such) is more comfortable than the toggle.

    …And the Reverse beeping… Couldn’t find a way to turn it off or down, and it drove me nuts.

    The driving itself was nice, though. Just… everything else needed work.