Jay and Tanya had never spent much time in Florida, besides Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. And, despite our recent 10-day visit to the state, we still cannot say that we really understand or fully appreciate it. But what we saw in the Sunshine State was both surprising and confirming. Surprising was the the disparity between rich and poor in Florida. Driving from Ft. Lauderdale to St. Augustine to Orlando we saw more Dollar General stores than McDonalds, more pawn shops than Starbucks and several gun stores and billboards advertising upcoming gun shows. OK, the gun stores were not all that surprising. We shopped at Winn-Dixie, where we saw lots of folks who were obviously on the lower rungs of the food chain.
Of course, we saw lots of pickups but only one flying a large Confederate flag. Lots of churches (mostly Baptist), and lots of billboards advertising the services of personal injury attorneys, complete with testimonials such as, “Bob won me $250,000!” and “Winning is Everything!” These were some of the surprises. Another surprise—not too many Trump/Pence stickers. We both wondered why so many people decide to move here. Our best guess is that wherever they come from must be a lot worse than here.
Our confirmations included seeing beautiful beaches, beautiful houses, and beautiful boats floating on beautiful waterways. We just had to assume there were beautiful people behind all those gates. West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, New Smyrna Beach—all exuding the confirming perception of wealth. Acres of condos at Daytona Beach and billboards with digital displays indicating the current waiting time at local emergency rooms and others extolling the virtues of dental implants confirmed the age demographic for which Florida is noted.
So, that was the Florida we experienced. But then it was on to America’s contribution to Western culture, that fantasy of Americana and of just plain fantasy—DISNEYWORLD!!
Three straight days of experiencing the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios left us physically, psychologically and financially exhausted. But hey, like Mecca for Muslims, DisneyWorld or Disneyland are places every American should visit if they can. Don’t ask us why, because the whole enterprise is pretty bizarre. Just embrace it.