Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Funeral in Florida

I was planning on visiting Florida in late December in order to get some adventuring done and also to see my Florida family during the holidays. The unfortunate news that my grandfather unexpectedly passed away came so close to my planned trip that I decided to just go down a week early and then meet up with Lydia later on.

View Naples, FL in a larger map
I split my time between my grandma in Marco Island and my aunt, uncle, and cousin near Golden Gate. Naples served as "the city" to both so I made several trips over there as well.

Well I pretty much spent time with my family and helped my grandma out with stuff around the house. It was a nice chance to see everyone and see their neck of the woods.

After a stop at the grocery store I opened the car door and realized I that I had a hitchhiker.

My grandma is really into fruit trees. Marco island is like a magical place where you can plant a coconut or a papaya and soon there will be a tree there. No big deal. I probably ate 2 star fruit a day while I was in Marco. Hand picked from the back yard.

This is a Marco Island back alley. Just walk past your orange tree, jump in your boat, and steer it though the canals to the open ocean. No big deal.

Grandma insisted I take a pair of Grandpa's sunglasses. I was a bit uncomfortable about it at first, but I don't think they look too bad.

I decided to walk to the beach one day and hang out. Marco Island is pretty awesome but it's also pretty developed. There were lots of fancy hotels that were pretty mean about letting non-guests get to the beach. It took some walking but I eventually snuck my way in though a hotel lobby.

Grandma and I had a nice little walk in downtown Naples. We did a little walking on 5th Avenue, which is a pretty upscale little shopping area. We were doing some window watching when we noticed this clothing store window, with everything inside white. There was a white cat with an exotic hair cut which made it sort of look like a little white lion. It didn't move much at first, which prompted us to wonder if it was alive or just some weird prop. Eventually it started moving around more and doing typical cat things. Its twin appeared and the two began licking each other's faces. The whole thing was like a surreal, rich person's dream. I took a lot of pictures.

On a different night my cousin who is a chef invited me over to his restaurant. I knew it was kind of pricey beforehand, so I figured if it was too expensive I might just have an appetizer or something and hang out at the bar. My awesome cousin had another plan. Apparently part of his job is to periodically walk into the restaurant in plain clothes and order from the menu to ensure everything is being done correctly and the servers are doing their jobs. What followed was the most ridiculous meal I've been a party to. There was so much ordering that we couldn't eat much of any one thing because we needed space for the next round.

It was awesome talking with him because he knew so much more about the dishes than the tiny menu description could reveal. Olive oils had to been imported from Italy through a special dealer because each year's crop was unique like wine. Cheeses were hand made and had to be eaten within days or they were thrown out. It was awesome and a little bit embarrassing at the same time. I felt unworthy to adequately appreciate the wonders on the table. But I did my best.

We ordered about half the dessert menu. The white cloud looking guy on the left was a sort of hand spun cotton candy. The base of the dessert in the center was a phyllo dough that was not allowed to rise while cooked. So all of the flaky layers that usually develop were forced into a really dense and crispy wafer. It was fantastic. The ice cream on the right was some sort of espresso float. The whole meal clocked in at $350 for the two of us. I don't think I'll be topping this one anytime soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment