Friday, May 21, 2010

Clearwater Beach Gateaway

One weekend we went out to the Clearwater Beach in the west coast of florida. I was telling Neil that we better check it out before the hurricane-season pulls the BP oil spill to the Floridian coasts.Its like my missed chance of savoring the marble's aura of Taj Mahal before the harsh effects of the pollution creep-ed in; or may be as he pointed out "thinking too much". I had a whole day of sea or rather gulf bathing,shell picking, para-sailing, dolphin watching and sunset-watching planned out an week earlier. its a 2 hour drive from Orlando and we were supposed to be there by 10am latest. but after stopping for gas , camera batteries, breakfast, waiting around for our company with kids, we started at around 11am. After about 1 and half hour of un-interesting driving, our GPS took us to a waterfront which looked like a part of the gulf and an abandoned small dock sort of. After another 30 mins of going in roundabouts , finally found the Memorial Causeway which would led us to the actual beach. It was an amazing sight indeed.. miles of white sand which looked more like snow under the bright sun, lined with bright blue beach umbrellas and the dazzling green waterbody and teeming with thousands of happy people. 
Following the sign for "more parking", we reached the pink-hyatt garage which charged us $16 for a whole day. The fun fact is I had a print of the parking garages in the area and their charges. This was the costliest one in there, and even though i am very very money-minded, we had to end up there !! beach umbrella rental was  $15 till 5pm, so we planned to buy one; but then we were novice to setting it up and missed out the whole beach umbrella holder totally and the umbrella was flying away with the wind every time we tried. Now, of course i know better. Then, finally ,we laid out our beach mats and then went for our sea/gulf-bathing session. the water was warm and so nice. we had a lovely time. The waves were small and was perfect for swimming. After about 3 hours and changing and lunch at the shop near the Pier60, we were all unwilling to venture into any of the other activities I had in out itinerary. I had read good reviews about the Grouper sandwich which is a specialty of the area, so I tried it, but believe me i will not recommend it to a hungry-someone , i however will highly recommend the ice creams from the attached sweet-shop. when we returned to the beach, the sun suddenly seemed unbearable. The white powdery sand seemed too white for my eyes to bear anymore, the truth is I was wishing we had rented a place where I could go and sleep at that time. So we moved to the sheds on the Pier 60. We were waiting for the sunset celebration. we had to wait out 3 full hours for that. Neil layed out the mat and had dozed off. I spent my time watching people catching fishes and feeding them to the brown pelicans and egrets and sea gulls which flocked in plenty near the pier. 
Then as the sun set, the dark and threatening clouds rolled in . I overheard someone ask over the phone" are u stuck in the storm?", i am not sure where it was, but looking at and hearing the clouds , i felt the storm was coming our way. I took to the wheel on our way back, and I drove non-stop for full 2 hours and was so happy to come back to Orlando. We did not meet the storm on our way.

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