A double dose of history

For some reason, I was up at 8:30 this morning. The absolute last thing I wanted to do was go downstairs for breakfast (learned that lesson last time I stayed at this hotel) so I skipped it and decided to go out and find someplace quick for lunch.

I walk the seven blocks to the trolley station on Whiting Street, buy a day pass and waited 15 minutes for the “nostalgic trolley” to arrive. Once I got on I needed to decide where I was going, and that decision (as evidenced by this post’s title) was to all the way out to Ybor (either “EE’-Bore” or “Eye’-BRR”) City.

I got off the trolley at 11:10am and took a few minutes to wander through the flea market set up in the plaza next to the station. I stopped for a moment in front of a hot dog vendor and hear someone off my left shout “HEY BUDDY”

I look around. The only people around me were vendors and a single black guy who the second I locked eyes with him pleaded “I’m hungry, I haven’t eaten in days. Could you gimme five dollars? Just FIVE dollars so I can get sun-thin to eat.”

How come whenever anyone needs money to eat I’m the only one around to ask? If they do someone else they’ll take that person for their word, but they’ll argue with me? However before I can answer him, a woman runs out of nowhere and shouts “GIT YOUR SHOES ON! I ain’t haven you wand-rin around MY market without no damned shoes on!”

Clearly taken by surprise, he rushes off and picks up some sandals from the ground a few yards away and then as I approach the vendor’s table I can hear “Yeah, about that five dollars, I’m still hungry. If you just gimme-“

“WHAT DAY HELL, YOU WANT?”

“What me? I don’t want nuthin’ and if you keep harassin’ me I call the damned cops on you!”

I came very close to continuing with “except five dollars,” but I decided it was better to leave before I was drug any further into this quagmire.

“Whoa, where you going? Just ignore the CRAZY woman, and just help a brutha git sun-thin to eat. She THINKS she runs dis place, but SHE DON’T!”

“DAY HELL I DON’T! This is MY market, and I AM in charge of it!”

Now, I could leave. I felt a little sorry for the vendor, but I figured there were probably other places to eat in the area. It didn’t take a lot of work to find them…even if most of them were closed.

Despite the somewhat limited lunch options, this wasn’t too bad of an area. It has a lot of fun and interesting shops and a festive atmosphere…though I’m told it gets a bit “scary” at night once all the bars and clubs open.

I walked through the Ybor City History Museum. It was very small and the layout was less than ideal (reminded me of the Baltimore Streetcar Museum), the houses outside were nice but weren’t explained very well. Could we go inside them or were they just mock-ups? I was there and I still don’t know.

I head back to the station and take the trolley over to Channelside where I eventually follow the Riverwalk to the Tampa Bay History Center. This was one of my favorite things I’ve done so far in this city. It was much bigger than I expected it to be, but, more importantly, it was also well organized and better presented than other similar museums I’ve been too (their section on cigar making was better than the whole museum in Ybor City).

I get back to the hotel shortly after 4pm, and when I check my e-mail I find a message from someone saying I’d missed my appointment to tour their apartment…at 11am…in Ybor City. FML. >.<

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