But, if you recall, we actually went to the Superbowl last year. And I think everyone needs to hear the story of our trip at least once...or twice. So, I'm reposting it. (It may be long, because I originally posted the story in two separate posts, but I'm just doing it all on one this time. Enjoy~
First, let me start by telling about the luxurious accommodations we were so privileged to be given upon arrival in Florida. Words cannot describe the luxury and class of our experience that first night.
Thursday started out perfectly. The flights were uneventful, and I didn't feel motion sickness at all, nor did I completely lose my appetite. The other couple traveling with us didn't lose their car keys in the Denver airport, and the airline didn't lose one of their bags in Denver, either.
Upon arrival in Tampa, we thought it would be more cost effective to use public transportation around town, and opted not to get a rental car. So we paid $80 for the airport shuttle to drive us to our hotel.
Ah, this lovely hotel. The Oasis Palms Resort. Just across the street from St. Pete beach, situated deep in the heart of the lovely Treasure Island, which is about a 30 minutes drive from downtown Tampa.
Don't be fooled by the "open" sign. As you can in the window it is completely dark, no one is inside.
The shuttle drove us out of town, towards St. Petersburg, and over the bridge (across the bay) to Treasure Island. I just knew we were going to be staying in the lap of luxury. As we were escorted further into town, the street lined with hotels kept getting darker and dirtier. The hotels slowly shrunk into motels. When finally, at around 9:00 p.m., we stopped in front of this tiny dirty dingy yellow motel, with the blinking neon sign saying "Oasis Palms Resort." I thought this can't be it.
We got our bags, walked to the office door, which was locked. No life inside. The sign on the door said "Office hours M-F 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m." It was after 9 p.m. Then we saw a sign next to a germ infested courtesy phone saying to call if arriving after hours and someone will come check you in. We called that number probably 20 times, and got nothing but a voicemail. After leaving a dozen messages, we decided to walk up the street to find some shelter and food (since it was pouring rain). We were stranded outside our hotel with all of our luggage for an hour and a half. The ONLY restaurant open was the Waffle house, about a mile down the rode from the motel. A tiny empty sorry excuse of a diner, that happened to be out of everything, except waffles. After eating day old waffles, we trekked back to the motel, and found someone in the office. We checked in, were directed to our rooms and this is what we found.
The room was no bigger than a small child's bedroom. Including the bathroom. The double bed took up most of the space with its wicker headboard and dingy faded dolphin bedspread.
I was standing against the opposite wall/entry door while taking this picture.The child-sized shower was so small we had to walk in sideways to fit through the doorway. The shower head was installed about chest level on me, so even lower for C. Dust and mold populated the corners of the tiny shower.
There were no extra plugs in the room. We had to unplug lamps and clocks to charge our phones and dry our hair. And there was No phone in the room. I was afraid to take my socks off in the room. That's how dirty it was. I was afraid to sleep under the sheets because I was sure they weren't changed or washed after the last guest. The dish towels they gave us to shower with were stained with brown streaked that I can only guess was one thing. And on the wall opposite the bed was hung and brand new fancy 36" plasma TV, complete with DVD player. It appears that the stories are true, that "certain types of people" will spend a fortune on electronics, and nothing on housekeeping.
After C got out of the shower, he walked the 2 feet from the shower to the bed and sat down to get dressed, and noticed that his feet were completely black. I'm glad I didn't take off my socks.
I lay awake in the bed comparing this place to the Bates motel, and just waiting for some psycho killer to barge into the flimsy door and stab us to death.
Oh, and if you look up this hotel's website, you will find a photo of the slightly less disgusting hotel on the opposite side of the street.
Needless to say, we called the company that booked us into that shit hole (sorry, but there is just no other way to describe the place, and forever thereafter during the trip the place was dubbed "the shit hole") and complained. We were upgraded to a much nicer hotel, and the rest of the stay went somewhat splendidly.
Consider the fact that we have no rental car, and have now established that there are no businesses for miles on this street other than cheap crack-whore motels, and of course, the Waffle house.
More stories to come.......
Sorry to get all your hopes up about some crazy story about the rest of my trip. The rest of the trip was uneventful. It was good. The end.
Actually, the best part of the story, is the crack-whore motel story, but it's still pretty good. What else could possibly go wrong?
Friday morning, we got up, and started walking to catch the trolley. When it didn't come after 20 minutes we decided to start walking down the street toward "town" We'd walked maybe 1/2 mile when finally the bus shows up, we get on, and find out that we are on the wrong bus. We needed to cross the street and catch the one going the other direction. So, we hopped off, walked to the nearest stop, and waited. And waited, and waited and waited. Once again, it's just painful to just sit there, so we started walking again. This time we probably walked about 2 1/2 miles. At a walking pace, I'd guess about 30-40 minutes went by. Finally, the bus shows up. Drives us about 1/2 mile to the end of the line, where we are told to catch, yet, another bus, to get into town. After changing buses about 4 more times, we finally made it to a little park in downtown St. Petersburg. The park is right next to the homeless shelter. There were definitely some classy people on the bus, and at the stop.
Let me tell you, people, I was feeling really pretty at that moment. At least I had all my teeth, and they'd been brushed that morning.
We got off the bus, walked around 1/2 mile or so, til we found a bar to eat lunch at, and a movie theater.
We saw "Taken." With Liam Neeson. Definitely worth your while. I loved it!
After walking back to the
homeless shelter bus stop, we hopped on yet another bus to take us to the mall. (There really wasn't much else to do in St. Pete)
I bought a $4 hat, because the rain was making my naturally curly hair crazy.
C & Me (and my hair) on the beach behind our new hotel
We decided to head back to check into our new hotel (yeah!!!), and went to get on the bus, and were told by the bus driver that this is the only bus back into town, but only sit in the front few seats, because the homeless dude in the back just spewed allover the place. There was chunky vomit making its way up the aisle from the rear all the way to the front of the bus. Again, so classy, and luxurious.
Eventually we made it back, and happily, checked into our new hotel, in which we actually had a door that locks, a king size bed, bath towels, and clean sheets and clean floors. This is more like it.
Saturday, we decided we'd had enough of public transportation, and called a taxi and paid $80 to drive into Tampa. We were dropped off at the stadium, where there was a pre-game Expo going on. However, after paying for the car, the other couple we were with didn't want to pay $20 to get into the Expo, so we decided to see what else there was to do. We walked around the block, through a park, down a busy highway, probably about 3 miles, when we came across a car rental place. I thought, we should at least check out how much it would be. Sadly, though, it was closed for the weekend. So, we trekked up the street to a Burger King to buy some water, and use the facilities. I told C, let's just google car rental place in the area, so we found a place that was open, were told it would be $100 for the weekend, and they came to pick us up.
We made it back to the hotel just in time to soak out sore tired feet in the hot tub. We were amazed that it only took us 20 minutes to drive to our hotel, instead of 3 hours.
So, after two days in Florida, we had watched a movie, eaten at a couple of restaurants, And walked, and walked and walked. What's that song about Pioneer Children?
Outside a restaurant in Tampa. Like my new $4 hat? Cute, huh?!
Hours upon hours of our time were wasted trying walk, and find transportation. Not to mention the cost of buses and taxis totally outweighed the cost of a rental car. What. were. we. THINKING?!!!
Did you want to hear about the game? I figure you probably watched it, you don't need a play by play.We got the tickets by the skin of our teeth. The dude who lined up the trip for us decided to keep the tickets, instead of keeping them at will call, and it took several dozen phone calls, and C dropping his title, and threatening never to advertise with them even again to get him to finally deliver the tickets. At 9:30 am. On Sunday.
Ok, alright. Sunday, we drove (yeah!!) our rental car into Tampa, found out it costs $80 to park anyway in the vicinity of the stadium, and decided to park at a mall about 2-3 miles away and walk. What?!! More walking? I'm thinking I sure better have lost weight from this trip!!
I can't believe how many Steelers fans there were. Yellow and black jerseys, and "terrible towels" being flung EVERYWHERE! People trash talking on the street.
Attack of the Terrible Towels!
Since I decided to root for the underdog, I was wearing a red shirt. Not official Cardinals paraphernalia, but just a regular red shirt. I even got trash talked. Wow!
The line just to get into the stadium was long. I was amazed at how many people there were standing along the line, preaching. We were handed many pamphlets about God, and how Jesus saves, and I even got my very own ticket into heaven!
And for the first time all weekend, the weather was actually sunny and nice. Probably about 65 degrees. After all the walking, I was actually hot.
There was a big expo outside the stadium. Games, museums, hall of fame, shopping, food. The energy in the air was incredible.
Here's a little plug for the Redskins. C's favorite team. They had dudes like this for every NFL team.
Comparing my muscles to Troy Aikman's. I think mine are bigger.
This is a ticket stub from the very first Superbowl in 1967. Look at the face value price. $10. Our tickets said $800. Amazing how it's changed.
The Vince Lombardi Superbowl Trophy
We bought to souvenirs for the kids, then went to this pre-game beach party where they had food and drinks before and after the game.
We found our seats, which were about 20 rows up in the Steelers end zone. Not bad. There were several seats next to us that were empty almost all the way to kick off, so we were hopeful, but right before the game a group of people came.
Us, and the Randels
We watched Faith Hill sing "America the Beautiful", Jennifer Hudson sing the "National Anthem" and Bruce Springsteen sing a bunch of song I don't know at half time.
I took these picture of the Jumbo tron. Otherwise you wouldn't believe it was actually them.
I didn't get a good pic of Bruce, but this is the crowd. They gave everyone in the stadium a little flashlight. It was pretty awesome.
The dude sitting next to C was a gem. (Sorry, I didn't get a picture) Nicci kept saying there is no way he bought his tickets. He must've stolen them. Ha ha! He was so "friendly." C knew his whole life story by the end of the first quarter. And was pretty sure he was be sitting on his lap by half time. Of course, we had to stand up and let him out about every 15 minutes for his smoke break. Then around the 3rd quarter, somehow a fight broke out between the dude (a Cardinals fan), and a Steelers fan (who looked amazingly like he could be the dude's brother) two rows up. There were some words, it got heated, then luckily they both found their heads, put them back on, and apologized. But then, the girl sitting two rows down from the Steeler fan started calling C out. I was thinking what do you and him have to do with any of this? So C (always keeping is cool) said, I'm just trying to watch the game.
Gotta love the redneck football drama.
I won't go into the game details because I'm sure you all watched it, but at one point, the Cardinals were up, and I thought they might have a chance at winning. It literally went down to the last minute. As much as I hate watching football in TV, I truly enjoy watching a good game live.
The final scoreboard
It was a great game, the energy in the stadium was palpable. It was a truly amazing experience, one I wouldn't trade for anything. (Even though, we were severely tempted to see how much money we could've sold our tickets for. If we'd been offered 10k on the street, we probably would've taken it).
p.s. I also want to make mention of my wonderful husband. Today is his 34th birthday. So, I'm totally counting the Superbowl as his birthday present. C, I just want to tell you how much I love and appreciate you!