Monday, March 16, 2009

What's bugging Cindy

Can you say Ceratopogonidae and Vibrio vulnificus? Well that pretty much sums up Cindy’s focus for the St. Joe Peninsula experience, with Mr. Untouchable and KnowItAll just fine!!! The latter is a bacteria present in raw oysters found in Apalachicola Bay and of course little miss culinary experience affectionado had to have them several times and even now still claims that they were one of the most fresh and tasteful oysters on the half shell ever enjoyed, and are right up there with the quality of the Pacific Northwest. So our first night in Port of St. Joe was spent at the historic and renovated Port Inn, with very conveniently located indoor plumbing. The following morning was spent at the nearby health clinic where the brochure on this difficulty explains that for those at risk ( and it actually lists “ people with cancer or any medical treatment that weakens the body’s immune system” , infection can lead to death within two days, and that aggressive antibiotic treatment is the most effective therapy”. I definitely don’t remember that being mentioned at the end of my radiation treatment!!!
Our campsite at the State Park was idyllic with some amusing signs about alligators and swimming (leading one to wonder just what would a lifeguard do), and even though only 5 of the 17 varieties of snakes in the park are poisonous we encountered only one small gopher snake (at least that’s what California born Jay says it was – he’s also told me about the cone of protection against lightning on a sailboat). We decided due to the shortened visit that we would not put the little Balia in the water, instead kayaked the bayou and enjoyed a bike ride followed by a parching walk through the wilderness area of the park.
Now that the warmth of spring has arrived with temperatures in the 70s Cindy also incurred the wrath of the Ceratopogonidae, aka “no seeums (truly a misnomer as you actually can when they are of this giant size), sand fleas, etc.” which really do itch and hurt quite a bit more than mosquito bites and as later learned on the internet – “two people may receive an equal number of bites, and one will not be affected while the other will turn into a walking pincushion” so I guess that will be my new nickname. The gentleman from Grand Rapids in the campsite next to us had, I kid you not, one bit for every square inch of space on his arms and legs; while mine are limited to a few areas of such density like forearms and back of legs, with a few neck appearances
Our most favorite restaurant was the Docksides at the marina in St. Joe, and we found the only truly Peninsula local dive the “Coneheads” rather curious not only in name; because when we went there our first night in the mood for the publicized pizza and were told “it wasn’t in yet”, or perhaps the phrase was “we don’t have it yet” which made us wonder if there was something like an actual season for pizza much like oysters.
And to wax poetic for just a moment longer, camping truly does bring all of the negative human nature habits in combination with technology, about which many of us complain, so much more to the forefront of the conscious. We have been treated by springbreakers playing the game “Catchphrase”, which has an increasingly rapid beeping component as a timer to indicate the end of one team’s competitive turn, being instead played with one person just giving clues to the rest of the group without any competition, thus making the noise merely irrelevantly irritating; parents engaged in power struggles with their children so that while they have carefully chosen which battles to wage, have left the rest of us within hearing distance to endure the ones they want to ignore (I even heard the quintessential camping experience of som-mores being withheld for potential punishment if the child didn’t sleep in the bed the way the parent had intended), and then there is the issue of self absorbtion. So many people seem completely unaware of their impact on those around them, such as the young man who pulled out a guitar at 10:15pm to serenade his tentmate with her request of “ do you know Kumbaya” just 15 ft away from our tent where the geriatrics were trying to actually sleep.

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