I’m in the Tampa airport, my 44th US airport. Had a good week in training, passed my three exams, and earned my MCSA (Microsoft Certified Software Associate) in SQL Server 2012.

I also saw an alligator by the side of the road.

And a frog on the sidewalk.

And some pretty birds, most of which I didn’t get pictures of.

And I got to know some fun people who were in the class with me. We studied together in the evenings, and after we passed our last exam, a group of us drove to the beach on Lido Key.

Here are four of them celebrating in the Gulf of Mexico.

L-R: Alex, Anna, Troy, and Sonny

The evening was beautiful at the beach.

Then we went to dinner at Cha Cha Coconuts on St. Armand’s Circle.

Now I’m waiting for my flight home. I’m connecting in Dallas, and my flight is delayed, so I hope I don’t miss my connection.

Ah the joys of air travel in the 21st century!

My next trip is in two weeks, a whirlwind to spend two days with my family in New Jersey for Thanksgiving.

I’ve been to Florida twice.

The first time was one of the most exciting trips I ever took. I was a sophomore in college. I set off with two high school friends a couple of days before Christmas on a road trip from Long Island to Fort Lauderdale in a Cadillac convertible back in the days when a gallon of gas was less than 40 cents. We stayed in a hotel on the beach for about five nights, and then we went up to Orlando and went to DisneyWorld on New Year’s Eve.

I was especially excited because this was my first time traveling outside the northeast. Up to then I’d been in six states: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. On that trip I added Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

My second time in Florida was also a road trip, about four or five years later, this time with my sister. We stayed with my grandmother in Hollywood and we visited Disney on the way back north.

Sometime during that second trip, the allure of Florida ran dry. Or maybe it was later. I’m not sure. But now that I’ve been to all the states and to Europe and Canada, I realize that Florida is one of the least interesting places I’ve ever been. Other than the beach (though there are many much nicer beaches elsewhere) and a bunch of overly-crowded tourist attractions (none of which are particularly attractive to me), I can’t think of any reason to go there. Maybe to head down to Key West.
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