I had been told that Ybor City is like a mini-New Orleans. Having never been to New Orleans, my knowledge of the place is limited to whatever titty-flashing specials I have seen on TV. Ybor City was fun, fun to look at, the streets were blocked off for foot traffic, and it definitely gave off that Dave Attel kinda feel. what Ybor City had that I had nearly forgotten even existed they had in strides: the 18-and-over club. Long since the days I have even considered the 18-and-over club, I have only been reminded of their presence in recent years when I've gotten carded for cigarettes at the 9:30. The clubs were complete with street harking hoochies wearing sandwich boards inviting us to come into their club for the $6 all-you-can-drink Ladies' Night, which was a consideration until Here comes the Hotstepper came blaring out the doors of the place. HM and I chanted WORD 'EM UP until we were able to find the closest thing to a dive bar we could: Tampa's variation on the Such and Such Brewing Company, which for a place that brews their own beer, wasn't too bad.
We left after a few pints and some fries looking for a new bar. We saw BAR down one corner and hoped it would live up to its name, but unfortunately, it was like all the others on the strip. We passed cover band after cover band, one eurobootyhouse club after another. We happened upon an Irish bar, asked the bouncer if they had a band, and when he said no, we walked right in, delighted to discover a photohunt machine on the end of the bar and Stella Artios on tap with its own special glass. The man with one of those mutton-chops-merged-with-mustache-mustac
It ain't a Saturday morning if there ain't Trading Spaces. Luckily, of the six-or-so channels HM got in her hotel, one of them was TLC. After watching Hildi crapify another poor soul's room, it was off to Steak 'n Shake for lunch, and then HM drove us around to look at the sights.
I would like to preface this paragraph by saying to anyone who is a fan of or lives in Tampa, I mean no offense. However, being a native of New Jersey, it's nice to say what I'm about to say about someone else's home for a change.
Tampa is a dump.
Every billboard we passed was for either a bail bondsman, some real estate company whose tagline is "we buy ugly houses", or an ambulance chaser lawyer. One of them was courteous enough to advertise that he was most willing to handle "Personal Injury, Drug Trafficing, RICO, or murder" cases. We passed some of the most gorgeous Spanish Colonial homes in the most retched conditions, strewn with shit and begging for a paint job. Not to say that the area didn't have it's nice places; HM and I drove through both of them. The Bay was a sight to see, even with the big factory right on the horizon. In its defense, Tampa does have some of the best gasoline alleys I have ever seen, which I mean in all seriousness--I love to drive through strips of cheap commerce; and there was a barber shop on one of the streets that had a big barbeque barrel out front that the staff was making lunch in (I guess they put the Barber in </i>Barberque</i>!).
We spent the rest of Saturday afternoon at a flea market, digging through boxes of Hello Kitty Rubik's cubes, 12-packs of knockoff batteries, and frightening sticks of deo called "Confidence" or "Assured Feeling". I picked up an Atari game for my brother, but managed to resist picking up some fresh dubs for the Nizzeon.