Saturday, July 13, 2002

Name game

Nashville: Music, Grand Ole Opry
.. and old picture of downtown Jax from only 5 years ago.. Atlanta: Capital of the New South, "Hot"lanta, Underground Atlanta
New Orleans: Music, Food, French Quarter
Miami: South Beach, Little Havana

Ok. Now. When I say 'Jacksonville'.. what comes to mind if you havent lived there?


Right. Anything else?

No? Thats pretty much everyone, including myself - when I had to find it on a map when I came first came down to visit my sister.

Now that Ive lived here, I wish more people knew at least where it is.

Vital Stats

Jacksonville, Florida.. pronounced Jack-SOHN-ville by longtime natives, by land area, the largest city in the lower 48 states (Sitka, Alaska is the largest city in the US geographically), 16th in US population with almost a million people.. more than the city of Miami. Its the most populous city in the state of Florida.

There are very good reasons this area has its own NFL football team.

In the spirit of revisiting memories, I went looking for another residence of mine - when I lived in the San Marco area near downtown Jacksonville, across the the St Johns River from the Riverside area where I previously lived.
I drove up to Nira Street and looked for # 628.

Hmm. Wait.. there is the Sapphic Counseling Center at the corner (yes, really) and the Apple Jax Bar and BBQ, but... not 40's-style 4-flat building that was oh-so familiar to me. Nor the rest of the pre-war buildings that were all on my block of Nira Street.


My first apartment in Jacksonville. My first flea-infested furniture. Where I lived as the returning Gulf War planes thundered over downtown. The huge palms in the backyard. All gone.

Nope, all there was was this:

Oh yeah, and that stretch of Nira is now called 'Childrens Road".


I knew the local childrens hospital had planeed to expand, but whoa.

I drove around a few times, but the surety of what happened hit me.

All I have are the colors of my memories living in San Marco.

Random images of Jacksonville familiar to those who have lived in Jax in the past 10 years or so.

Downtown Jacksonville

Jacksonville being a river city, its also a city of bridges.

You kinda know the bridges by its colors (except for the newer ones which are all concrete).

The blue is the Main Street Bridge

Its a concrete overpass now, only technically being a bridge because it spans a body of water - its still called the Acosta bridge - but I remember the Acosta as a yellow drawbridge before they dynamited it.

They are still working on it 6 years later.

The St Johns River.
One very large and long mutha, spanning miles across its width.

It flows north. The only river in the country to do this.

Most Jax folk know the old Maxwell House plant downtown.
Even if you dont drink coffee, the smell of this plant roasting coffee beans will make you an addict.

Where the Jack-SOHN-ville Jag-WHARS (not Jag-WIRES, as most folk incorrectly assume by South Georgian, Northern Floridian Southern drawl around them) play, AllTel Stadium, formerly the Gator Bowl.. where the Georgia-Florida game is still played every dagummed year.

Man, people still remember the SCORES of every Florida-Georgia game played.

Yep. Thas old Andrew Jackson, who the town is named for...

The livin aint easy in Jax... but most folk stay here.

For reasons like this..

No, the livin is far from ez in Jax, but its not bad either.

Friday, July 12, 2002

Back in town

Just coasted in (and Im not exaggerating when I say 'coasted'. The needle was kissing 'E', and I had 78 cents of emergency gas money left in my pocket...)

Yeah, I have beaucoup pics to offload and resize and upload, but right now Id rather just say thanks to some of the Jax folk near and dear to me.

First the Magical Ed, who:

A) Has a difficult time waking up in the morning, hence the PopEye look...

B) Has a difficult time smiling for a camera, hence the PopEye look.

Normally, he looks like a 6' 5" James Dean (or a biker Jesus when he has his hair long - ask Clint), but before he's swigged his morning cuppa he looks like PopEye...

And then, there is my Pal Lillie

I under-articulate things severely when I say - She's Da Best.

So, Lil met Ed.

Anyways.. Im gettin all sentimental (as Ive been driving all day literally from one end of Florida to the other - a 1200 mile round trip according to the odometer).. but Im in the mood for giving thanx.

Okie, gotta unpack

Thursday, July 11, 2002

Way South

Dateline: Marathon, Florida Public Library

The Florida Keys. 100 miles from Miami.

I shoulda done this a long time ago.

I only intended to come down for a day. Im staying for two.

I feel like I just shed a skin.

Against all odds, Ive become quite relaxed.

I think I'll drive all the way back up US 1 to Jacksonville..

Hopefully I dont fill up the memory cards.

Pictures as soon as I can offload and upload them.

Aloha no.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Non-whiny entry

Anna defined the feeling by using a filipino 'ism'..

Essentially, senti is derived from the word "sentimental." However, from the way I've heard my Filipino friends use it, it seems to connote more than that. It seems to imply nostalgia, melancholy, longing, hurt, hope.

Every time I saw a black Accord Coupe around Jacksonville, my head would swivel as I half expected to see Moni Sayed step out from it.

Never mind that its been nearly 10 years now. I wonder how she's doing. Then I wonder about the hundreds of people I grew to know in Jax, most of whom Ive forgotten their names, but not their circumstances.

My brain is being rewired along familiar paths, as I remember bits and pieces and places that had been purged from memory.

I want to reconnect, if only to know how theyre doing.

Then I put it out of my mind as I continue to photograph places in a familiar town of strangers.
Staying with Lillie, living off her bodacious cooking.

Been introduced to two asian things Im currently addicted to:

Yam Yam (from Singapore)

basically sesame bread sticks, that you dip into creamy strawberry or chocolate dips.

and "Soft Sesame Candy" - made in Vietnam (according to the package)

Essentially a flat circle of maltose (malt sugar), covered by roasted sesame seeds.

Mmmmmmmmm. Im a fool for Malt.

A satisfying chew.

Next up.. shrimp chips.
I dreamt I was dancing with her, her joy of dancing showing in her eyes and her hair as she easily swirled in my hands.


I dont even dance.

No gabz.. it doesnt get any easier.

Florida specials my arse. See Florida for cheap my arse.

*doing calculations... adding machine sounds*
- Rent-A-Wreck Geo Prizm (aka Toyota Corolla) 26.95 a day.
Mileage.. only 150 miles a day. Uh-oh.
20c a mile after that. Uh-oh.
*more adding machine sounds*
350 miles to Lauderdale. Another 150 miles to Key West.
*more frantic key punching*
A thousand mile round trip.
Even if I rent the car for a week for the mileage, Im still paying mileage.


Are the pretty Key West pictures worth it?

Monday, July 08, 2002

Agita Interrupted

In Fort Lauderdale, I left behind a suitcase full of books and tech stuff. I meant to do that.

It was heavy. I figured Id pick it up later.

I did NOT mean to leave behind my shoulder bag.

That little sundry contains:

  • My notebook.
  • My camera USB cable
  • My fast battery charger
  • My memory card reader
  • My external USB hard drive


    That list contains all the things I needed to keep my raison d'etre for travelling.

    Without spending more monies, the absence of these things means:

  • I have no way of offloading the pics off my camera or memory cards as I travel.
  • I can only charge the batteries in the camera, which takes several hours. As opposed to half an hour with the charger.
  • I have no easy way of storing the images IF I could offload the images.

    See why I now have to trek back to South Florida? Funny. If I were missing two out of three of these items, I would shrug, get replacements and keep going.

    But its JUST enough of a loss, where its worth my time to head back down there.

    350 miles, each way.


    Why cant I LEAVE this state???

    However, in the spirit of making wine out of agita.... I never did get a chance before to go down to the Keys....