This past weekend was my semi-annual pilgrimage to South Florida to visit my old buddy Punch. The past motivation for this pilgrimage was the St. Petersburg Grand Prix, a really fun auto race event that kicks off the Indycar season. However, this year we had pretty well decided to blow the thing off as we figured that the $100 afternoon could be money better spent elsewhere. What we hadn't figured on was a phone call from one of Punch's buddies offering two VIP passes to the event on the Saturday before the Sunday race. Entrance fee, paddock pass, and VIP tent atop the grandstand with catering and refreshments on a day featuring plenty of support racing, Indycar practice and qualifying??? No brainer. Hell yes! We're going to the races!
To celebrate the good news, which occurred on Thursday, we decided to make dinner of a smoked pheasant that Punch had gotten as a gift from his brother, with sides of steamed asparagas and hollandaise, wild rice, and a salad accompanied by a glass or two, or three, of a good red, followed by a couple of martinis and cigars and conversation on the deck... Crash. Life is good.
The following evening, knowing that we were going to have to fortify ourselves for the long day to come, we simply decided to do what boys will do and burn a steak on the grill with sides of baked potato and salad and a glass or two, or three, of a good red followed by martinis, cigars, and more conversation on the deck... Crash. Got a life-sized headache but life is still good.
Not exactly springing off the mark on Saturday morning, we none-the-less got going in time to stop for a full country breakfast at a local diner before meeting up with our host at the event. It's hard to imagine a more perfect place for a street festival and race than the St. Petersburg waterfront. Even though the day dawned a little chilly and rain threatened, it was, indeed, a beautiful day with plenty to see and do.
There was a pretty good crowd for a misty day of purusing the vendors and cruising the paddock checking out all of the race cars and racy women.
The grounds of the event encompass the airport and adjacent waterfront park containing the municipal theater, a minor-league baseball park and the spectacular new Salvadore Dali museum. Dali is an amazing artist and I never tire of seeing his work. This museum is one of, if not the largest, single collection of Dali's work in existance and Punch and I spent a good deal of time there. It was a little surreal to be in a surrealist building enjoying the world's greatest surrealist artist all the while hearing surreal automobiles scream by outside.
That evening, grab a bite at a pretty good Greek restaurant and crash.
Up at 4:00 AM Sunday to watch Formula One live from Malaysia. Hung around the house catching the Indycar race at 1:00 PM, me playing guitar, Punch grumbling and cursing in a tangle of wires trying to get his earth-shaking, surround-sound system going. Decided to burn another steak that evening (bought a NY Strip two-pack the first time and split a steak each evening)(We aren't totally debauched.) Again, side of baked potato and salad, with ear of corn and a glass or two, or three, of a good red preceded by martinis, cigars and conversation on the deck, and followed by Ben & Jerry's vanilla ice cream with chocolate chip cookies for desert.
No doubt about it, I'm getting too old for this. It will take me a week to get over it. But we did rally on Monday morning, Punch going to work and me hitting the road home. All in all, a great weekend. Anyone know who won the race?
|I swear these people are following me around!|