Sunday, April 27, 2008

4-27-08: Trip to Tampa

I just got back from a quick trip to Tampa Bay. I took my dad down there to see the Red Sox play the Rays last night, as an early Father's Day gift. Before you go and say "Wow, that's an awesome gift; you're a great son," I didn't get him anything last year. I was supposed to take him golfing, but he hurt his shoulder and we never went. So, this seemed to be a bit more of a guarantee (the Rays play in an indoor stadium called Tropicana Field, so rain-outs).

The biggest surprise last night was the sheer number of Red Sox fans in the stands. You've probably heard a lot about "Red Sox Nation" and how so many fans go to away games, but this was something else. Of the 38,000 fans there last night, I can say, in almost certainty, that 2/3 or more were Red Sox fans. Pretty much every one I sat near was a Red Sox fan. We had great seats on the third base line.

The other thing that surprised me was how fun it was to watch a game in Tampa. I'd never been there, and I was thoroughly impressed with Tropicana Field. Sure, the Sox lost, but it was a great time. The only snag on the whole trip was a bit of a mix-up checking in to the hotel (they didn't get my reservation from Orbitz, but a couple phone calls fixed the situation), but they had a hell of a bar. It was called The Green Iguana. The hotel was the Westshore Hotel. Funky place.

I'm not sure if I'd recommend a trip to Tampa in general (if you had other options), but it's not a bad city to visit. There's a huge bridge between Tampa and St. Petersburg, which are the two cities that comprise Tampa Bay. It's something like 7 or 8 miles long. Pretty wild. The people seem to be pretty nice, and it has a great airport. Gas is about the same, maybe a little cheaper.

I'm also not sure what I think about Southwest Airlines. It was an OK deal so far as the fare, but I don't think I like the seating scheme. It's just weird. They don't have reserved seats, so even though I paid for a "Business Class" seat, I got on the plane towards the end of the boarding process, and sat in the back. The seats were really comfortable, and the service was fine. Nothing really bad happened, so all I can say is, with the exception of the boarding process (check in online ASAP!), it's a good deal. I like JetBlue better, though.

No comments: