(This is the crown jewel of civil engineering in the Florida Keys: the Seven Mile Bridge between the city of Marathon and Little Duck Key. Depending on the weather, the ocean may look blue, light blue or even teal!)
I returned from my Florida vacation a few days ago and have now resumed my busy teaching schedule for the fall months. Fortunately, I am more relaxed and energetic after this much needed break from chess and everything else. In fact, I left my laptop at home and spent a total of only 2-3 hours on the internet over the course of two weeks.
Perhaps many of my readers did not know that I grew up in Florida. I lived for a few years on the Florida Keys while my father worked on the Seven Mile Bridge. However, I spent the bulk of my school years living in St. Petersburg (not Russia) and graduated summa cum lauda from St. Petersburg High School in 1992 (see photo at right). Last week, I saw my high school for the first time in 16 years and even met a couple of my old friends from what feels like a prior incarnation. I could hardly believe that some are married--with children! A lot has changed over the years. For example, our neighborhood strip mall in St. Pete was replaced by a WalMart supercenter!
Some of you have wondered whether my travel plans were impacted by and Hurricane Ike. Yes, we had to change plans, but all turned out well. We intended to visit the Florida Keys on the same days that Ike was threatening to hit before it went further south. Consequently, we stayed longer in the resort town of Daytona Beach and rode out the winds, rain and spectacular waves from Hanna in a beach-front, ocean-facing, . Thanks to the fact that the hotels were almost completely empty, we slept in fancy suites while paying internet room rates. Fortunately, we still were able to visit Marathon and Key West on the last two days of our vacation. We even saw a few of author Ernest Hemingway's famous six-toed cats.