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bust!

It's a good thing! Turns out Tropical Storm Ernesto failed to devastate Florida, and so after a day in Tampa they sent me home. I was really surprised not to be sent to the Carolinas, where Ernesto is causing flooding, but they didn't.
So it was good all around - there wasn't a disaster and I got a trip to Tampa out of it. I'm glad to have done it and I have a much better idea now of what I need to take on future trips - although I was pleased to see that I had the smallest amount of luggage of anyone there as far as I could tell. They tell you to be adaptable and prepared for some rough conditions. Obviously they don't get a lot of current or former backpackers! :-) I still think I took too much, even though I only had the one carryon.
Yesterday, since I didn't really have anything to do other than check in regularly to see if there were any updates I got to explore Tampa. So during the morning I went with my roomate, a nice older lady from Ohio named Sandy, to the Florida Aquarium. It's a nice small aquarium, with a lot of local bay plants, fish and birds. We ate lunch there and went back to see if we were needed yet, which we weren't. Sandy went back to the room and I went touring. I bought a day pass for the bus and trolley system and took some loop trips through the downtown, and some of the neighborhoods. My fave place was Ybor City, and old Greek fishing village that also included Italian and Cuban immigrants. It's full of funky little shops and things, just the sort of place I love! So I did some shopping and then came back to the main hotel, to find that we were going to be sent home.
I knew that since everyone would be calling the travel agency, so I went to a grocery store downtown and grabbed some dinner, and came back to the room and started calling. After 1 hour 45 minutes on hold (grrr!) I got through and got a flight back to Phoenix.
So I got back here in time for dinner! Amazing. Tomorrow I have to go sort out the expense card I had and generally check in with the local chapter.
I'm just so glad nothing bad happened that I had to help out with. And I got a nice trip out of it, which is beside the point of course, but I enjoyed myself anyway. So all around it was a pretty cool experience, and even though I didn't get any hands-on experience I still picked up a few tips from the veterans.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
litchi
Sep. 2nd, 2006 04:54 am (UTC)
I'm glad you got something out of the experience. As you say, next time you'll have a better idea of what to expect. We're so lucky down here in SA. Hardly any natural disasters except mild (compared to the States) flooding...and the occasional draught, of course.
Kudos to you for volunteering!

Lee
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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