THE EXQUISITE BOK TOWER GARDEN IN FLORIDA
Christina and Chris by the swimming pool of their lovely house
I arrived at Saint Petersburg, Florida from Toronto, Ontario on 9th November 2016. Although my plane landed earlier, Chris was already at the arrival hall of the airport to greet me. I was rather surprised, but not unexpected, to see him there as I hadn't cleared immigration, so I thought. Actually the immigration matter, which was pleasantly simple, was completed in Toronto. I just walked out like in a domestic flight, unlike from Canada to the United States.
As winter was approaching, it was getting dark when I arrived at about 5.30 pm. But I didn't need my overcoat as it was comfortably warm in Florida. We checked into a lovely hotel, and went straight to dinner in a Thai restaurant, where Christina joined us.
I started the next day, 10th November, with a lovely breakfast in a restaurant in town though breakfast was included in the hotel. As the breakfast showed a long list of offers, as expected in the United States, I said to Chris. "In San Francisco, Andrew was my food adviser, in New York, New Hampshire and Toronto, I had Eugene, Matt and Kay. They were all very good advisers. I would do the same in St Pete."
"Sifu," Chris asked, "Would you like something sweet or salty?"
"I'm sweet, and not salty. I prefer a sweet breakfast."
Chris ordered a pumpkin pancake with maple syrup and cream for me, and something that looked colorful for himself.
"Your breakfast looks colorful. What's it called?"
"It's a loaded home fries," Chris answered, though I was quite sure the chef made the omelet-like breakfast in the restaurant and not at home.
"Would you like some?" Chris offered me his "loaded home fries".
"Yes," I said gleefully. "I'm quite adventurous when it comes to eating breakfast." So I took half his "loaded home fries" and gave him half my pumpkin pancake.
Then we went to Chris' house to pick up his wife, Christina. It was a beautiful house with a lovely swimming pool. Like in Toronto, I almost walked through the clear glass door to the charming poolside scene outside.
We drove across a long causeway from St Petersburg to Tampa. It was a scenic causeway with the sea, or ocean, just a few feet below.
"How long is the causeway?" I asked Chris.
"About 10 miles."
"Some years ago, Eugene, Riccardo the gourmet, and I drove across the longest bridge in the world over a large lake to New Orleans."
We passed some pretty lakes as well as farms and orange groves. Then we arrived at Bok Tower Garden in central Florida. It was an exquisite park with a great variety of trees and plants, and scenic ponds with lotus flowers. We went to a hut with a large glass window overlooking a beautiful pond, which was known as the TV.
The main attraction was the Singling Tower, about 205 feet or 62 meters high. It was surrounded by a moat with colorful koi fish swimming about. At 1.00 pm the Singing Tower chimed its angelic bells. The peeling of bells in charming melody was soothing and delightful, and many people, especially elderly ones, sat in garden benches to enjoy the music.
After lunch at he Box Twower Garden, we drove back to Saint Petersburg for ice cream. It was a delightful trip.
Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit,
12th November 2016.
Me and Christina in the exquisite Bok Tower Garden