After another month of living in Florida, I still have a lot to learn about this place, but there’s a couple of things I’ve figured out while being here. While the beaches are still just as great as they were in my previous post, “What You Learn in Florida,” this post delves a little deeper into what it means to be a “Floridian.”
1. Mosquito repellantDoes this image freak you out? It freaks me out. Mosquito repellant is quickly becoming my best friend here in Boca Raton. One day I went to the beach to watch the sunset and the mosquitoes must think I’m a delicious human because I came back home with 10 new bug bites. That is until I got Deet mosquito repellant. Every single time I’ve used this while hiking, beaching, or biking outside, I’ve come back bite-less.
3. The people put the chill in chillin’. Coming from California and living in the Northeast for a bit only corroborated my belief that Californians were the chillest people in the States. While some may still think that true, after being in Florida, I’ve come to believe that people here are on a whole nother level of chill and talking about social issues such as climate change, gay marriage, or universal healthcare are usually not of the biggest concern. While there are exceptions of course, topics of conversation usually steer more towards, “When’s the next party??” or “Did you hear about Nordstrom’s annual sale?” However, this could just be typical of the environment and county I was in (Palm Beach County), other pockets/groups of Florida could be different.
5. There are driving PSA’s everywhere. “Look twice, save a motorcyclist.” “Do not text and drive.” “Buckle up.” “Turn on your lights when it rains.”..all these freeway signs combined with a bunch of radio commercials saying, “Call this 1-800 number to solve your car accident troubles, you’re guaranteed to reach a live lawyer!” on top of the billboards plastered all over the place claiming, “Fight those car accident lawsuits.” I think it’s fair to say that driving cautiously in Florida might not be such a bad thing.
6. The malls have shuttles.These sprawling malls are clustered with tourists streaming about, their luggage behind them, filled with recent purchases. There are also places to check-in your shopping carts so you can continue shopping without wheeling massive amounts of goods around. Long live #Amurica.
7. People don’t play games when it comes to golf. A guy I met from Finland told me that plenty of Finnish come to Florida just to golf. When I asked him why, he responded by saying, “The grass here is just different.”
8. You’ll make a lot of interspecies hiking friends. While hiking, it is not abnormal to come across: a bunny, a deer, a crab, black and yellow centipedes, gators, and this is all in addition to the ever present lizards.
Challenge: Can you spot the gator in this pic?
9. “West Coast” usage.When people refer to the “West Coast,” they’re not referring to California, they’re referring to the west coast of Florida. Only one of these coasts gave rise to Tupac though, just sayin’.
10. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
When talking to locals about what to do in Florida, they recommend one of three things: Miami, the Keys, and Harry Potter World. After being to all three, I think they both have different pros and cons. It really just depends on what you’re looking for. Looking for some bomb Cuban food and a crazy night out? Miami’s your place. Craving some island culture and scuba diving? The Keys have your back. But looking for a place that’ll take you back to your childhood and leave you mesmerized with wonder? Harry Potter World‘s not a bad place to start.