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After stargazing and the drive home I made it to bed around 5am. Though I didn’t think  I really was going to go I had asked my friends call at 830 to make sure I was awake. The call came much later than expected which was for the better. I grabbed a few things and headed out the door by 11.

Since being in Spain i have become much more adventurous and more apt to take opportunities that present themselves, though now back in Tampa I feel like that is not so much the case; every thing has to be forced, I have to force my self to get out and do stuff. I think it’s the fact that driving is involved in everything, besides my now common bike trips to the grocery store; in Spain you get in a bus and relax or you take an enjoyable walk to where it is that you are going.

With my hand drawn map in hand I made the one hour trip north up to Weeki Wachee Springs.

At the Spring head there is a small water park with some slides and pools and a theater where “mermaids” perform an underwater dance show. There is also a 20 minute pontoon-boat ride up and down the river where they tell you about some of the history and nature of the area.

The spring is 74 degrees Fahrenheit year round (23C) and the spring puts out 100 gallons per minute (375L).

Yuli and Franz

I remember as a kid going to some spring in Florida but I don’t remember the water much; in Weeki Wachee it was so clear but before I could get in the water i had to find my way to the tables that Franz had reserved in the picnic area.

When I finally got to the back of the park Franz and his Fiance, Yulli, Emma and a girl who’s name I don’t remember were all playing Volleyball so I joined Franz on one side and the three girls took the other side. Before Emma said something I new it was coming, “What is this…”

Franz is a good friend from USF, our university we studied education together.  I remember meeting him for the first time in a class on diversity with a great teacher, Dr. Leavy, who was a nun. she always wore the same blue dress and white top for every class. She would every so often surprise those willing to talk to her after class with some stereotype breaking comments or opinions.

Franz, Emma, Yulli, who i know from USF and their friend have all been part of Community Tampa Bay’s Anytown Program, which is a youth leadership and diversity awareness program.

Franz’s family showed up with some food and later more friends joined us.

Since the family was there and could guard the tables and our stuff we all went off to the spring. The edge is too shallow to jump in so the only way was slow shocking immersion step by step.  74F is actually not bad but still offers I bit of a shock so I just sort of laid back and fell into the shallow water from the second or third step. everyone was about waist deep and shivering, hesitant to go in all the way. I grabbed  our nameless friend from around the waist and leaned back dunking her, not knowing that she can’t swim; thankfully we were in the shallow end still. Just when I came up Emma basically tackled Franz and so we were all 4 in the water.

Later as we were climbing the stairs to the top of the slides people were pushing and shoving and claiming “Cannonball” so they could cut the line to get to the fast water slide that no one was waiting to ride.  Behind me some kids were spitting down on people below and directly behind me a kid poured out beer from some cans sitting on the hand rail then threw down the actual cans despite me telling him not to.

Franz stepped up as the first in our group to go down the slide. By the time we made it to the top we had dried off and warmed up, becoming unaccustomed to the slightly chilly water; Emma cupped some water and threw it on Franz as he got ready to slide down. Our nameless friend was in front of me and I was the last of us to go down. It seemed like a long time had passed between when our nameless friend went and when I was allowed to go down the slide. when I got to the bottom and swam over to our group it turns out that when our nameless friend was shot out of the slide, into the spring, the lifeguard had to rescue her since again, she can’t swim.

Franz and Yulli on the Weeki Wachee River