Monday, January 10, 2011

I'm running off to join the circus!


Steve and I were lucky enough to go to spend New Year's with some great friends in Florida and then Steve got to attend the Tom James semi-annual meeting in Tampa.  I hung around and got to see my amazing former co-workers.  I swear, the Tom James meetings are like a big family reunion (and this one you actually look forward to going to!)

We stayed in the Marriott Waterside in downtown Tampa that is next door to the St Pete Times Forum which was hosting....wait for it....The Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus!  Growing up in Sarasota, I always knew about the circus and loved going.  So I'm sure you can imagine my excitement when I saw the circus trucks drive by the Channelside Hooters on their way to the Forum.  I was even more excited when we woke up the next morning to find that the adjacent parking lot was overtaken by circus animals! 
The tent at the far end of the parking lot is where the horses and zebras stayed, the smaller train-like trailers next to the campers are where the 18 tigers stayed, and the big tent closest to us is where the ELEPHANTS stayed!  The elephants spent most of the day hanging out in the sand in front of the tent throwing it on their backs to cool off.  There were 8 of them and were divided up into 3 groups by trainer (2 of 3 and 1 of 2)  When they were about to go rehearse, their trainers would have them lay down and they would blow them off with leaf blowers.  One of the elephants chose to lay spread eagle on his belly while the others tended to lay on their sides.  Obviously, he was my favorite.  At one point one of the elephants in the group of two (which included my favorite) laid down and his buddy stood over him protecting him.  So sweet.  Needless to say, I completely fell in love with them. 

The best part of the elephants was the way they traveled.  They would hook up trunk to tail while they walked.  Here are some pictures:

Are they not the cutest things ever?!?!?!?  After their trainers would take their headdresses off, they would walk them back out to the sand and they would stand with their trunk up and their mouth open and I was picturing them saying, "TA-DA!" 

OK, so I know I watched them way too much, but I decided that if this house flipping thing doesn't work out, I'm running off to join the circus and train the elephants!