Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Shopping

Vero Beach,

Today we got on the free shuttle bus and rode over to the city to do our Christmas shopping for each other. The time has long passed to do shopping for others and to send stuff in the mail. What a culture shock!

The first shock was as we rode on the bus over the 65 foot bridge that crosses the ICW. We haven't been that far above sea level since climbing a mountain in Maine. I almost had vertigo.

The second shock was listening to the language of the local people, especially the blacks. We only understood about 50% of what we heard, so thick was their dialect.

Third was the shock of entering the shopping districts in Vero on the bus. My God what a consumer society we have become. Mile after mile of countless stores, with almost every one of them having a parking lot nearly full with customers cars. We passed the smaller shops. We passed the shopping centers with grocery stores and other things. Then we came to the big box store area with Wall Mart, Sam's Club, Lowes, Home Depot, and Target. There were crowds and crowds of people coming in and out. Finally we came to the mall itself where we got off. It also had nearly full parking lots. Mind you that this was midday on a non-holiday Thursday.

Finally was the shock of being in such large crowds of people in the mall. Remember that we've been living on a boat where 9 days out of 10 it is just Libby and me. On the 10th day we may have guests for a couple of hours. Actual crowds feel alien.

Darn. There seems to be no limit to the number of mechanical troubles popping up in a short time. Now one of my two gel cell batteries seems to have failed. I think it has an intermittent internal failure that gives high resistance. I'll have to replace it. The two batteries are only a year old, but the other one seems OK. Perhaps I can get a credit for unused months on the warranty on the bad one.

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