a moment in tampa

One morning in Tampa, I decided to take a walk from my hotel downtown to the Hillsborough river a few blocks over. The hotel boasted its proximity to the "riverwalk", which sounded nice enough. But as I approached this riverwalk I noticed colorful graffiti covering everything in the distance.

My sketchville alert -- the one that goes off when you realize your GPS has just routed you through a scary neighborhood -- was on full blast. Every passing person was suddenly a threat. I jumped each time a car passed.

I could see the riverwalk in the distance and it looked nice - a perfectly manicured park sticking out in the sea of graffiti. I figured the city of Tampa was in the midst of some kind of downtown beautification project in what was once a poor area... they just hadn't gotten around to washing off the spray paint.

It was broad daylight, so I decided to keep walking despite my wariness. When I reached the start of the riverwalk, a plaque explained that Ivy League college crew teams trained at this stretch of river in the summer and showed their school spirit by spray painting...everything.

My brain has never gone from STRANGER DANGER to WINKLEVOSS TWINS! quite so quickly.

By the way, have you ever seen the University of Tampa? My picture above doesn't do it justice, but I thought it was so pretty I had to do a double take the first time I saw it.