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When in Rome...

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So here's my list of things I've picked up from my trips to Fort Myers:

Traffic:

Like a few others have mentioned traffic, especially getting on and off Ft Myers Beach and Sanibel Island can be a problem. God help them if they ever have to evacuate for a hurricane or something. I would also add leaving from the stadium to that list. It's kind of like the opening scene from Office Space where the guy in a walker zips far ahead of the cars stuck in traffic. Someone on here once said people in Florida don't know how to drive. Untrue! They just have a different mindset about it. People will actually let other people merge and let pedestrians have the right away! WHAT?

  • So just do what they do and relax! Put away the middle finger, lay off the gas and brake pedals, be courteous, and you'll be just fine.
  • Sanibel is a toll bridge. Have a SunPass on your car or bring $6 (or whatever it is now).
  • Give yourself extra time.
  • Rent bikes, take the trolley, or walk if you're going across the island. It's so much easier to bike to Publix or a restaurant during peak times.

Hammond Stadium:

  • When you get there the first thing you'll see is a line of police cars. DON'T PANIC! My first impulse was to hang a hard U-ey and start tossing stuff out the window before the chopper started hovering over me, but they're just there to direct traffic.
  • Parking is easy. They will direct you exactly to your spot. It cost $5 last time I was there.
  • Buy tickets in advance. This might not be true anymore since attendance is down, but most games used to sell out when I've gone.
  • Bring sunscreen or get a burned neck. So many people wear polo shirts and pop the collar there, I thought I was at a frat house.
  • The food from the grill is delicious.
  • Behind home plate there is a cluster of people with radar guns, they're scouts. All of their radar gun readings show a different number. I saw someone try to make a lame joke about a player to them once, they didn't seem to appreciate the "help."
  • Go early and you can get autographs pretty easily. I'm not an autograph guy so that's about all I can tell you.

Shelling:

  • Not all beaches are created equal, but you should still be able to get good shells whatever beach you're on.
  • If it's got a critter still inside, put it back. It's not only illegal to dig the little guy out of his home, you're also condemning him to a horrible death. Take a picture instead.
  • If a sand dollar is dark and fuzzy, it's alive. If it's bleached and not fuzzy, it's dead.
  • If a starfish is stiff and wet, it's alive. Starfish move very slowly. If it's wet and limp or dry and spongy, it's probably dead.
  • Best time to go is low tide after a windy day or night.

Miscellaneous:

  • Those things that look like rotten bananas with wings swimming in circles or figure-8s are called sea slugs and they don't bite.
  • That mysterious glob that looks like a chunk of warm ice or a waterlogged ham is called "sea pork." Don't eat it.
  • I haven't gone the last three years, but I was still seeing a few clams and rocks covered in oil tar from the BP oil spill in 2010.
  • Don't tease or get to close to any gators, they're most likely not tame or friendly.
  • Like I said somewhere else, Fort Myers is mostly about the Red Sox but the Twins are there too. A checkout girl said to me (a few years ago), "Oh you're a Twins fan? I'm originally from Illinois so I've been a Cubs fan all my life. I know what it's like to root for losers too!"