Sarasota’s Greyhound station is a little bit out of town so rather than lugging my bags to the bus stop I decided to use Lyft again. My previous two experiences were great. This was third time unlucky. The driver who attempted to rip me off has a very distinctive name, with him possibly being the only person with that name in Sarasota. I don’t want to name the shyster as that would be petty and it’s fairly low brow to throw around accusations on the internet. Lyft tracks drivers by GPS and I was told that the driver had arrived. I couldn’t see him so after a couple of minutes I checked where he was and he was on the road parallel. As I walked around the corner he had driven off and had stopped about a mile away. A few minutes later he continued to move on the GPS and I noticed that this was in the direction of the bus station. Surely he wasn’t going to go there, stop and then bill me for a journey I didn’t make? Yes he did. I had been charged $9.20 (although it was $4.20 as I had a $5 voucher). $4.20 is hardly going to break the bank but I was livid and sent Lyft a strongly worded email. To be fair they refunded me immediately.

The Greyhound to Tampa was only a short drive up the coast. Tampa’s the biggest city on Florida’s west coast and back home it’s probably most famous for being the home of the unpopular owners of Manchester United. I try and look at places’ claims to fame before I visit but was struggling here. The Lightning Capital of the World and Cigar City are all I could find. The latter is slightly baffling. Without getting political, the most famous type of cigar is still trade embargoed in Tampa. I also recall a school teacher telling me a particularly tasteless joke about Michael Jackson and Tampa. That was in the 1990s though, prior to the days of the professional outraged movement!

Most people visit Tampa to go to Busch Gardens, which is very close to where I’m staying. In fact you can see the top of some huge rollercoasters from the hotel. I won’ be going though. Theme parks don’t really do much for me and while I’m happy to do some activities alone, going to a theme park by yourself would frankly feel weird. Also it would probably cost at least two days budget to get in! Instead I plan to have a nice relaxing time in Tampa.