Thursday, May 31, 2012

he's in the jailhouse now...

 Ethan had an all-day field trip to St. Augustine. We rode in nice tour buses with bathrooms. The kids all seemed overly interested in using the bus bathroom.

 Our first stop was to Gator Bob's Old Jail Museum. This is Bob. And his gators.

There were so many pirates off the coast of St. Augustine, the Spanish would melt all of their precious metals and make them look like rocks. When the pirates came aboard, they would see these rocks and ignore them. When the Spanish got to wherever they were going, they would heat the rock and separate the metals.

 After the kids went through Gator Bob's museum, they were locked up because they were too noisy. I guess this guy was next in line.
While we were waiting our turn to go to jail, the sheriff (who had a strong Suthen' accent) made the kids repeat the rules. No touchin', no cussin', no spittin'. When the kids repeated it back, they suddenly all had strong Southern accents, too. :)

 Peeking through the pie hole, into the cell block.

 This is the warden. He's a statue. Ethan's head is blurry here because suddenly the statue began to talk and move. It surprised everyone.

 Locked up

 Ethan's cell mate didn't have much to say, and just stared at the floor like that for a while.

 Trying to escape. Unsuccessfully.

 We had to pass the gallows on the way to getting finger printed.
I guess they save the gallows for kids who spit and cuss and touch things.
 The kids were locked up while they awaited their final sentence.

 When we were finally able to escape Creepy Statue Warden, we hopped on a "trolley" to take a guided tour of St. Augustine.
It's a lovely city with so much history.
 Yes, the fountain of youth was only two blocks away. No, they didn't let us stop and take a sip.

 Thomas Edison helped build a generator for this small (but amazingly beautiful) college. He also wired it for electricity. How cool is that?

Martin Luther King preached at this church while he was in hiding. Again, very cool!

 The Trolley dropped us off at the Castillo De San Marcos (aka The Fort). We got to see a bunch of soldiers fire a cannon at an imaginary pirate ship. It takes about fifteen minutes to load the cannon (which was apparently stuffed full of  gun powder and white bread that day).
Fifteen minutes would seem like an eternity during a war.
 The guide said you could only use a bayonet if you had teeth, because you had to rip the packet of gunpowder open with one hand. If you didn't have teeth, you could only fire a cannon. This guy was lucky, he had teeth.

 Crossing the "dry moat" of the fort. In an emergency, they would put their animals in the moat to protect them, so the people wouldn't starve.

Several decades ago, someone decided to fill the moat with water, but realized the walls absorbed moisture, and they began to fall apart.
 Here we are, up-close and personal with the fort wall. It is made of Coquina.
That's tiny shells, to all you gringo land lubbers.

Admiring one of the original Spanish cannons.

 Ethan is in a green shirt in the back row, about to be pushed off the top of the fort by someone's flying curls.

 This is one of the rooms in the fort. Because the walls hold moisture, and because the fort is next to the ocean, these rooms are excessively humid inside.
 As the interior rooms became smaller, the humidity increased. This room was used to store ammunition. Then the soldiers realized the humidity was ruining their powder, so they sealed all their garbage in it instead. When excavators opened the door, they found rooms full of trash.

 You can see that not only are the rooms getting smaller, but so are the doorways to get into them. I decided I didn't need to go inside the last room. But the kids thought it was pretty fun.
 Ethan said it was So Cool in there, despite being so hot and humid.

And here's one last look at the view from the top of the fort. Beautiful!

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