On Friday, February 4, 2005, my husband and I opted to take a "vacation" day to attend Friday's Super Bowl activities dowtown Jacksonville ! For him, it was a birthday holiday from work at Fuji Hunt. For me, I had to tear myself away, literally, from my online business as Jaguar Julie Designs both selling on eBay and Overstock. Quite a full time adventure, I might add ... but that's fodder for another article !!
We researched the best way to get downtown. It was decided we'd pay $5.00 for an all-day transit pass. The deal was that you find one of the authorized park and ride lots as advertised in the Times-Union. However, once we found our lot, there were several of us who got confused and parked on the wrong side of the shopping center. After a good 30 minute wait, I suggested to my husband that he was perhaps in the wrong area! You know, husbands don't usually succumb to taking or asking for directions well !
We ventured over to the other side of the shopping center and lo and behold !!! there was the trolley car and a few buses. Ambling up to the transit car at 12:30pm, we were abruptly told, "NO tickets until 2pm!!" "Say What???" asked my informed husband. "I read in the paper that the buses started at Noon!" Well, that was some misinformation. OK, we're off to a not so good start! We called our friends who were at another lot experiencing the same confusion. After hooking up, we all drove down to the Southbank area and opted to ride in the Tram. That was fun!!
Once we arrived at The Landing in downtown Jacksonville, we encountered a hopping place! I actually got a die-hard Eagles fan to hoot, holler, and growl at me because of my Jaguar garb! OK, that was fun . . . but my stomach was growling and I was hungry. We finally found a cool little spot, Mongo's, to have a Mongolian lunch. That was my first time for such a cool place! You fix a bowl of meats, fishes, spices, oils, vegies, and a separate bowl of sauces . . . then you proceed to a grill area and watch your food being grilled! I loved it !! Specially with all the jalapenos I added.
So, what was so special about this place?? Well, glad you asked. We were finishing up lunch and spotted an interview about to get underway out on the patio deck area. JOSH GRACIN . . . remember this country singer from American Idol ?? Well, I was one of those millions with speed dial who actually voted for this talented young Marine. I waited patiently with pen and paper in hand and then went up to the young man, introducing myself as "Jaguar Julie" who is one of your oldest fans and had speed dial . . . and would be attending your Pepsi Smash concert that evening. Now, I GOT HIS AUTOGRAPH. Yikes! You'd think I was a teeny bopper. I don't think I've ever gotten anyone's autograph before. OK, either a sheltered life or much too reserved???
Well . . . we continued to enjoy the goings on on the St. Johns River. Heading over to the stage area, we saw Tom Arnold, he looks better in person! Then, Bert Reynolds showed up with Chris Rock and Adam Sandler. After these 3 "gentlemen" were interviewed, they were squired past all us "admiring" FANS to be led over to the Adams Mark Hotel. Excuse me while I dis, dish the dirt, on Bert! OK, I'm not one for being rude or unfriendly [ Hello Bert, did you hear me calling your name? ] . . . but, Bert, stop with the plastic surgery already!! I didn't say this, but someone standing nearby said something about a Mask and I don't think they were talking about Jim Carrey's movie. I understood that a reporter was dogging you and you wanted NO INTERVIEWS, but you had admiring fans . . . I'm way too old to be shouting your name and waving! Did you forget your contacts? Time to retire!
Now Chris Rock, not much better! Has fame gone to your head??
OK, now it's time for Adam Sandler . . . I've always watched your movies, but wasn't necessarily an A+ fan. BUT, my opinion has changed based on your cordiality that you expressed on Friday at the Jacksonville Landing! You took time to acknowledge your fans, hey you even smiled and waved! Thank you!
Well . . . several hours passed, my tootsies were getting tired in my black fringed Durango cowboy boots. We bought two shirts from a licensed Super Bowl seller and one beer bottle holder. YIKES, our charge tab came to $102.00! Way too much for this merchandise! Hey you guys, that's pretty near price gouging . . . especially since I can buy things off eBay at better prices. Oh well, part of the NFL, SUPER BOWL experience.
Finally . . . it was time for the Pepsi Smash Concert !! at the new Jacksonville Arena. All in all, this was an enjoyable experience . . . once my husband surrendered two Monster batteries from his high-end FujiFilm digital camera to Victoria at the gate. We got to our seats, but I could have used binoculars or another Lasik touch up. So, we moved to the seats that my husband initially purchased. Once the concert got underway, we were definitely impressed by the talent of Josh Gracin. Next up was Chris Cagle . . . WHO?? I can't say that I've heard of him, but he did a great job with his performance! And mighty engaging with the audience. Then came Jo Dee Messina! "WOW," said my husband. "She looks like a biker girl." Well, that meant he found her hot and sexy. And, VERY TALENTED!!! I thoroughly enjoyed her singing and performing. For a little person, she sure could belt out the tunes. Last was Dwight Yoakum. I wasn't terribly impressed with this country singer . . . he's got to stop mumbling when he sings and talks. Unfortunately, we opted to leave near the end of his performance.
YIKES . . . my tootsies were soooo tired! We had to now search up our bus to take us to the park and ride lot. This was absolutely a most miserable time for me! As we trudged quite a walk to find the right bus waiting area, we had to wait on a good 3 buses before one pulled up. It was chilly, dark, and a long wait. This is one challenge for the SUPER BOWL COMMITTEE!! The Jacksonville Transit Authority needed to do a better job with the transportation! The lines were monstrous at Midnight! That made for more than a 12 hour day for us.
A final word . . . Pepsi was literally "throwing out" small red/white/blue squeeze balls on key chains as specialty give-a-ways at the Jacksonville Arena front door. The young people enlisted to perform this task were having way too much fun rifling these balls at old fogies such as myself! But, I did catch the two that were aimed my way, much to the surprise of the youngsters! ;-) This didn't negatively influence my opinion of Pepsi. Pepsi-Cola has always been my #1 choice over Coca-Cola. I love the way Pepsi-Cola tastes and have never acquired a taste for that syrupy sweet taste of Coke! Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, we'd drink Pepsi or often R.C. Cola -- Royal Crown Cola . . . which was the favorite of my grandparents!