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A date with a Diplomat conjures up all sorts of images. Before I met my husband, I would have assumed it meant going to a swanky cocktail party attended by a group foreign dignitaires. And while those events do happen, abet rare, the life of a Diplomat is far less glamorous and more of an ernest interaction with the colorful, local culture. In this case — Tampa, Florida. So while my friends and family were weathering the surreal “Superstorm” that swirled above the east coast, I went “local” with my husband on a surreal date.

What made it surreal? Well to start with – today is Tuesday. It is not often that I get to spend the middle of a work day with the love of my life, but the State Department was shut down for the day (as was my office), so my husband justified a day off too to be with his girl. “Where are we going?”, I asked.

“To the Salvador Dali Museum”, he answered, not knowing that Dali was one of my favorite surrealistic artists. Hard to believe I know, but it just never came up in our 17 years together.  It was truly a date. My husband had learned something new about me, AND we we were going out without Diplo-dog tagging and wagging along. (sorry Lexi)

Being a bit of an architecture junkie, I was most impressed by the simplicity, yet grandeur of this new museum which is located in downtown, St. Pete. The image of the spiral staircase does not do it justice.

We stopped downstairs at Café Gala to grab a much needed café con leche (we were a bit restless last night worrying about the Storm back home), and a bite to eat. While a limited menu – the enslada de jamón and serranitas were exceptional.  Having had toured the museum for a while, we learned that Gala was the wife and muse of Dali. She is featured in many of his works of art and as Steve pointed out, he must have loved her as much as Steve loves me. My date was trying to charm me.

Sitting in the cafe, the furniture guru in me couldn’t help noticing how well the chairs worked with the architecture. I had to of course find out who made them, so I snapped a detail of the chair for reference. I thought they might be Spanish (being in the Dali museum and all), but it turns out that they are the Caprini “Caprice” chairs made in Italy. I think my company should sell these!!!The highlight of our museum tour was me finally getting to see one of my all time favorite paintings in person – “Dali Lincoln Vision“. I also loved “The Girl with the Curls” and “Old Age, Adolescence, and Infancy” amongst others. The Dali Museum website features these and many more. If you click each photo in the link, you can pan over some of the intricate details. Surrealism at it’s best.

My date didn’t end there.

Next stop – Bed, Bath and Beyond. Yes – when you have been married for a while — you might wind up shopping for laundry baskets and mattress covers in the midst of a romantic afternoon together.

I was relieved when my husband suggested that we stop for a romantic dinner. With my date back on track I thought Tapas or something gourmet would round out our adventure. “It is a another fabulous surprise”, he said. Well it was a bit of a surprise and a bit surreal to find out that dinner was going to be served out of a HUT. the “Jerk Hut” to be exact.While it is tempting to jest that “my jerk” took me to the “Jerk Hut” — a local Jamaican greasy-spoon joint — I will do no such thing. In fact, while not hors-d’oeuvres or fancy Diplomatic cocktail fare, the jerk chicken & roasted goat were actually quite yummy, and my husband served both up on a tray in bed with a luscious glass of malbec. Going “local” with my husband in the end was pretty “REAL” and also quite wonderful.