The Monkey Bus
29 April 2017 | Sunset at Galati's, Holmes Beach
Thursday, May 4th and Friday, May 5th
It was another beautiful day, but warm, as we did boat things during the day. We were thinking of trying a new restaurant on the north end of the island where we were in the city of Anna Maria, but ultimately we decided to go back to The Beach House in Bradenton Beach (middle of the island) for dinner. Although the free trolley comes all the way to the north end of the island, the Galati Yacht Basin is located about seven blocks from the trolley stop. As we were planning to go grocery shopping after dinner, we did not want to walk seven blocks carrying groceries. In addition, the weather was iffy, with rain forecast. So, we called Uber. It was going to be an hour before an Uber driver could pick us up. Unacceptable. Roger walked up to the dockmaster's office to see whether he had any suggestions. He did. In addition to a taxi service, he told Roger about the Monkey Bus.
We had seen the Monkey Bus when we were in Bradenton Beach on the trip down, but we didn't know exactly what we were seeing. It is a small, yellow school bus with monkeys painted all over it. It turns out to be a door-to-door ride service which advertises that you "ride for free, drivers work for tips." We had the number and we called the Monkey Bus. The "dispatcher" (actually one of the drivers who handles dispatching duties while driving) said he would be there in 20 minutes. And he was.
As we were going to the restaurant it began to rain. We were really glad that we had not tried to use the trolley. After a very nice dinner at The Beach House, we caught the trolley back to the Publix for some reprovisioning. While the ladies were grocery shopping, the men went in search of liquor. A couple of clowns came back with the liquor. Due to a donation to a children's charity, the guys had picked up some red noses while at Walgreens and were sitting outside the Publix wearing the noses. It was really funny to hear the comments of people going into and out of the Publix who noticed them. They caused some smiles, and that was the point of the red noses.
The Monkey Bus took us back to the yacht basin. After putting away the groceries and playing our nightly game of Skip-Bo, we called it a night. Although we had planned to leave in the morning, very bad weather was forecast and we decided to stay an extra day.
The wind howled during the night pushing us tightly against the pier. The only discomfort was the noise made by the fender board which kept us off of a pier piling. It had slipped off of the fenders between it and the boat and was making a terrible racket as it rubbed on the hull. Gerry and Jean went out into the wind in their night wear and managed to put the fenders back in place to stop the noise.
The next day we decided to go to an "art village" in Bradenton (on the mainland) in the late afternoon and eat dinner at a neighborhood restaurant before we returned to the boat. We took a cab to Bradenton ($40) and walked around a bit, going into the various houses which were open that day as galleries for the resident artists. Roger bought a painting (Martini Mermaid) and Jean bought a casual multicolored pearl necklace. The restaurant is in an old house and produced one of the best meals we have had on the trip. We got Uber back to the yacht basin ($16). A Skip-Bo game later, we were all in bed, reflecting on another nice visit to Anna Maria Island. -- JGR