Having introduced the tourist as a part of the long heritage of invaders of Florida, and having expanded the way that we understand who may be a tourist, the narrative turns to the tale of how the tourist eventually "becomes by slow degrees a citizen and a critic. The evolution of a tourist into a permanent resident consists of a struggle to harmonize misconceptions and preconceptions of Florida with reality" (7). The authors dramatize the process with colorful descriptions of the tourist encountering various "authentic" Florida adventures; a Spanish dinner in the Latin quarter of Tampa, following the Tamiami Trail through the Everglades, visiting the artistic community at Key West, tromping through the muck lands around Lake Okeechobee, taking a glass-bottomed boat ride at Ocala, etc. On the tourist's second visit,

Click on image to see passage in its context...look for the red arrow

This account of what it takes to convince a tourist to become a permanent resident, though written with great style, lacks a bit in the reality department. Evidentally the process of harmonizing "misconceptions and preconceptions of Florida with reality" is a matter of realizing that the summers are better in Florida, too. Here we have to give credit to the fact that aside from being (in some ways) a piece of Florida tourism propaganda, the guidebook is also writing in the local color style, which means it necessarily treats cultural issues with humor and sweeping gestures.



Juliet Gorman, May 2001