Clearwater, FL YAL Convention 2005 Log
Thursday, May 26, 2005
June 2, 2005
Thursday, May 26, 2005
As we learned last year, Greeks weren’t expected on the beach until at least 11:00 A.M., so we didn’t wake up until then. After deciding on SPF-30 over a tanning accelerator, we found Billy from Baltimore and the above-mentioned Camp Crowd staking out the prime real estate on the beach, next to the “shipping lane” where the drink cart passed. The water temps were a little cold at first, even for the Clearwater crowd that was used to it. Soon the beach was crawling with Greeks as the long line at check-in at the Hilton forced some to hit the sand immediately. More folks from Baltimore had flown in that morning and were already on the beach before anyone else. The first day on the beach was strictly about tan preparation/burn prevention as folks were either on their towels or in the water. Some footballs were being tossed both in the water and on the sand with a few of the girls from Clearwater throwing much tighter spirals than the guys.
We were astonished at how easy it was to get pictures of guys but particularly girls on the beach. If you’re a fan on this site you’ve no doubt noticed that getting pictures in daylight hours is a rarity and getting pictures of people in swimwear even more so. We believe it was taking the pictures of some of the finalists of past Greek Cruise’s Hairy Greek Men Contests that made no one really self-conscious in getting pictured afterwards.
The early slated start to Speed Greeting at 7:00 P.M. forced us off the beach around 4:00 P.M. to go get some lunch, a nap and to change for the long evening ahead. Hungry Howie’s, next to the HoJo's was our choice of the day for subs. After a nap we showed up to the hotel to register to get our all-important wristbands for the weekend’s events. It was then off to the next ballroom over for the highly anticipated Speed Greeting event.
A large well-lit ballroom with about four rows of chairs lined up back-to-back stretching the entire width of the dance floor was a rather intimidating sight. We walked into the room and met the organizers of the event, Tom and Soula, a married couple who were open to just about any suggestion to turn this into a successful event. When this event was first announced weeks ago, we were tipped off by the organizers that there were 50 girls signed up and virtually no guys. We figured that the numbers must have evened out somehow, but we were surprised to see five guys waiting with the only girls in the room being on staff with the convention. There were a group of girls in the lobby peering in every so often, taking stock at the limited offerings at the time. Those of us in there tried to make the best of it by figuring out what was keeping people away and what the organizers needed to do to get a turnout on the second night. Besides lowering the lights, turning up the music, offering free alcohol, and locking people in once they entered the ballroom, we couldn’t think of anything to have made people stay. We decided to bag it and go to see who was around the registration table. This was the first time we ran into Fun Alex surrounded by the familiar sight of a group of girls from Denver. Fun Alex, formerly of DC, currently in Ohio (but moving back soon), was notorious for being the one guy on a successful all-girls volleyball team last year. We found a couple of more guys from DC and hung out in the lounge watching the parade of people registering. Meanwhile rumors started circulating that Speed Greeting was finally going to occur, so we wandered back into the ballroom but no one else followed. We joked to Tom that the reason people weren’t going to Speed Greeting was based on the flyer, which featured a caricature that eerily resembled a young Adolf Hitler chatting up Marlene Dietrich.
The rest of the night was a cross between a Greek Night and a semi-formal only with everyone a lot more casually dressed. Most everyone was surprised that last call for alcohol was at 1:30 A.M. while the hotel ballroom stayed open and the party continued until 3:00 A.M.