Tampa is the quintessential American city. The city planners of Tampa clearly have lofty aspirations and a definite vision--take a typical interstate city, with gas stations, fast food establishments, and grocery stores lining a single highway, and reproduce it hundreds of times to make a sprawling metropolis. Spreading construction over a ten-mile stretch of highway is one of Tampa's most significant innovations. While close-packed cities like San Francisco make driving from point to point difficult and walking necessary, Tampa requires driving for the convenience of its sophisticated residents. Sidewalks shmidewalks!

While the plan is straightforward, the implementation is not. To alleviate traffic congestion, the central highway, known as Dale Mabry, is the size of a freeway. There are also a few residents of Tampa too snobby for fast food. For them every chain restaurant imaginable was built, often in several locations, along Dale Mabry. The presence of restaurants such as multiple Outback Steakhouses, Olive Gardens, Rio Bravos, etc. along Dale Mabry make Tampa one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world.

Dale Mabry Highway itself is one of the art capitals of the world. Music lovers appreciate the huge selection of car audio system vendors along the highway. Dance and nude art afficionados have many clubs with frequently refreshed galleries, such as the famous Mons Venus, to frequent. Architecture buffs marvel at the utilitarian Dale Mabry shops and restaurants, particularly their bulky plastic friezes.

Tampa's residents are charming. For example, today I ordered a double espresso at a coffee shop and the barista, tongue in cheek, replied "I've never made one of them before." 50% of cars on Dale Mabry have American flags and bumper stickers reading God Bless America and United We Stand. It's nice to see such a fine community coming together. I predict that within ten years two more lanes will be added to Dale Mabry as more and more people discover Tampa.