It was a trip
that proved different from any of those we had taken before… with
Terry, Ellen, Richard and I jumping from Fort Lauderdale to the
Florida Keys and then back. (And then back. Sort of. But you’ll
find about that on day eight.)
we’ve played this game of mid-trip hotel jumping before… Las
Vegas and the Grand Canyon come to mind.
time though, there was something different about the trip. And
mentioning the travel back and forth isn’t quite the right example
to use. Instead, I should probably point to something quite specific.
And yet, something amazingly vague and incredibly unsettling.
may laugh… but I swear that it’s true. Our inability to find anything
in Miami to see or do was a constant part of the trip… a presence
that could be sensed while experiencing some tremendous moments.
back over every trip before this one, I couldn’t tell you that
I’ve ever had troubles finding an entire city before, especially
when I was quite aware of it and looking forward to the visit.
I can now.
yet… tremendous moments they absolutely were…
One ~ Saturday, May 2, 2009
are leaving from Warwick, Rhode Island on Southwest Airlines,
and we have the distinct pleasure of flying with the most annoying
woman in the world. She’s traveling with her kids and a male adult…
and while I’m obviously exaggerating by calling her the most annoying
(she didn’t look anything like Sarah Palin or Oprah Winfrey),
along with her gang-in-tow she is proving to be a barrel of fun
and excitement while creating warm, fuzzy, happy thoughts in all
of our memories.
all starts with the boarding. See… Southwest lines you up. Terry,
Ellen, Richard and I are leading the way for Group B this morning,
and we quickly board the plane, get bags stored, and settle in
near each other.
Party of 5 is… go figure… the last to board the plane.
quick look around confirms (and both my memory and the margins
of my notes agree) these five are the only ones standing as this
event unfolds before us.
begins this morning’s show with Act One, Scene One ~ “There’s
no place for us to sit”… always a strong opening number and destined
to be a crowd favorite from this performance. Oh heck… here’s
the Playbill for you…
snotty, bitchy lady making everyone grumpy
(It’s a miracle we didn’t ask for her to be removed)
A play in three acts
one ~ Realization of a problem
Act One, Scene One ~ “There’s no place for us to sit” – The setting
was near the middle section of the plane, standing in the center
aisle, as they looked to the back and then to the front. The woman
apparently in charge of this group is talking out loud, seemingly
to the flight attendants… but no one from crew to passengers seems
to be completely dedicated or attentive to ramblings. Evidently
she’s surprised that the very last people to get on the plane
aren’t finding five seats grouped together on this wonderful discount
airline that makes no secret of the fact that they don’t book
seat assignments, just boarding order.
One, Scene Two ~ “Some of these people will have to move” – Our
bitchy friend is now walking up and down the aisle, doing a poor
imitation of the Count from Sesame Street while noting the five
empty seats that remain (“…four… there’s a fourth seat… and there’s
not even five… oh wait… there’s another… or did I count that?”),
and loudly observing that some of the already settled in passengers
will just have to move so her entire group can sit together. (A
quote of “a few people are just going to have to move” is in my
notes.) At this point I was almost willing to move if it would
have helped her (it wouldn’t have, since my moving would have
simply changed a single-seat in one row to a single-seat in my
row), but her tone of voice was convincing me that I didn’t want
to move for her. She was absolutely certain that her demands would
be met by all of us settled-in-waiting-to-depart passengers. And
it was more and more irritating every time she spoke. Alot of
other people also weren’t thrilled about her attitude or moving
their overhead items, because it turned out she was wrong… none
of these people that were already on board had to move. And… none
two ~ Action (or lack of)
Act Two, Scene One ~ “Why aren’t you moving” – She’s now begun
having a discussion with a flight attendant. The attendant is
trying to explain that there are five open seats available, there
are five people in her group, and this is in fact an amazing coincidence.
She asks the most annoying woman in the world to settle in. In
other words… they’ve bought seats, there are seats, no one will
be asked to move and we’re waiting on her. She’s not happy. Emotions
are at a peak, we’re preparing for the big emotional number of
the show. And… maybe… still looking around… not quite moving yet…
perhaps… making a face… yes. Ok. Here it is…
Two, Scene Two ~ “I bought my tickets before any of these people”
– Without consulting with any of us about purchase dates, she
loudly claims that there is no way any of us on the plane had
our tickets before her. After all, she bought them about four
or five weeks ago. She continues by demonstrating her knowledge
of traveling with a large group by pointing out that she arrived
at the airport an entire forty-five to fifty minutes before departure
to check in and get their boarding number. A shake of the head,
a shrug of the shoulders, and there is no way any of us could
top that. Forty-five minutes ahead of departure to check in. Go
figure. It’s official… we’re tired of her. We’ve moved from: (1)
their fault for arriving late (never really admitted, but at least
acknowledged with frustrated looks at all of the filled seats)
to (2) our fault for picking seats and arranging ourselves… apparently,
on purpose… to inconvenience her, and we would simply have to
sort out our mess to her satisfaction to (3) the airlines fault
for wanting her to sit down. Ultimately, we’ve arrive here at
(4) it’s our fault, and it couldn’t possibly be her fault, this
time because she is more important and ordered her tickets at
the coffee shop that morning when she first woke up while we were
three ~ I’ll show you
Act Three, Scene One ~ “Desperation” – Uh-oh… the show stopper
fell on deaf ears and we have a very quiet audience. The show
progresses without intermission. Apparently alot of those people
that were sitting around us in the waiting area at the gate two
hours before boarding weren’t impressed with her tirade about
being less than an hour early and special. Once again she is scanning
the seats trying to figure out how to arrange her group. During
an amazingly uncomfortable silence (not her, she’s still mumbling,
but not one passenger is making a sound) a few people do move
a bit. There are now places for four people to sit as two pairs,
which you have to admit is a step up from five singles located
throughout the plane. And the fifth person is only two rows away
from one of those pairs. Not bad. Not good enough though… she’s
pointing at people and asking if they are traveling alone, evidently
trying to find two people that will move so she can get three
together some how. She does this while also complaining about
the overhead storage. Evidently the people that were kind enough
to move didn’t move their stored belongings, and she’s ticked
off she can’t put her bags in the bin. (It’s the live show version
of the gift that keeps on giving.)
three, Scene Two ~ “I hope you’re satisfied” – At last they begin
to settle in, but she isn’t going to go quietly. In a moment that
probably should have gotten her entire group kicked off the plane,
she finally moves in to her seat while saying: “Well, I hope everyone
is happy. Three of us are sick.”
can only assume we were all too tired and fed up to complain about
that one, because the plane departs the gate and heads to the
folks… later in our story, while in the Keys, they returned to
take a bow. So you’ve got that to look forward to.)
traveling with mini-DVD players, and we learn that the batteries
are just powerful enough to play for roughly two-hours. Unfortunately,
there’s barely any volume in the headsets. We’re trying to watch
Kung Fu Panda and a part of Iron Man (or at
least I was watching part of Iron Man before the battery
died), but honestly we didn’t see much of either. Ellen and Richard
are having similar struggles with Ratatouille.
arrive at the airport in Fort Lauderdale and head over to get
the luggage and the car. Here, we meet BJ. And given the state
of things today, she is perhaps one of the last great customer
service experience providers we’ll ever see.
computer is down, so BJ comes around to the self-service kiosk
and takes care of everything for us… all while smiling and having
a grand old time.
leave the desk, head to the garage, and find ourselves staring
at a wide selection of cars. And since all of us have been wondering
about the leg room available in that supposed third row SUV seating,
we used this as an opportunity to check out some of the so-called
so much comfort.
after Richard and I were both forced to say we didn’t want a Hummer…
we ended up picking a Dodge Journey.
head out toward our base residence for the trip… which is actually
in Weston, Florida… and decide to stop for lunch. After getting
Mi Luv U up to speed and looking around at our options under her
food listings, we settle on visiting the Carolina
recreate the bar selections for you… but honestly: (1) That’s
really personal preference. This place has a huge assortment of
common and uncommon labels. You’ll be fine regardless of what
you are looking to drink. (2) I can’t read my notes. Next to Terry
I have written “Carolina Hurricane”… which between the name of
the bar (could have been a house brew) and the NHL team and the
listing of Carolina Pale Ale on their current menu… well, I just
don’t know. Ellen has Coors Light next to her name along with
“Sad Summer”… and I’m guessing I could have been abbreviating
Saranac, which just so happens to also offer a pale ale that’s
on the menu and also does make a summer-titled brew. (So I guess
I actually did try to recreate it for you, but only partially
can claim success. Oh well.)
I can definitely tell you is the Carolina Ale House offers one
of the most unbelievably amazing selections of appetizers I have
ever seen. It wasn’t that everything would appeal to you… it was
that the selection was diverse, just about anyone would find a
couple of items they’d enjoy, and all of it sounded really good.
Between the four of us, we ended up debating everything offered
and ultimately settled on something called the Picky Platter Combo
to get a taste of a few things.
notes say Terry, Ellen and Richard went for blackened sandwiches…
a chicken, mahi mahi and cheeseburger respectively. Looks like
I had a sweet mountain honey barbecue chicken sandwich. Word is
the blackened seasonings were very well done with good spices
and everything was delicious.
also have a note to share my wimpier jalapeno theory with you.
So, abbreviated version, here goes…
you look around, you’ll see that all sorts of places have begun
using jalapeno and chipotle and other items of spicy reputation
much more frequently… and to a certain extent, even more casually.
Some of it is probably thanks to all of the new shows and popularity
associated with cooking. Alot of it is marketing.
ten…twenty… thirty years ago, you simply never saw every other
brand of potato chip bursting with cayenne flavor. You never saw
habaneros used in the dressings for your sandwich. What you did
see was lots of people saying they didn’t like spicy food.
let’s pause for one moment. I’m not saying that the vast majority
of people were educated and truly understood the concept of “spicy”
at the time. There was a lot of misinformation out there. Still…
it’s almost as if they wanted to make eating spicy food a badge
of honor, where today it’s about expanding the flavors. Which
in turn is funny, and comes around to the jalapeno theory, because
as it’s built up I’ve noticed that the jalapenos that seemed strong
at times before no longer seem to be that strong.
it would be really neat to say we have this new way of presenting
hot and spicy food, and people seem to be enjoying it. People
are trying new things. Isn’t it great? Except the marketing… go
back, you’ll see I mentioned the marketing… would have the same
people presenting it as new and different and exciting as also
wanting to be certain that everyone could handle qualifying for
of this has me wondering… are the peppers not as strong today
as they were ten to fifteen to twenty or more years ago? The actual
theory being that they aren’t… and I simply can’t prove whether
or not it’s true.
timing can be a very funny thing. Just as I was wrapping up this
article for posting, I spotted this column talking about how
fruits and vegetables are actually less nutritious these
days. Does this matter when it comes to spicy peppers? Don’t know.
And with a note in there about organic foods being more nutritious,
am I skeptical about possible ulterior motives for this veggies
losing their benefits article? You bet. Still… interesting.)
to the Carolina Ale House.
far as the place itself… we really enjoyed our visit.
sat outside on a deck next to a small lake. There were some ducks
wandering by… including five babies. If the goal of the design
was to encourage drinking, appetizer eating, and wasting an afternoon
while letting your thoughts drift around aimlessly in the company
of good friends… then success. Brilliant and undeniable success.
If we weren’t heading over to move in to our home for the week,
we might have dragged out a deck of cards and stayed all afternoon.
waitress was Shanna, and I’ve got mixed reviews for her… very
nice in general, but not the most attentive server I’ve ever encountered.
When we left, we took a few key lime hard candies that were simply
arrive and check in to our rooms, and we find a slightly different
experience awaiting us. We’re staying in one of these double-units
that actually work as two separate hotel suites, but have united
accessibility through the primary door. Nothing shocking there…
we’ve hit the road with Ellen and Richard before and stayed in
timeshare units with exactly such a floor plan. Heck, they probably
used the same blueprints. But this time… there is no washer and
dryer in the room. And… no checklist. We won’t miss the checklist.
The washing of clothes… well… that was something we hadn’t expected.
we go to do some basic shopping… a trip to Publix and a mid-afternoon
show in the produce department as we get to watch Richard select
some fruit. Then it’s back to the rooms and I get a DVD player
set up so I can watch the rest of Iron Man while Terry unpacks.
(And before anyone complains… she actually likes doing this. It’s
four of us get together for dinner, and, well…
you’re looking for some bad food, Del Vecchio’s
is the place to be.
please, please, please keep in mind… you will be seduced by Del
you walk inside, it looks clean… busy… well staffed. There’s a
selection of food available that gives off the impression of being
homemade and served with pride. You know the stuff… in a cooler
unit off to the side, and when you look through the glass doors
at the items neatly packaged and stacked and almost homemade you
get the idea the owners are saying to you (my words): “We could
have bought some pasta salad in a big plastic tub and served it
up, but our momma wouldn’t have approved. We love our momma. Please
enjoy her special recipe that we used while preparing this for
the menu has some items on it that have you planning your return
before you’ve even tried a bite. (My words) “Ok, this time we’ll
try the fried calamari, and then on Tuesday we’ll… we’ll… we’ll…
hold on. Do I smell fresh bread and garlic?”
web site proudly displays how they have been selected as the best
pizza in Weston for almost a decade straight.
will be seduced by Del Vecchio’s.
our experiences, the best pizza voting means either (1) there
is no other place in Weston serving pizza or (2) the only people
voting are the owners. (However… full disclosure… our experience
tonight was so bad we never even considered going back to try
ordered three strombolis and one calzone. We got three calzones
and one stromboli.
started taking the meat out of hers and tried to eat what was
could go on… but it’s just not worth beating Del Vecchio’s up.
We ate at several places during this visit that I would absolutely
love to visit again. Places I dream of visiting again. This was
one of two I will never return to.
the kicker. (Back to Publix for a moment.) I usually fall victim
to the sirens on the rocks of the produce islands myself when
I shop with Richard. Visions of good food and fresh kiwis and
so on dancing in my head. I saw some strawberries… and a sale
on angel food cake… and we got back to the room and I prepped
everything before we left to get dinner.
a horrendous meal we’d all like to put behind us, we played some
cards and had bowls of strawberry shortcake… vacation-style. As
we settled in for the night in our rooms and drifted off to sleep,
everything was right in the world again.)
Two ~ Sunday, May 3, 2009
morning kicks off one of those perfect days you often dream about…
as in a perfect day of nothing. We’re going to have fun… we’re
going to see some great things… but we have absolutely zero plans.
The day is just simply going to unfold around us.
starts things off by preparing a fantastic breakfast of pancakes
and sausage. Delicious.
breakfast, I decide I miss Louise. Not having her and Mike along
seems a bit off to begin with… but Terry has told me I need to
wash the dishes, in part because I was already showered and dressed.
Louise would have told her that I was doing the driving and already
had a job.
we get in the car and hit the road, we decide to head south. Maybe
Miami. Maybe one of those crab-shack-like places for dinner.
as we drive along Florida’s turnpike, we see a sign for the Hard
Rock Casino, which we had been thinking about visiting, and decide
to drop in.
stop at the player’s club right away. Johanne took great care
of us… getting Terry and I signed up while providing us with coupons
and comps and all sorts of stuff.
watch Terry use her slot play coupon and ultimately decide to
play some blackjack. All of the tables are around $15 when I begin
looking, but are actually heading up to $25. I play a couple of
hands and end up down $15 when I quit. I move over to a Triple
Diamond slot machine and turn my free play into $25. Now up for
the day and not looking to play the large minimum tables, I wrap
up my gambling.
begin to walk around the shopping area, and that’s when a feeling
hits us all at full force.
didn’t seem right to us. It started with $25-a-hand blackjack,
but we couldn’t really explain it then. We wrote that off as being
supply and demand. But as we strolled around outside we began
to realize that the shops that were open were nice… but nothing
special. And what really struck us was how many places were closed.
It was 1pm on a Sunday and the majority of stores and restaurants
we think we’re going to be having a bigger dinner, we finally
decide to head into Tequila Ranch. We all like Mexican food and
decide that between the points we got for providing our e-mail
addresses and such we can get a good discount. (Turned out to
be true, we took $10 off the bill.) Unfortunately though, the
flavor of the south offered here was pure vanilla… as in boring
each ordered a beer and began to eat the chips and salsa on the
table. The salsa consisted of tomatoes and little else for flavor.
The chicken empanadas were good. But the spicy beef nachos? Well,
the flavorless salsa had more flavor than the nachos. It was all
ok, but hardly the kind of Mexican food you would expect to find
in a Mexican-themed restaurant. (Hmm… maybe it was more the kind
a suave marketer would promote in getting people to brag about
being addicted to the taste of jalapenos.) It’s definitely not
what you would expect from such a restaurant located in southern
use our food voucher to stop at a bakery counter and purchase
a few items for later. Then it’s back to the car, on the road,
and off for the coast. We’ve targeted Joe’s Crab Shack in Lauderhill
for dinner, and we’re going to drive along the water… as we can…
down to Miami, see some of the sights, and then hook around to
head north for dinner.
we drive along A1A, we are treated to some amazing properties
and beautiful areas. A few times we find ourselves driving next
to a canal with stunning homes and gorgeous boats arranged nearby.
We ultimately want to swing around to South Beach and maybe put
together some thoughts for later in the week. Eventually though,
we’re out of room and realize we’ve never been near South Beach.
We’ve swung inland and started heading north. Somehow… while yes,
gazing around… we’ve been unable to find what we set out looking
arrive at Joe’s Crab Shack, and we have a ball. The only mistake
I made… me… the guy that doesn’t dive in for seafood… is that
I didn’t just order seafood. Because the snow crab was amazing,
and the food overall was exceptional. Everything else we tried…
everything else… put my Key West chicken to shame. (Please note…
go to Joe’s
Crab Shack… be amazed and enjoy… don’t order
ordered a pot with two lobsters. Ellen ordered a pot with mussels.
Richard ordered the coconut shrimp. We added some calamari (which
was incredible) and a side of snow crab.
great food. Shake your head, look at each other in disbelief,
and dive in for more great food.
waiter was Rob and he took very good care of us. He navigated
the menu so that we would be prepared for sharing and getting
exactly what we wanted. He even tried to steer me away from the
chicken saying it was fine but wondering if I would rather go
with some seafood instead. I resisted… he gave in… and he was
right after all. The most amazing thing of all was the bill… which
was significantly less expensive than we expected it to be.
you’re scoring at home… 2 awesome meals… 1 disappointing meal…
1 horrendous meal… and we’re having a blast.
the good stuff hasn’t even started yet.
Three ~ Monday, May 4, 2009
it does start today.
we began planning our trip, an airboat ride in the Everglades
had must-do status attached. No question it would be included…
just a matter of what day and who’s airboat.
heading out for a ride with Coopertown
Airboats. The drive along back roads is a
quick one… it’s early morning and we don’t want to be late. We’ve
scheduled a private tour for our group. (Most
of our visit is reviewed here… and we had
a great time.)
problem was our timing. There wasn’t any water… for the most part.
While we saw plenty of alligators and other wildlife, and got
to do alot, Mike… our guide for the day, and a terrific one at
that… mentioned that several things they like to do simply wouldn’t
of alligators lined our paths as we set out from the dock. It
was an amazing journey… exactly what you would expect, pretty
much everything you would hope, and yet somehow very different
from anything you envisioned.
spoke with Mike about his thoughts on lunch, and he was quick
to direct us down the road to the Pit Bar-B-Q.
Located really no more than 5 minutes down the road, we arrived
and sat down in an outdoor dining area under a fantastic grass
and Ellen went with the Tidbits dinner. Richard had the spare
ribs dinner. And I went for the BBQ triple decker, kind of a pulled
food was good. It wasn’t the best barbecue we’d ever eaten… and
I don’t know if we’ll ever head back. But that open-air hut we
ate in… and the general location (just a few minutes after seeing
literally hundreds of alligators)… and a great day with good friends…
it all worked. (And seriously… how can you top a good barbecue
beef sandwich and cole slaw on a sunny day, with fries, for under
have the afternoon open, and make a decision to take the scenic
route home. This sparks an interesting idea… one that will have
some readers scratching their heads… and one that kind of sums
up our thoughts on the city of Miami. And here it is…
likes watching CSI: Miami. When I asked her if there
was anything she wanted to do in south Florida, she jokingly said
that she wanted to see the Miami-Dade County Police Department
honestly meant that as a joke. While she would never have stopped
us from driving past it, Terry is not one of those people looking
to book a tour of the stomping grounds of her favorite shows.
(Not that she wouldn’t try a restaurant or visit a place she saw
on a television show… let’s just say she’s not spending $37.50
for a pizza bagel and bit size Three Musketeers. Anyway…)
and I figured it would be funny to try and find it. But… you know…
Mi Luv U is incredible. She does not, however, have an option
for finding “…as seen on the television show…” locations. (Note
to Garmin… look into licensing such a feature. Think about it…
there you are… in the middle of some state for the first time.
And you remember seeing a place featured on your favorite Food
Network show, but don’t remember the name of it. Get into the
places of interest section on your Mi Luv U, and along with fuel,
shopping and other categories there could be a “Seen on TV” section.
It could offer you places to eat, shop or even just take pictures.
Maybe Garmin even gets a pay-per-direction option that allows
you to set up your own day of sightseeing, shopping and eating
around those spots you see every week on your favorite shows.
I need to call Garmin. This could be really big.)
why will this thought have some people scratching their head?
Because maybe they know exactly what station was used for the
show, and are startled because (my words) “everyone knows that”
when it comes to the address. Or, like most shows, maybe CSI:
Miami doesn’t use a police station at all. Maybe they shoot
their Miami scenes at a library or public school and change the
sign out front when the cameras are rolling. The trick is…
didn’t care enough to look it up.
that have mattered? Don’t know. As we started to find out yesterday,
learned a bit more about today, and will eventually discover is
true for every plan involving Miami, even the stuff I did care
enough to look up will never be found.
we never did find the Miami-Dade station from the show.
not finding it… we had a pleasant drive around.
back to the room and watched some television while cleaning up
and getting ready for dinner. Giada was making a Mother’s Day
celebration meal. Looked kind of neat. We slowly assembled and
prepared to head to Fort Lauderdale.
were eating dinner at Chima’s.
we left on this trip, I was talking to a good friend at work,
John. He recommended a couple of places to eat, and this one was
an absolute for him. Do not miss it… get there any way possible…
there is no way you’ll regret it… according to him.
was even better than the jaw-dropping, mouth-watering, incredible
description he provided. Easily one of the best dining experiences
we’ve ever encountered as a group.
about the place was nice and well-maintained. After pulling up
and finding valet parking, there was a short stroll from the road
to the restaurant’s entrance. Upon reflection, this could be interesting
if it was raining… but on this visit it was fine.
restaurant itself is wonderfully designed, with several small
seating areas that didn’t distract from the atmosphere, but did
insure a sense of privacy and intimacy.
salad bar was… well… amazing doesn’t suffice. They had a corn
mousse that bordered on ridiculous. Nothing on a salad bar should
be that good, and I’m just mentioning this item since I had never
seen it before. Everything on the salad bar was delicious, with
all of us looking at other plates to see if someone was missing
something that we were falling off our chair enjoying… or if someone
was enjoying something we missed.
then the meats started arriving. I don’t know what to tell you.
Listing them wouldn’t be fair. Just too good. All of it. Too good.
One tip I do have… I don’t care how full you are… I don’t care
if you can’t have another bite… do not skip the pork loin with
parmesan. That stepped above epic into a level of deliciousness
that words cannot convey.
the end of the meal Ellen was crying that there was “too much
food” while we picked on Richard that the fried bananas would
be wasted if he didn’t finish them. (So he did. If they had made
apple pie I swear I could have forced dessert into him.) We could
have spent the meal eating from the salad bar only, or enjoyed
just the meat service, and either would have been so fabulous
we would have called this one of the greatest dinners we’ve shared…
to combine both was bordering on perfection.
a funny thing to end the meal… it really wasn’t that expensive.
They serve essentially an all-inclusive visit, everything from
soup to salad and appetizer to entrée is part of the cost.
On our trip, we had found a coupon on their web site for $25 off
two dinners and they honored it for both of our couples. Consider
it all and the final bill was very reasonable.
you go… and find Roger as your head waiter… say hello for us.
He may not remember our group, but he will take outstanding care
this point Ellen started talking about the local water taxis.
She thought they’d provide a great after dinner, sunset kind of
experience for the evening. And she was right… because they likely
would have. Sounded like a great idea. Except, since we didn’t
plan on such an idea, and really weren’t excited enough about
it to ask… we couldn’t find them. This led to an absolutely classic
get at least one Ellen moment per trip. Once, during a 20 questions
game just outside of Las Vegas, she
and Richard combined for In-N-Out Burger being a pet.
she told us she knew the boats were close and had to have a dock
just off of Las Olas Boulevard. She told us to head toward the
started to head east along East Las Olas Boulevard… toward the
beach… spotted a public parking lot that appeared to be near a
set of docks… and with every thing we did Ellen kept shaking her
said while saying “no, no, no” to what we were doing.
on Las Olas… no-no, it’s on Las Olas. We head toward the beach…
no-no, it’s out near the beach. We see a parking lot… no-no, the
dock is right next to public parking. Ellen is hysterical, and
we’re laughing, and it just keeps escalating.
parked the car, walked to the dock, and pointed to a water taxi
sign. Again… “no”… and she insisted we were in the wrong spot.
The three of us couldn’t stop laughing, because as far as we could
tell, we had followed every point of Ellen’s directions exactly
and landed right on the dock of the water taxi. Still… “no”… it
was all wrong. So instead of waiting…
her insistence, we changed our minds and skipped the water taxi,
walking up Cortez Street on a quest for a bathroom and, ultimately,
the Fort Lauderdale Beach.
may have been on the other side of the state, we still had a magical
evening as the sun went down while we walked along the water.
know you’ve heard of Fort Lauderdale. People talk about it… and
millions have visited it. But I’m going to tell you something…
it is about as beautiful a place as I’ve ever visited. And I mean
that in a strange way. Everything was different… from the lack
of a parking lot at the restaurant to the design of the streets
and inlets of water. None of it different in a stunning way… most
of us have valet parked at a city restaurant before… but just
out of the ordinary different. Just enough to keep you on your
element of Fort Lauderdale was comfortable and amazing, in ways
you could never have expected.