Friday, December 11, 2009

Welcome to Ft. Lauderdale!

by Pa Rock

It has been a long day...a very long day!

I got on a plane at Sky Harbor last night at 12:45 a.m. after being parked in the airport gate area for the obligatory two hours. For someone who likes to be in bed by 10:00 p.m., I was hopeful that some sleep would overtake me on the flight from Phoenix to Atlanta, but that, of course, never happened! I caught a breakfast, or sorts, at the Atlanta Airport, and then flew on to Florida, again sans sleep.

My first hint of what to expect Ft. Lauderdale came from the shuttle driver in Phoenix last night who said that when he visited there in his youth he and his buddies always referred to the city as "Ft. Liquordale." Now, of course, most of the spring break crowd has moved north to the Florida panhandle, but Lauderdale still seems to attract its share of entertaining characters.

I tried to sleep during the day, but that didn't work out, so I hit the streets on foot to see what all was in this part of town. I soon discovered that my hotel was basically the pivot point for seedy fast food joints and a wide array of street people. The entertaining indigents were collected on street corners sharing smokes and stories, and a few roamed the traffic islands haranguing drivers with loud dialogue and the handfuls of various reading matter.

(There must be street people and homeless in Phoenix, but even though I have traveled roads in every section of the Valley of Hell, I haven't seen any. Is it just too damned hot? Or does it have something to do with our draconian law enforcement? Inquiring minds would like to know.)

Tomorrow I head to the Port of Ft. Lauderdale. Embarkation begins in the early afternoon and the ship (Holland America's Eurodam) sails at 5:00 p.m. (Is that five bells? Or seventeen bells?) I asked the lady at the hotel desk tonight if there were things to do at the port if I got their early. Her answer: "Absolutely not." No equivocation there!

Sunday will be spent at sea, and Monday morning our ship docks at the Turks and Caicos Islands. More later...

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