Ft. Lauderdale and Beyond

 

Doctor’s orders limited us a little this past week, so we concentrated on just chilling…beach walks, shopping, a couple of movies, Art and light geocaching.  Not a bad gig when you’re in Ft. Lauderdale!
No, we didn’t get up there!

We drove down to Miami’s South Beach on Wednesday evening.  Wow, what a totally different vibe than Ft. Lauderdale!  Art Deco buildings throughout and heavy Cuban influence evidenced by Cuban food stands and markets.  Then comes the “vibe” of South Beach…heavy, pulsing, sexy….Yep, that’s here!  We hit a couple of clubs (still following doctor’s orders by not dancing, but enjoying anyway) and dined at one of the many restaurants that line Ocean Drive. So many great restaurants to choose from, but we ended up at Lario’s on the Beach.

This is Gloria Estefan’s restaurant and features top notch Cuban food. We dined outside, enjoying excellent food and fantastic views.

South Beach Streetside Dining
Speaking of views….one of the most surprising things we learned about South Beach was that none of the restaurants have a beach view.  Somehow, we both had the impression that when dining on South Beach you had these great views of the beach.  Not so.  Instead, there is a little park across the street and then the beach is on the other side of sand dunes lining the beach.  Darn, no beach view!  So we were stuck with watching the people from all over the world showing their stuff, walking up and down Ocean Drive.  Darn!

Driving back to Miami from South Beach is beautiful!  Miami has a beautiful skyline and at night many of the buildings are lit up in purples or reds or whatever other shade of neon that can be imagined!  Highly recommend this drive!  (Keep in mind the following drive from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale on I 95 is a thrilling joy ride all by itself!)

Next morning, Mona wanted breakfast so we walked to a little Italian restaurant a couple of blocks away. Mona wanted poached eggs, so she chose a menu item that said, “Eggs any style.”  She said, “I want my bacon extra crisp, white toast and poached eggs.” The obviously-just-arrived-from-Italy waiter said, “Si, scrambled.”  Mona then said, “No…..poached.”  “Si, scrambled!”  Then Mona tried it a little more slowly, “P..o..a..c..h..e..d.” “Si scrambled.” Was his quick and smiling response.

Me, I had scrambled.

At this point it’s obvious Mona is not happy, which means that shortly I’m not going to be happy, so I jump in to clear this up.  “Sir”, I said while pointing to the pertinent part of the menu.  “See, here where it says “Eggs, any style”?”  “Si”, he replied.  Progress!  “She wants hers poached…kind of like boiled out of the shell.”  He nods his head and I’m sure I’ve got this nailed.  Then he smiled and said, “Scrambled.”  Mona had a
cheese omelet.

Friday was my follow-up appointment with the doctor.  Got a good report…still restrictions for two more weeks, but did get the okay for the Water Taxi. Yay!  We headed home to change clothes and to walk the half block to the nearest Water Taxi stop.

The Water Taxi plies the channels in Ft. Lauderdale and Hollywood in small yellow boats, with about 17 stopping points at key tourist spots and shopping areas.  You buy an all-day pass allowing you to hop on and off as much as you like.  The water taxi lets you see what Ft. Lauderdale is all about…water and yachts. There are 300 miles of canals throughout the city; compared to Venice’s 26 miles of canals.  Those canals are a big reason Ft. Lauderdale is called The Yacht Capital of the world, with over 50,000 yachts calling this city home.

Our first destination was Hollywood Beach.  On the way there we passed by the Bahia Mar Yachting Center where the International Boat Show will be held next week.  (We wonder if Phil misses this?) The docks there are being rebuilt to host the $3,000,000,000 worth of yachts that will be there next week.  It’s so cool to finally see from the water.  We had already seen much of the marina while geocaching.  (We would have seen more had we not been kicked out by a security guard.)  This is the world’s largest boat show and brings in more money to the area than a Super Bowl.

Interesting note: You cannot buy a yacht here.  You decide which one you want, negotiate the price, and then off you go in a boat to about 3 three miles from shore.  There you complete the sale, thus avoiding Ft. Lauderdale sales tax.  Always a loophole, isn’t there!?

Obstructed View
Price lowered to $18.5 million

We continued to ply the intercoastal waterway in our little yellow taxi boat (they only hold about 40 people) and marvel at the beautiful homes and yachts all around us.  Over there is Barbara Mandrell’s house.  Over there is where Miami Vice was shot. Over there is the house of the lady who founded the Sunglass Huts you see in every mall.  Her house is 32,000 square feet and only two people live in it.  Unfortunately, you couldn’t see the whole house because their new 165 foot yacht was parked in front!  Did you know she started out by selling sunglasses on the beach from a converted hot dog cart?

Our route took us through Port Everglades where our tiny boat was dwarfed by huge cruise ships and giant cargo carriers.  Port Everglades is the second largest cruise ship port in the world, second only to Miami. Ships and boats are going everywhere in this port but we chugged on, even through a torrential thunderstorm with lighting strikes all around us!

 

Hollywood Beach is very different from Ft. Lauderdale Beach.  It’s much more laid back and has a wider variety of shops and restaurants.  As we strolled the Broadwalk we spotted a Turkish restaurant.  We had just seen “Taken 2” yesterday and were yearning for some meatballs.  We ordered the kebaps and were happy to see it served just like we remember it from Istanbul.  Yum!

More strolling, more wading in the surf…then it was time to take the Water Taxi home to freshen up. Then back on board to our downtown restaurant.  On the way, we watched a beautiful sunset and saw home after beautiful home situated on the canals with their yachts moored just steps away from the front door.  We
had no idea anything like this existed in the United States!

Drizzle, Drazzle
Drizzle, Drone
Water Taxi
Take us Home!

Dinner was at the dockside Pirate Republic Bar which had been recommended to us by our Water Taxi guide.  Yeh, the motif was kitschy with its pirate mannequins and live parrots, but wow, the food was awesome!  Great food, great nighttime views of the city and great service all add up to a wonderful dining experience.  Loved it!

Our evening ended with a nighttime cruise back through the canals and intercoastal waterway to our hotel. About another hundred yachts had arrived while we dined, including the beautiful, $130,000,000 Kismet.  This yacht is more than twice as long as our yard!

It wasn’t long before our little water taxi dropped us off at our hotel.  We’ve seen a lot today, but now it’s time for sleep!

 

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