Saturday, 11/12/11 - Our friend Bev's plane was showing "arrival on time" so we headed for the Hilton Hotel located right on the Ft Lauderdale beach. The plan was to be in her lobby at 4:30 pm and she would take a taxi cab from the airport, and meet us.... And the plan worked perfect, we were only sitting there about 15 minutes when she walked in. It was great seeing a familiar face "from home" and we were both excited to spend sometime with her.
We all headed up to her ocean view room on (I think) the 30th floor which was a fabulous view. Took a few traditional pictures out on the balcony and then headed out for dinner. Will and I had "checked it out" the day before & found a wonderful restaurant about 4 blocks away with a beautiful ocean view, The Casa Blanca. The trade winds were blowing pretty strong at this time, and all the outside table were taken so we ate inside, upstairs (climbing a rod iron spiral staircase) and had a perfect table with an ocean view. Bev and Will went with the waiter, Jamie's favorite, Mahi Mahi and I went with the Swordfish....theirs was better, but mine was very good! We had a great dinner and conversation and when we left there, Bev was pretty tired and worn out so we walked back to the hotel and said our good nights....with a plan for Sunday.
Sunday, 11/13/11 - We picked Bev up at her hotel about 9 am with her luggage and headed down to the Riverwalk in Ft Lauderdale to take a 1 1/2 hour sightseeing cruise on the Carrie B Harbor Tour of the inter coastal waters. This place is called, The Venice of America. These are "water streets" of the VERY rich and famous. Most all of these palatial mansions have mega yachts sitting dockside at their houses. As the person giving the narration explained lots of these people have just arrived, on their yachts, from their Mediterranean homes and spend the winter in Ft Lauderdale....the yacht capital of the world.
We saw one of the 3 yachts owned by the ex Microsoft guy, Paul Allen...this enormous yacht had a helicopter on it and one of his other yachts, bigger still, has a helicopter AND a submarine. We saw Judge Judy's yacht which she just sold for a BIGGER one. We saw the house of the Doctor who invented Alka Seltzer; the owner of 3 businesses - Waste Management, Block Buster and Auto Nation.....and I think he also owned the Miami Dolphins football team. It went on and on....so many VERY RICH people live there plus lots of sports figures. He showed us one house of a rich guy from Chicago who build an exact duplicate of his house in Chicago....including the trees he imported and planted there AND he has never stepped foot in this house EVER...and it's been several years. The servants are the only ones that live there and take care of the place. So as we are going by one of "the workers" is sitting out on the deck, reading the Sunday paper and we all wondered how we could apply for a job there. We even got to see Port Everglades where all the cruise ships leave from and there were about 6 in dock.....including Bev's, New Amsterdam. It was a great tour and Bev and I were running to all sides taking pictures and Will was calmly enjoying the tour from his seat.
After our tour we went down to Las Olas Blvd, where all the very classy retail shops and restaurants are located and had a wonderful lunch at the Cheesecake Factory...at an outside table this time. Went back to the car, which we had left in a large parking garage and then proceeded to leave with out paying. Now let me explain, there were two drive ways out.....one with a gate and where you pay w/a credit card (no person around) and a second driveway with NO gate....just drive out, now which one would you take.....yeah that's what we thought.
We then headed for Port Everglades to drop off Bev at terminal 26 for her 5 pm departure. With only a couple wrong turns we found it in plenty of time and we were able to walk her through the doors, up to the security counter. There were big hugs all around and we all enjoyed the two days together. We found I95 North with ease and were back home with in a half hour. I'm sure Bev will have a great time with her friend who is already on board the ship. The friend is just returning from cruising for 3 weeks in the Mediterranean and will now spend one more week, with Bev, in the islands. Will and I are firmly convinced...that the RV lifestyle is definitely for us. Much love to all our family and friends.