Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Florida - Part Three

The next day and a half were marked with farewells as various family members made their way back to their respective corners of the country. In the interstices we enjoyed a lovely meal for Elaine's birthday, a lazy hour or two by the hotel pool and a hastily abandoned beach-trip before a coming storm. Sunday evening made up for Saturday night on the booze front; cocktail hour at the hotel, a Manhattan over dinner, a mojito and further gin and tonics at a faux beach bar rounded off with several glasses of port in the hotel lobby, all of which were enjoyed in the company of Rachel's Uncle Danny and Aunt Toni, her cousin Rob and his wife Amy, Julie and Ben.

Considering just how inebriated I was in the early hours of Monday morning I was very pleasantly surprised to find myself no worse for wear at breakfast - nothing that a strong cup of coffee and a couple of key lime dunkin' doughnuts couldn't cure in any case. The afternoon found the stragglers (myself, Rachel, Ethan, Linda and Leon) heading south. First stop a beautiful stretch of beach happened upon by chance just to the south of Fort Lauderdale. Next a late lunch in South Beach, Miami – fascinating and distinctive, a promenade reminiscent of the French Riviera abutting a heterogeneous collection of Deco architecture defined in the shades of sugared almonds. Culturally one had the distinct impression that the whole of Brooklyn had won the lottery and decided to move en masse to the Caribbean; direct, preoccupied and mildly confrontational.

Then south once more, through the tip of the Everglades to Key Largo, we watched the sun set across the bay and then, on the horizon, a lightening storm raining down upon the swamplands to the north.

On the Tuesday Rachel and Leon went snorkelling, whilst Ethan, Linda and I enjoyed a dolphin show. And a parrot show and a sea lion show. Then north once more, pausing only to take in one of the world's largest shopping malls (went mad and purchased a hat, a t-shirt, some after-shave and Tigger and Pooh cuddly toys) before finding a hotel near the airport and saying a fond farewell to Florida, an unexpectedly sublime and simultaneously ridiculous corner of reality.

Katrina relaxes in the pool. I'm particularly proud of this photo.

Aunt Toni and Ethan at the beach. Ethan discovered that he was not fond of the sand.

Ben and Ethan.

Julie snapped this shot of myself and Ethan in full flight from the storm. He seemed to really enjoy the wind in his hair.

Ethan relaxes underneath a palm tree.

Leon and Linda with baby boy.

Sunset over Key Largo.


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