Saturday, 3 March 2012

Down By the River - Florida Impressions

Come with me on a walk from the Las Olas shopping district along the New River waterfront to our boat, still parked at Cooley's Landing. It's only about two kilometres and it's a beautiful warm day with a light easterly off the ocean.

Las Olas is packed with people shopping in the boutiques and eating at sidewalk tables in dozens of restaurants. A woman in her late 60s wears designer casuals worth thousands and her hair is teased into a white-blonde halo. She proudly wheels a designer stroller, but it doesn't contain her grandchild; it's her designer dog, something white and fluffy wearing its own outfit in aquamarine and diamante.

On the waterfront, Spanish-speaking tourists are taking a photo of a basking iguana. Someone gets a little too close and it props itself up like a car raising its suspension. A little closer and it charges the crowd. Girls run squealing in their high heels.

On the water, a fishing skiff winds downriver. A happy shirtless guy is at the helm, singing along to loud reggae. His dog is poised, pointing, at the bow.

A homeless man collects coins from passers-by to feed his family of cats and ugly crossbred ducks.

More girls in impossible heels and painted-on pants, shiny hair-extensions and intricately detailed false nails loudly broadcast the intimacies of their lives on competing cellphones.

Towers of luxury condos overlook the beach, the canals and the river. Rooftop tropical gardens, pools, their own theatres and gyms. You can get one for just $160,000 at the moment, a fraction of what they would cost at home. For a million you can buy a waterfront house with your own dock.

A band of young Cuban guys with jaunty hats and a bit of swagger check out the girls. They take their work-outs seriously, these handsome boys.

Lizards with curly tails skitter off the path.

Docked beside us, Sheldon's boat is his home but it won't see the ocean again. The sail-covers are black with mould, and oysters and barnacles are inches thick on the hull. Sheldon is 91 and alone apart from his ginger cat, but back in the 30s, he used to make movies.

The great rusty rail bridge groans, shudders and clangs down into place. Then there is a long anticlimactic silence as no train comes.

And here we are back home on Common Sense. The work is almost complete and we should be ready to leave the US in a couple of days.


  1. Testing - people tell me their comments are not saving...

  2. Thinking of you both, Carol and terry.. sounds wonderful

  3. Kathy here, travel safely on the next leg of your wonderful adventure.