“It gets pretty cold here at night, down to 60 degrees.” Michael Franks
That line from a Michael Franks’ song comes to mind today in Fort Lauderdale. When we got up the temperature was actually 40 (“feels like 35” says my weather app.) I feel sorry for the folks who came here to escape winter, although it is far worse up the coast. In the breakfast room one family was bundled up in scarves and stocking hats. There were a lot of hoodies. I didn’t find the dining room that cold. There’s a college girls’ baseball team at the hotel. They walk around in team hoodies pounding their gloves in the elevators, waiting to get out for practice. Each time I’m in the elevator lobby on the restaurant floor there sits the same guy, an older man, with a drooping moustache, wearing a Hawaiian shirt, texting. I wonder if he’s hotel security.
Wednesday started with crashing surf and rain with temperatures in the 60s. At midday the weather turned, the clouds blew away, the surf calmed, and while we still had a stiff breeze it came from the land side, not the sea side. The temperature dropped down to below 60 degrees and promised to keep dropping. The red flags warning of rip tides were still flying from the lifeguard stations.
On our walk along Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard the restaurant touts came out to try to lure us in. One woman wore a winter coat with a fur ruff and had a scarf wrapped around her neck. I was wearing an open light jacket. It was then in the 50s. One of the touts shouted out “Keep warm!” I replied: “I am warm.” “Where you from buddy?”
On this morning’s walk, including a final run to the CVS Pharmacy to pick up things we forgot to pack. (Given the amount of stuff we have, how is that possible?) I decided to turn it around and ask the touts where they were from. Most are recent immigrants, some from the Balkans, some from warmer places. I asked if I could take their pictures to send back to friends in Alaska, where it was warmer. They all laughed and smiled. Then I asked where, in Fort Lauderdale, they got winter clothes. The Mall has winter clothes, after a fashion. A woman from Moldova said that Fort Lauderdale had weather like this once or twice a winter. “Well not quite like this. A little warmer.” At least along the beach no one was building a snowman, although Fort Lauderdale has erected a holiday “sandman.” Back at the hotel kids were swimming in the heated outdoor pool.
Fort Lauderdale’s high rise hotels sit behind a row of beachfront buildings best described as Southern California Mission art deco. The hotels’ upper rooms have ocean views (as ours does) without disrupting the deco fronts of the beach shops and beach bars. Many of the high rises affect the deco look as well. In the evening we caught two movies in the 1951 deco Gateway Theatre which has been split to accommodate several screens. In case you’re curious we saw “Darkest Hour” about Winston Churchill and “The Greatest Showman” which could have been about Churchill but was about P.T. Barnham.
Earlier yesterday afternoon we watched the Veendam sail out of Port Everglades thinking “Tomorrow that will be us.” Prinsendam sailed out right behind. I’ve been tracking Amsterdam on my navigation app through the Bahamas toward port. Now she is berthed at terminal 26 in Port Everglades. Embarkation starts at 1 PM. Although excited, since she doesn’t sail until 8 PM and since we have late checkout, we’ll avoid the crush at both the check-out desk and at embarkation. We will have a lot of time on this ship.