Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida was the first port of call. The flight was okay, Norwegian air are dirt cheap with flights between London and the US only £200 – £250 one way, if you book in advance. The air stewardesses were a bit miserable though and you don’t get free meals and drinks like you do on other long haul flights. We paid extra for meals so got one hot meal and one cold one and one alcoholic drinks for free. We spent about $80 on prosecco, beer and crisps. The film choices were more limited than your average long haul flight but you cannot argue with the price so we’d fly with them again! It must have sucked if you didn’t pay for meals though as I don’t think they gave out hot or cold drinks to other passengers at all. TAKE LOTS OF WATER/DRINKS ON THE PLANE WITH YOU IF YOU FLY NORWEGIAN.
The first bit of drama of the trip came when, after queuing for ages at passport control, we got in an airport taxi with a dodgy little bastard who said his meter was broken and tried to rip us off. There was a great big sign on the back of the passenger seat head rest that said ‘if the driver does not use a meter, do not pay and report them using this number…’. He originally said $20 so it wasn’t worth the beef, but then wanted $35 on arrival. We told him to do one and gave him twenty but he followed us and kicked off a bit and even told Ashleigh to shut up (fair enough) and things got a bit heated. Luckily the hotel owner came and threatened to all the cops and the little Haitian driver fled.
In Fort Lauderdale, we stayed at the Premiere Hotel LITERALLY a stone’s throw from the beach. I couldn’t find a stone but I would’ve been able to reach the sand from the hotel’s drive. The rooms were really clean and nice and the staff were amazingly helpful. You can read my TripAdvisor review of the place here if you are interested.
The weather reports had us frightened that it would be all rain and thunder storms all week but the weather was generally glorious. And so, I got horrendously sunburnt.
We went to Floridian institution Hooters for lunch and the food and view were great (it was on the beach front). Our waitress was really helpful and being born and raised in Lima, she had loads of tips for Peru. The prawn tacos were actually Ashleigh’s favourite dish from our week in Florida. We only went in to watch the basketball originally.
One night we met a friendly pair called Tom and Gerry (no shit!), drunk middle-aged blokes from Kentucky. They sounded like King of the Hill characters and would be great subjects for an episode.
Tom explained how we should visit a nudist beach down the road and then seemed to think this made me blush. We tried to explain that I was extremely sunburnt and not being bashful, but he was wasted and didn’t seem to understand our accents – he thought it was funny that I was called Indy, like the Indy 500.
Father of two Tom was (is) 65 and gay, he came out years ago and is clearly loving it. He had two kids with his ex-wife but got divorced years ago and is making up for lost time by the sounds of it. He told us how he and Gerry are staying in a ‘clothing optional’ gay men’s hotel in Fort Lauderdale. There are 4 of those here apparently. He said the on site hotel was excellent; a video room (“which is real fun”), a glory hole room, and a room with some sort of torture device, 50 Shades of Gay if you will. Tom told us how he’d be watching Gerry perform there later. Gerry, cross-eyed and face lift, didn’t want to be Tom’s boyfriend apparently, but at least he got to see his friend perform in a sex dungeon, so all good.
As well as spending most days on the beach or by the pool, we did a fair amount of walking in Ft. Lauderdale but it was very humid!
We couldn’t really afford proper nights out as it was expensive but one day we had a giant cocktail each that made us feel sick all afternoon as we rode the water taxis.
The best day was probably when we rented a moped and drove up to Pompano beach via Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, stopping at different points to sit on the beach or eat ice cream.