We've heard that it is maybe 10 degrees in South Bend. It is about 85 here in Fort Lauderdale as we enjoy the view from our Doubletree Suites balcony in the late afternoon.
A drawbridge below crosses East Sunrise Boulevard. On the other side is the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, a "paradise in urban Fort Lauderdale," and then a bit east of that we can see the Atlantic Ocean. It's not quiet. I hear a fire engine with its siren blaring as it crosses the bridge. An occasional motorcycle roars by. But it is peaceful anyway from this high vantage point.
This morning we had a pleasant walk through the Birch park and marvelled at the banyan and palm trees and the wetlands. How wonderful that Birch gave this land to the state to preserve it or it would be all high rise hotels and condos here.
This afternoon we walked through the upscale Galleria mall a block to the west of us. A restaurant's sign said "Fashionable Dress Required"--not the usual demand for shirt and shoes. Last night we scorned those restaurants and instead went to a place that looked a bit sketchy from the sidewalk--Franco and Vinny's Pizza Shack. What a find! It was the kind of place where customers and waiters and waitresses were greeting each other with hugs and kisses. The woman across the aisle introduced her nephew to the waiter and said later that she had been coming there for 20 years. I put in my order for the chicken ravioli with marinara sauce and the waiter asked if I was sure I didn't want to try one of the other sauces because he recommened the "aurora"--a cross between marinara and alfredo. He was right--it was fabulous.
I wonder what it would be like to live here or even just winter here. We feel young as we look around at so many elderly people. My sister said one of her friends came home saying he'd had enough of Florida and seeing old women in bathing suits! I wouldn't care for a life of golf and bridge and shopping only as I think about what is making my retirement interesting and worthwhile in South Bend.
But the warm air is so soothing and relaxing. I don't think six days are going to be long enough!