It Is Not A Gun

Friday, April 13, 2012
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Leaving home in the early hours of the morning, it was a wet drive all the way to Edmonton International Airport. At least I know my car will get a good rinse at the open parking lot of Park N Fly over the week. Not wanting to deprive myself of any more sleep than I need, I arrived 1 hr 45 mins before the departure time of 0643 hrs. I could assign my seat beforehand on the United Airlines (UA) flight but could not pre-check in, so self check in it was using one of the kiosks at the airport. UA charges $25 per bag. After a short queue at check-in, my hopes for a leisurely breakfast were dashed by the the long queue to clear security and, particularly, US immigration. You would think they would have speeded up the operations by now. So there was like 10 or 15 mins to departure, but the time I cleared US immigration, no time to "lounge around" in the departure lounge. I could see the weather was still miserable - it was to translate to snow the next day - as the plane pushed back from the gate, but once it rose from the clouds, it was clear.

You do not realize how quiet Edmonton is till you arrive in an airport like Houston . I can also feel that it is a warmer place though I did not step outside. I had plenty of time - almost 3 hrs - for a leisurely, Panda Express lunch, and to fiddle around with and charge the phone and laptop in the terminal. From Houston, it is less than 2 hours to Miami, over the Gulf of Mexico. It was not my first time in Miami Airport, having traversed here many years back between New York and Quito, rn route to the Galapagos Islands. 

No notorious Miami weather delayed the flight this time, but I had to wait 45 minutes for my pre-arranged shuttle to Fort Lauderdale, where my hotel had been arranged. SuperShuttle is just a name and in no way reflects the quality of the vehicle which transported me and another couple the 60 km or so to Fort Lauderdale. So a limousine it was not, but a not so new minivan. Soon after leaving Miami Airport, the driver pulled into a small lane and began to search for something in a small backpack which he said belonged to his son. His said,"Don't panic ." He was just taking out the device for automatic toll-deduction to attach to the windshield. "See it is not a gun." he joked. Welcome to Florida.

The sun had almost set but the time I checked in at the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. Delighted to discover I had the room to myself though I had paid the twin sharing rate. The hotel promotes itself as being located on the beach. It does not have a beach front because some other accommodation is in between the property and the sea, and part of the hotel is across the road running along the length of Fort Lauderdale beach, which starts at the hotel, I imagined the beach and its leisure facilities would be much busier during the day. But there were still a few residents here and there, swimming in the sea, fishing, children on swings, and fitness enthusiasts played basketball, skateboarded or jogged. The adjacent, inland waterway, was full of docked boats, many for rent, to take one fishing or just cruising.

It looks a nice place to live. Too busy at all. Nice weather (it was not raining then). Tourists were walking to and from places to eat and shop. Settled for a Greek wrap for supper tonight.