Of course, the United States of America would not be the United States of America, had the couple directly next to me not been fighting all night.
Slamming doors, yelling, throwing various items about.
In and out, up the stairs and down the stairs...
Banging, broken glass, obscenities...
They left first thing in the morning, so I never got the chance to find out who 'won.'
I had come back to my motel after exploring a bit of Lauderdale By The Sea. After my encounter with Miss "I'm from my mother" Congeniality, I found another place to hunker down.
I walked directly across the street to The Aruba Beach Cafe.
I was just looking for a place where my bartender might not be a bitch. And I found it.
I feasted on a Hawaiian Tuna Poke Bowl, a half a loaf of bread ~ otherwise known as Bimimi Bread. This bread came out as a half loaf, covered with Aruba glaze and served with a side of honey whipped butter. Apparently it's a popular bread in the Bahamas. Sweet and rich, with a soft texture and crust.
A half loaf of bread for $2... who can beat that?
I loved it.
My gut, not so much.
I also drank enough Sangrias to drown myself sitting up. That's probably why I could deal with the fighting next door all night.
In the morning, I decided to explore everything that Fort Lauderdale offered, and after a quick dip in the pool, I got myself ready for the day's adventure!
As eager as I was, I was ill prepared for the distances Miami handed. From my hotel into the real downtown area of Fort Lauderdale was 4.7 miles. It took me about an hour and a half, if you don't include the stops I made.
I had done a little bit of my own research into what I planned to do for the day and these were my three priorities;
1. Go to a pub called McSorley's.
2. Rent a car.
3. Do the Jungle Queen Riverboat tour.
All seemed reasonable and obtainable.
McSorley's was pinned as one of the best lunches in Fort Lauderdale, and I was bitterly disappointed. It was pub grub - same as everywhere- and I was disappointed I had wasted my money there, when I could have walked another 10 minutes and had something delicious AND healthy. Oh well... live and learn. Won't make that mistake next time I'm back in Fort Lauderdale.
I really felt I was owed a food do-over.
Next... rent a car.
That didn't work out as well as planned either. I became obsessed with the car rental reviews and convinced myself that everyone was determined to rip me off or rent me a dud. I eventually set my sights on one particular car rental location and then couldn't find it.
No car rental, as you might have already guessed.
Last, but not least... the Jungle Queen Riverboat tour.
This, I did.
Pinned as Fort Lauderdale's longest running attraction, the Jungle Queen is a vintage riverboat that offers 90-minute sightseeing tours down the waterways of the rich & famous. The cruise was narrated by one of the best tour guides I've ever encountered. She was absolutely fabulous at her job. Articulate, funny, informative... friendly, kind... you name it.
She was it.
We passed one house in particular and she pointed at it, saying "That is where America's biggest drug dealer lives."
Everyone looked at her, inquisitively.
"You want to know how I know that?" she continued. "Because I stopped by there earlier today to get some stuff I needed."
We all had a big laugh after she explained it was the home of Stefano Pessina, the owner of Walgreens.
Anyway - we sailed past Millionaire's Row, downtown Fort Lauderdale, Port Everglades and the Intracoastal Waterway. It was really enjoyable, and although I originally felt like I was doing something silly and unwarranted... highly recommended.
Fascinating.... and even more so from another perspective.
After the cruise, I caught a taxi back into downtown Fort Lauderdale and walked along the River Promenade and along Las Olas Boulevard, the main shopping and restaurant street. I liked Fort Lauderdale. There was so much more to it than sandy beaches and party pubs. The chic downtown core was the forefront of everything from fashion boutiques and art galleries, to memorial restaurants and sidewalk cafes.
I could LIVE here!
My ever-consuming taco addition led me into a restaurant called El Camino... and I was thrilled beyond words to be there. They had a full, extensive taco menu... and that was right up my alley. What should have been an incredible culinary experience, turned sour very quickly.
I asked for no cilantro. I got cilantro.
I sent it back.
It came back to me within 3 minutes.
Not so much, actually.
The tacos came back with extra chicken on it... and to mask the horrendous taste of cilantro, they had doused the chicken in bbq sauce.
And I don't like bbq sauce.
Instead of making me new tacos, they removed all the cilantro by way of removing all the vegetables. No no more vegetables at all.
Just bbq chicken taco with a lingering touch of cilantro.
When I complained, the waiter took a patronizing tone to me... which I didn't appreciate at all, considering I had asked for no cilantro and my meal was then voided of all nutrition and covered with a condiment that I don't care for.
I fail to see where the fault lay with me.
I returned it, paid my bill and left.
Hungry and in a huff.
I walked on, searching for somewhere to dine... but everything was beyond busy and after cilantro-gate, nothing was really sparking my interest.
I finally settled on grabbing a bottle of white and calling an Uber to take me home.
Just my luck... Uber dude pulled up in a 1988 4-door Nissan lowrider, that appeared to have been duct-tapped together. He yelled my name out the window, followed by "GET IN," which I did, dutifully.
We had not been on the road 1 minute, when someone apparently cut him off and he went postal. His road-rage aggression was automatically triggered, and he immediately began to lay on the horn, screaming obscenities and thrusting his middle digit out the window, in the direction of the other vehicle.
I was in complete shock.
Might I remind everyone, I was in an UBER.
"Buckle up, cuz we're going after that guy," he told me, "and when we catch up to him, I'm going to fucking kill him."
Once again, I will remind everyone that I was in an UBER.
"You can let me out right here then."
I had a bottle of white wine and full intention of drinking it in the comfort of my own motel room. I was not in the frame of mind to spend the evening terrorizing the streets of Fort Lauderdale. Nor did I want my day to end in emergency.
He calmed down as soon as the words came out of my mouth, but he made it clear that he was not happy with my decision. For a few minutes, he tried to defend his position and the reasoning behind his violent tendencies... but I didn't care.
I sat in the back of his shitty little car, with my eyes diverting between the other vehicles, his neon tip jar and the TV on the back of his passenger seat, showcasing an episode about some NY losers that can't get off crack.
Again... welcome to the United States of America.
No wonder I drink...