Sunday, 23 May 2010

ON THE BEACH (296 Miles)

Feeling slightly like Douglas Fairbanks I left the Colony Hotel and went to their beach club. Delray Beach along with Boca Raton and seemingly quite a number of the towns on the east coast of Florida like to have their “exclusive” bits. Money talks. Being a guest in the hotel meant you had free access to their club a couple of miles away.
Found it. Signed in and was walking towards the beach when a suspicious staff member spotting a rather grimy unshaven looking bloke with food over his shirt asked.
“Can I help you?” With all the terrible subtext that that involved:
“What are you doing here? We don’t like your sort here. Looks to me like you area trouble maker or worse have no money and you re making the place look scruffy”.

“No I’m fine thanks”
“You signed in?”
“Yes I have actually giving him just a slight whiff of what my 1000 yards stare can do.
When I left the club an hour later I noticed that he had printed my name next to my signature. He obviously didn’t trust me and had phoned his bosses for orders.

I went and sat in a beach chair and watched the boats go by. I also decided to go for a swim. Alas I had forgotten to change before I left the hotel but thought never mind it is hot I will dry out. So went in with my shorts on anyway. The sea was dead calm and like a bath.
Lay on the beach for a while and then decided to head on up the coast.
On the way to Orlando I stopped off for something to eat at an independent chain and decided to plump for the “Coney Island Style Foot long” It was a hot dog and came with “slaw” which was terrific.
The waitress was chatty friendly and terrifyingly unaware.
“Where you from?
“I got Uncles and Aunts who live there”
“Oh really where abouts?”
“Uh no idea”
“I visited England once”
“Oh really. Where did you go?”
“Can’t remember”
“What’s your job?”
“I work for the BBC”
“Who are they?”
“You never heard of the British Broadcasting Corporation. You never watched BBC America?”
“You intending to stay in this town forever? “ I asked.
“No I just graduated from college and with the job I intend to do I can do it anywhere…I want to be a marine biologist”

Was making rather good time so didn’t want to arrive at Orlando airport with hours to kill before the Dark Lady Arrived at around midnight so I carried on along the coast until I reached Cocoa Beach.
This is a stones throw from the Kennedy Space Centre. So all the shops and the roads had a theme:
“Grissom Boulevard”. “Apollo Realty” “Minutemen Road”. You get the general idea.
I had dried out by now so it seemed a good idea to have another swim. Pulled of the highway at the 8th St entrance to the beach and noted a row of parking meters. No such thing as a free swim here.
Sea rougher and not quite as warm but still tepid. It was terrific with very few people about. Here I made a slight mistake.
I have been crowing about the “Acme box that hangs around your neck to keeps stuff in.
It did its job admirably once again. This time I left my sandals and my shirt etc in the car and just had the box with the car key in and my shorts on.

I had been regularly slathering on the factor 30 on my face and arms however had omitted to do my torso. Ten minutes in the sun and when I got undressed that evening I had the pattern of a box on a lanyard on my body where the skin had been protected. The rest of my body was red. Not burned but red. Just goes to show the power of the sun.
As I left after me swim and contributed once more to the “dune” of sand now growing in the foot well of the car I noticed a message from someone who obviously didn’t have the benefit of the “Acme box around you neck to hold stuff in”

I was about 40 or so miles from Orlando and the GPS managed to not only negotiate all the toll roads but even took me past Valet parking for the airport hotel and into the DIY cheap seats parking for guests which was only a few feet from the hotel entrance. As I mentioned in a previous blog. Due to the poor exchange rate. I am not living as high on the hog as I have done when £=$2.
A slight hiccup with the toll booth as I found myself without change in the “exact money” lane. Nothing for I with the traffic building behind me and that was to drive through. It was barrier less so I didn’t do the “Nazi Blitzkrieg sweeps into Poland” newsreel footage job. However. A fair few alarms went off as I gingerly drove past the stop sign and pulled up on the hard shoulder to let the traffic go.
Dodging the traffic I went to the only manned booth and asked the operator what to do. He gave me change. Walked back threw it into the hopper and drove off.
I am sure all this is on CCTV when the Florida Interstate authority tries to fine me for running a red light at the toll booth.

Mounting excitement and a bath and a shower later and I am checking the arrivals board every five minutes.
11.12pm half an hour early. The Dark Lady appeared. It was great to see her.
Judging by some of your comments on Twitter.
You can guess the rest.
By the way, you can add me on Twitter by clicking here and Audioboo by clicking here. It is the same login for both so if you do one you might aswell the other!

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