Because we saved money on our Hampton Inn room for Thursday and Friday nights ($40 a night plus points), we spent a little extra for our last night to get a room at the Embassy Suites directly on the beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
When I booked the room online, I asked for optional upgrades to a higher floor (+$12) or a deluxe suite (+$25). To our pleasant surprise, they gave us both…for free! We had an ocean-view room that was VERY nice!
Early Sunday morning, I happened to rouse around 6:15 AM. I could see a tinge of orange on the horizon. So I got Jeri up. We literally laid in bed and watched the sun slowly rise. After a bit, we got dressed and sat out on the balcony. We enjoyed listening to the gentle waves crashing against the shore.
After about an hour, the sun was up. We headed down for our complimentary, hot breakfast. Years ago, we would have indulged in a cooked-to-order omelet along with sausage and bacon. Although our (mostly) vegan diet limited our food selection, we still enjoyed toast and English muffins with butter, waffle with syrup, fresh fruit, raisin bran, coffee, and orange juice.
After breakfast, we headed back to our room and donned our swimsuits. We headed to the beach right next to the hotel. The water was SO nice…warm and clear. The water temperature (according to a posted sign) was 85 F. The sand was fine and felt soft under our feet.
We walked through the water and swam out a short ways into the ocean. We really enjoyed playing in the waves. We would jump and try to stay above the waves. A few waves were so large, we were completely swallowed. One time, I remember being under water for a few seconds with bubbles all around. Because the beach had some man-made rock outcroppings, I was hoping that I wouldn’t get washed into one; I didn’t. It was fun.
We’d laugh each time we’d get a face full of water. The water was very salty…saltier than water in the Pacific (at least at Huntington Beach). After spending some time in the ocean, we showered and headed back to the hotel.
Because the pool at Embassy Suites looked so inviting, we had to check it out. Again the water was warm. When I asked the pool attendant about the pool, he said that it was heated naturally by the sun. After swimming for a while, we headed up to our room to shower and pack.
Although I was originally thinking to try another vegan restaurant for lunch, Jeri suggested Sweet Tomatoes (a sister brand to Souplantation). Having a big salad sounded good to both of us. Because we were still at the hotel, I asked the front desk for Internet access. She gave me a code so I could access their wireless network.
As we sat outside in their courtyard, I used my laptop to search for a restaurant location. Using the GPS that we brought from home, we headed to the restaurant where we enjoyed a nice meal. At the restaurant, I asked an employee about Water Taxi locations. She said that, because she was a local, it was something that she had never done.
Because someone (Richard) at the memorial service told us where we could find the Water Taxi, we headed to that location. Eventually after asking around and making two phone calls, we found a pickup stop (adjacent to a DoubleTree Hotel).
Because we only had about three hours, we didn’t get on and off of the taxi. We stayed for the round-trip tour. We saw lots of expensive homes and yachts.
A number of cruise ships leave out of the Port of Fort Lauderdale. We saw the largest cruise ship in the world, Allure of the Seas, pulling out.
Fort Lauderdale has a lot of drawbridges. We saw one open for a sailboat whose mast was very tall.
All day, the weather had been partly cloudy…warm and, of course, humid. As the afternoon progressed, we could see dark clouds gathering in the north. Eventually we saw lightning.
Finally we docked back at the DoubleTree (where we started). In the picture below, you can see the DoubleTree Hotel behind us.
The clouds moved closer. Just as we got back to our car, a light rain began. As we drove back to the airport, the rain and lightning moved closer and closer.
We dropped off the car, got to the terminal, went through security, and got to the gate about an hour before they were to begin boarding. However we soon got word that our flight was delayed by half an hour. As we saw lightning continue to flash, we were afraid that this delay would soon be followed by a second delay.
Fortunately our flight did depart at 10:00 PM. We arrived at LAX at 12:30 AM (we gained three hours). At 1:30 PM, we caught our SuperShuttle. We made it home around 2:15 AM. We got to bed at 2:40 AM.
I woke at 7:10 AM and made it to work by a little after 8 AM. I was tired but I survived. I think that I actually slept a little better on the plane this time and got, maybe, four hours of “sleep.”