After a week with my sister in New York, I flew down to Florida.
The ‘boys’ met me at Miami airport. Actually, it was Husband (hasn’t been a ‘boy’ for many years) and my sons (who are also no longer ‘boys’) but they will always be boys to me. I was able to hug Son 1 before he disappeared through security for his flight home, then we went in search of food. I was starving. I bought a burger, which I ate in the open-top Mustang they’d hired while we drove across Florida. It is the best burger I have eaten. Possibly the best meal. As I said, I was starving.
Once death-by-starvation had been averted, I looked out of the window. We were driving along ‘Alligator Alley’ and I was keen to spot a gator. I saw swamp, and birds —lots of birds. There were long legged white birds, and dumpy buzzards, and a big brown fishing bird that sort of hung itself out to dry after diving. But I wanted to see an alligator. Son 2 kept pointing them out, but I kept missing them.
Then, suddenly, I saw one. It was huge, about the size of a double bed, and black, and evil looking—horrible. I no longer wanted to see an alligator, they were horrid; and I worried I might have nightmares. I stopped looking. (Note, I may have exaggerated the size very slightly.)
We drove to the west side of Florida, and onto Sanibel Island. We were staying in Sanibel Moorings, which is where we stayed twenty years ago. It’s still lovely. We’ve hired a condo for a few days. It is very pretty, with lots of beach art on the walls, and pastel-coloured furnishings. There is a kitchen (complete with massive American fridge), two bathrooms, two bedrooms, a lounge, and a balcony (enclosed by a fly-net) overlooking the beach. Everything is very clean and comfortable.
It was dark when we arrived, so we unpacked, and the ‘boys’ went out for dinner. I went to bed (you might remember, I had been awake since a very early number!)
Day 1: We went for an early walk along the beach. There are shells everywhere. There are also birds everywhere: little sandpipers that run along the water’s edge looking for food, huge pelicans that glide over the sea like fighter-pilots, tall white birds (egrets, I think) with their funny yellow feet. The sea is full of dolphins, but we didn’t see any today.
There are also lots of palm trees. There is something very exciting about palm trees.
We strolled towards the lighthouse. It doesn’t actually have a house, and is more of a ‘light-pylon’; but I guess it does the job.
We then went back to the car (because when you’ve hired an open-top Mustang and have stolen a holiday in November, you kind of want to cruise in the sunshine while you can). We drove to Captiva, the next island. There were lots of expensive houses, and mangrove swamps, and strips of beach. There was also Santa, climbing a palm tree, which feels wrong.
We went to Bailey’s Supermarket and bought bagels for lunch. There was lots of fresh fruit. There were also cartons of orange juice, from Spain. This feels very wrong (in the UK, all the orange juice is from Florida). The world is mad.
For dinner, we went to a fish restaurant. Sanibel has a lot of restaurants, and most of them are fish restaurants. We went to one which felt a bit weird when we entered, as it was big and sold tee-shirts; it felt more like a sports centre. But once we were settled into a booth, eating fresh hot prawns (which Americans call “shrimp”) and drinking cold beers, it felt just fine. Eating in America is always good.
I will tell you more about our ‘stolen holiday’ soon. It feels sort of naughty to be here in November!
Have a fun week and take care.