Tuesday, December 29, 2009

At Long Last, Florida!

I was lucky enough to be invited to Florida this year for Christmas. I stayed with my sister and brother-in-law in Port St. Lucie, and it was evident that they put a lot of thought into entertaining me while I was there. We dined well, on waffles and Pineapple Chicken from my mom's recipes, and packed a lot of sightseeing into the few days before Christmas Day.

Day One, Miami: We drove the hundred or so miles to Miami where we toured James Deering's 1916 mansion called Vizcaya. This is a big enough deal (and I have enough photos) to make it a separate blogpost. Stay tuned for that. For something completely different, we boarded a tour boat that took us around Biscayne Bay to visit movie and music stars' homes. We agreed that the cheeky bilingual guide could have been telling us anything about these gorgeous mansions, but chose to believe him when he told us these properties were owned by Gloria Estefan, Sylvester Stallone,
Frank Sinatra, Antonio Banderas and others. (Note these are all celebrities whose first names are superfluous!) Shaq sold his place to A-Rod, and JLo lives across the pond.

Anyway, after the posh star homes, the boat took us through the Port of Miami. There was one large cruise ship docked there and many cargo ships. We got to see a giant gantry crane unloading one of these monster ships.

We saw some Brown Pelicans hanging out,

and this guy who I'm pretty sure is a Great Egret.

After the cruise, we drove through South Beach. It was dark enough to see the holiday lights decorating the buildings, but light enough to get an idea of the swanky South Beach scene. I didn't spot any movie stars.

Day Two, Jensen Beach: Didja know that Jensen Beach in Martin County, FL, used to be The Pineapple Capital of the World? The weather was nice enough this day to walk in the shallow surf. To the Floridians it was chilly, but this Jersey Girl probably could have jumped in. There were flocks of brown pelicans flying overhead and sandpipers or plovers scurrying about at the water's edge. Two of my favorite shots are this lone palm and the kid wearing a Santa hat while boogie boarding. I picked up a few shells that are different from New Jersey's--the colors are more vibrant and the shells are thicker. The flat one will go in my scrapbook.

Back at homebase, I took some shots of the orchid and pineapple plants by the pool, and a tiny gecko hiding in another plant.

Day Three, Lake Worth: We spent Christmas Day here with my niece and her family. Many neighborhoods have these small lakes in their center, or canals, but if you're smart, you won't stick your feet in them (use your imagination). Ducks come right up to the shrubs around the house to lay their eggs.

And then there is Fraidy, snoozing in his favorite spot.

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