January 20, 2006

Fort Lauderdale

Wow! The weather has been changing almost every day. We have an 80-degree day and then huge thunderstorms followed by a cloudy, windy, chilly day, then back to another 80-degree day. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I can handle 65 degrees for a high, because at home in January it can be 0 degrees. I did talk with Ruth on the telephone yesterday, and she says they only had one really cold morning recently (17 degrees). She said it’s been mostly low 40’s to 50’s, raining, cold, and damp. I’m glad I’m here! I continue to take photographs of Florida’s plants and flowers. They are stunningly beautiful.

Pink Hibiscus


Fort Lauderdale has a different feel than Miami. It doesn’t seem as sheik, or quite as large. The beach has a wonderful serpentine wall, about two and one-half feet high. It runs along the sidewalk and has neon tubes in a narrow niche that change color on the sidewalk side. Traffic is impossible, with crazy drivers who don’t use turn signals, charge across three lanes of traffic, back and forth in front and behind so much that I sometimes feel as though I’m at an amusement park riding the bumper cars. People go through red lights as though the light were green. They’re also rude. In one situation I was doing the speed limit and happened to be in the way of a maniacally speeding vehicle. As the "lady" (I use the term loosely) zoomed around me, and then crossed over two lanes of traffic in front of me, all with no turn signal, she gave me the bird. It’s a wonder there aren’t wrecked vehicles all over the roads.

I had a terrible time locating the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of South Florida, but finally found it through “Google,” listed among many other centers in Florida. It is located at 1717 North Andrews Avenue. There is a SAGE or seniors group that meets Wednesday at 1 PM, and both men and women on Thursday at 1 PM. I didn’t have time to investigate these, but if I decide to settle in the area, I will definitely take a close look, and probably become a member. However, I have the feeling this city is way too crazed, and expensive for this old, shy, and introspective Pennsylvania Dutch man.

The realtor took me to Wilton Manors, the gay male Mecca, yesterday. One condominium we looked at is being built on the site of the old train station. The apartments are beautiful with marble floors and baths, gorgeous fixtures in kitchen and bathroom, all top drawer. However, speculators have purchased them using interest only mortgages and forced the prices through the roof. A two-bedroom condo with a view of the courtyard, restaurants, shops, and pool is going for over $800,000, a ridiculous price. The apartments are jammed in over top retail establishments, chock-a-block with each other, and I just can’t imagine living with all those people smashed into such a small space. Ah well, its not in my price range anyway, so I guess I’m just envious. Most of the area looks like a 1950’s type development with small three bedroom ranchers on little one eighth to quarter acre lots. These sell, depending on whether or not they’ve been rehabilitated, for one half million to a million and one half. There was absolutely nothing that I could afford that approached habitability.

I didn’t stay in Fort Lauderdale, opting for less expensive digs in Dania Beach directly below “Fort La-di-dah” as I’ve taken to calling it. Dania is a small town that looks forgotten, but cool, with a laid back but worn 1920’s look to it. Immediately below is Hollywood, where I went for a walk last evening on the asphalt-walk next to the beach. It was crowded with obviously middle class family type people, restaurants, bars and stores. It had a honky-tonk feel to it, sort of like a Wildwood, New Jersey in the tropics.

I’ve gone on line here and checked the gay male scene. Seems there are thousands of 20 something to 50 something guys with computers on the make. According to their photographs, most of them are related to Adonis, and they are willing to perform every sexual act known to man, and some that most of us have not discovered. I didn’t notice any posting by men over 60, though I expect no sexist gay man would be willing to admit to such an advanced age.

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