Day 1: Miami – Fort Lauderdale

Arrived at airport right on time, but was told “No free upgrades now, even for birthdays.”, seems like everyone wants to make a few more pennies.

Flight was quite rough – swear we dropped several meters in the plane at one point – and it took longer than expected as there were numerous storms we had to avoid. And then during the landing an unexpected shower storm meant the pilot lost visuals with the runway and had to abort the landing attempt – which was fun! Still, Sheila had pre-purchased some champagne and had a few birthday cards, so that really was good.

The heat was very unexpected and hits you hard, even on the short route from plane to terminal. The cabin crew had tried to warn us with the words: “The temperature reading outside now is ‘dead hot’ “, it was like walking through a sauna. (The air-con here must constantly be on overdrive)

There were lengthy queues through Miami airport at various intersections, and the airport itself seemed much smaller and older than I had envisaged.

We caught a bus to the car hire building which turned out to brand new and put the airport to shame (it was a large indoor room, bigger than an football field with just car hire places in). Picking up car would have been quick if they had had the size we’d reserved, could have taken a large SUV (which the attendant informed us “was not large”). We decided to wait for a size we’d ordered which didn’t take to long.

The drive out of Miami was uneventful, except I wasn’t yet used to driving on the “wrong” side and kept drifting right slightly. Car pretty easy to drive but not sure if we have cruise control – there was so many buttons I couldn’t even work out how to reset the trip (so we are starting at 583 miles) I did find the “Calibrate compass” setting though – it says “drive in circles”.

Arrived at Marriott hotel in Fort Lauderdale at 8pm ish and went straight out for food. Found a nice place called Moonlight diner, which served quite an unexpected range of food. Was the classic American diner style you always see in the movies.

Food was quick and good, but left fairly early as we were both exhausted.

Time for bed.

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