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Day 8 & 9 Florida 2017

The problem with travelling around, is that you have no time to just sit down and relax, no chance to unpack and make a base, and you’re always thinking about moving on the next day. Well, pretty soon, all that is going to stop, as today, we start to meet up with old friends, welcome friends and family from home, and sort of set up camp.

Not sure where I left you on the last blog….I think it was Fort Lauderdale, but it’s two nights later, and we’re now on the west coast, in Fort Myers. I’ll bring you up to speed on what’s happened in the last two days, but to be honest it’s been pretty normal.

When we left Fort Lauderdale we headed across Alligator Alley, which is a mosquito infested swampland between the east and west coast. There’s nothing on this road but State Troopers and other drivers, so with a full tank we set out. Didn’t see gators, or critters, just our first spots of rain. Yep, nine days in and it’s like bloody England! Actually, it didn’t drop below 89* and it only came down for 3 minutes, but FFS….. When we arrived at the other side, a bit like a time machine coming out of hyper speed, we landed in Naples. You can smell the money in the air….

You leave Fort Lauderdale, with its Dollar Stores, WalMart and Sir Save a lot, and you arrive in Naples to see Harrods Express, Waitrose Y’all and Sir Spend a Lot. But seriously, you can see there’s money here. We head up the main road, which runs along the coast, and head for tonight’s home, the Ramada Hotel. Upon arrival, all seems well. Reception is clean and opulent, and our greeter speaks English. We are told our room overlooks the pool, on the second floor….well, we have cases, but that’s no big deal, we can manage, and the room has a super King bed, so a good nights sleep is ahead of us. Then he drops the bombshell: “The restaurant is open tonight, but you’ve just missed happy hour”.

After the paramedics had treated her for trauma, I guided Nikki to our room, which was indeed very nice. A bit sterile compared to the quirky rooms we’ve had so far, but nevertheless a clean spacious room, with everything you need, iron, fridge, TV, bible….why is there a bible in every hotel room? And why is this one written in English when the entire population of the hotel seems to speak every other language….except Tony at the bar, from Wisconsin, who, when he finds out we’re from England, asks us if we know a good friend of his called Pete from Ox-Ford-Shire. I’m duty bound to say at this point that after a few beers Nikki challenged me to darts, and in one game she beat me, thanks to a fantastic 47 dart finish on a double six. American darts don’t go straight, and I’ve got a bad arm, and it was a fluke…..

We’re up the next day to a complimentary breakfast. Waffles, toast and corned beef hash. I say toast…the toaster was stuck in bagel mode, so it only toasted one side, so, if you did one side then turned it round, you ended up with one burnt side, or you suffered from a semi-toast (if that’s even a thing). Still, top it with beef slop, no one will know….now begins the mammoth journey to Fort Myers…..hang on…what’s wrong with the radio?

Yep, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned, we picked our car up in Fort Lauderdale. We originally opted for an Normal car this time, as there’s only us two, but when the kids decided they were joining us (next week), they asked if we’d get a bigger car. A quick call with a discount code, and it turns out we got the seven seater mini van cheaper than the SUV. Anyway, the advantage of such a vehicle is the in car DVD and satellite radio…until this morning, when it went into demo mode and wouldn’t budge….

“Hi Siri….please direct me to the nearest Alamo Rental Office”. “It’s 12 miles away at Fort Myers International Airport”. Remember, were in the States, and every village has an international airport. It took less that ten minutes for me to hit the customer service department at Alamo, disgusted that they would give me a car that, after six days, had a malfunctioning radio. They did compensate me with a full tank of gas, which is American for petrol. Off to our hotel….

A few miles from Heathrow II, were on the beach in our home for the night. A lovely, well, hippy-esque place across from the beach, painted blue and yellow, and lined with palm trees. Our room has an aroma of a mixture of lemon Glade and grade 1 Cabo Wabo Skunk…..yep, it seems that kind of place. Still, our hostess, Bob Dylan, shows us to our room, which is very beach like, white and spacious, and leaves us to it. We cross the road to the beach, with fine white sand, warm blue sea, and a sunset.

Off to Treasure Island today, a short 100 mile trip north. It’s now June, and the news is on Fox Local. Quite funny, or not, but there’s a report on the TV about a crash on the Interstate 75. They go live to Chuck Ramsay on scene, who, whilst reporting live from the side of the crash, is moved by Police away from the scene. Live. “You can’t be here Sir, we’re treating the injured”.

Five minutes later, they go back, live to Chuck, who’s now on the verge on the other side of the road. “Up to seven people being treated here, and a helicopter is taking the injured to the local…..”. “I’m sorry sir, but I’ve told you you can’t be here”. “I’m just doing my job Officer, and we’re live…”.

Five minutes later, they go back to Chuck, now sitting in the back of a vehicle. A Police vehicle. Live…..

One last thing…at the last count I have 48 mosquito bites….time for bug spray

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