The rental car people picked me up at 0800, and Janet and I headed for Miami Beach about a half hour later. Man, after three weeks on a boat, I-95 in south Florida and specifically Ft Lauderdale and Miami freeways were a bit too much. By the time we had gotten to Miami Beach our average speed for 120 miles had dropped below 40 (and half had been done at 70 mph!). Stop and go, stop and go….in LA-like smog, with some drivers that simply had to be on drugs…legal or otherwise.
Miami Beach had done a terrible job of identifying remote parking areas for the boat show, and it took us an hour to find a place to park. Then we were told there was no shuttle bus to/from the parking area we were finally directed to. So we walked to the nearest route. All told we spent more time looking for parking, walking, waiting for buses, and riding buses than we spent at the boat show. A Cubano Lunch at the Mambo Cafe at Bayside Marina was a high point, but the in-the-water show there really showed what’s going on in the industry. There were empty slips!! There are NEVER empty slips at this show. Sadly, even Caliber Yachts was not there.
At the convention center, the various booths were clearly running on about 2/3rds staff. We escaped the parking garage at 1745, and it took us until 1905 to get to our hotel in Deerfield Beach (a 30 minute trip). We very quickly changed clothes and headed for our reservations at the “Mai Kai” in Fort Lauderdale for dinner and the Polynesian floor show. We made it with one minute to spare. The service and food were outstanding. We shared crab Rangoon, goat cheese Tahitian (colonial French) style, chicken Shanghai, and an excellent spring roll. We followed this with Janet’s steak, chicken and shrimp teri-aki wok bowl. I had Mandarin pressed duck. I had planned to accompany this with Nasi Goreng (spicy Indonesian curried rice with onions and raisins) but decided to save that for another time. [Dirk and Tini VanZiverden the Dutch couple who sold us our Freedom 40 “Bright Star” turned me into a Nasi Goreng fan (it took mere seconds the way Tini cooks), but this was simply a matter of too much food.] Yes, we had desert. We made it back to the hotel around midnight.