I am in Florida. The state of pensioners and tourists. Its geography is marked by a coastline, by the omnipresence of water and the threat of hurricanes. Florida has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States.
We are visiting Rajendra’s grandfather in Lauderdale By The Sea. We arrived yesterday night. Tired and hungry after a whole day of traveling. We missed our early bird flight as Raj could not resist taking a long shower at 4am! Luckily the flight assistant could reschedule a later one. We waited for hours at the San Francisco Airport and I was so grumpy! After I had an Udon Soup for breakfast I slept right next to the empty soup bowl. Sometimes the best medicine for my grumpiness.
The plane landed a few minutes after midnight and Raj’s 91 years old grandfather picked us up in his pretty fancy red shiny Buick. We drove from the Fort Lauderdale airport to Lauderdale By The Sea, which is about a 20 minutes drive. The security guard looked a little bit irritated seeing us pulling in the parking lot at 1 o’clock in the morning. Joe lives in a 20 Floor apartment building called “Ocean Colony” right by the sea. The view from the 15th floor is really nice and I am quite happy that the air condition doesn’t work. We had a Pizza (4 meat flavor), ice-cold ice-tea with ice cubes and a little salad as a late night snack. There I heard my first story:
Joe’s story plays in Moscow in the early 80ies:
On one of our evenings in Moscow my wife and I decided to go to the opera. “Aida” was playing and we were curious to see it in the big opera house. In the afternoon I went to the ticket office hoping to get tickets but unfortunately the show was already sold out. While I was considering alternative options for entertainment, I unwrapped a piece chewing gum and started chewing. The cashier lady looked at me and of course I offered her a piece of gum.
She took the piece of gum as if it was the discovery of a holy treasure of some sunken pirate ship. I gave her the whole package and she told us to come back at 6 o’clock and promised to find a way for us to get in the theatre!
I was surprised and excited about her offer and the impact of my chewing gum!
Whether you believe it or not, we found ourselves in between the celebrities of Moscow.
We were seated at the balustrade and had a perfect view. Unfortunately the opera was in russian.
I think that was the best introduction for a trip to Florida!