After a weekend of tenting I headed back to Fort Lauderdale for a week of relaxation at Vistamar Villa. During my tenting I managed to get about 50 bites all over my legs. Not sure what it was from but I looked like I had a bad case of the plague for a few days afterwards. When I arrived at the motel I had another long talk with the owner while I checked in. I was talking about the TripAdvisor web site and he spoke of some of the nightmare customers who ended up leaving nasty comments about their place. During the conversation he mentioned the various rules they have around the motel and how they are mostly there as a backup. The pool, for instance, is open until 9pm according to the sign, but as long as people are quiet they can go swimming all night long if they like. I put that knowledge to good use and was out swimming around midnight each night. Always a stickler for rules, I've been trying to ignore most of the unnecessary ones during this trip. I've managed to break the "no diving" rule in pretty well every pool I've been in down here.
The week at Vistamar Villa was nice and peaceful for the most part. A swim in the pool in the morning, then maybe a walk down to the beach and a quick swim there and a stroll along the sand. Another dip in the pool to cool off once I got back. A little story writing. Sitting outside my room at one of the tables working on my web site in the evening. After the second day I borrowed one of the bikes from the motel and did a little exploring, typically biking for an hour each day.
While swimming in the pool one day I managed to rescue a poor spider who had fallen in. He thanked me profusely and told me that this near-death experience had completely changed him and that he was going to devote the rest of his life to good deeds. He then scurried across the concrete towards the grass but only made it halfway before a lizard gobbled him up.
While at the beach during my final day at Vistamar I ended up being knocked over by one of the waves and when my hand came down on the sand it touched on something extremely sharp. I have no idea what it was but it felt like some metal object with numerous sharp spikes on it. I expected to be cut in numerous places but I only had a small cut on one finger. I quickly came ashore, not wanting to step on whatever that was and figuring it's not a good idea to be swimming around in Florida waters with a bleeding finger. Back on shore I was very curious as to what it had been. (Maybe a deadly sand piranha!) I was also concerned that someone else might go swimming out there. So, I hatched a plan. I biked back to the motel and grabbed my goggles and water shoes and then returned to the beach. With my feet protected and armed with what I think was a sea cucumber, I went off in search of the spiky thing I had encountered. Unfortunately, it quickly became obvious there was so much sand being stirred up that I could barely see a thing even with the goggles. Then I heard someone blowing a whistle. Sure enough, a life guard was calling me in.
I came ashore and she pointed to the half dozen pylons that were placed along a 30 foot section of beach. Were they a warning that sand piranhas inhabited this tiny section of beach? It was hard to understand what she was saying because she had a thick accent and a pierced tongue but I did catch the word riptide. Somehow there was a dangerous riptide only in that one particular area of beach. Obviously that is what I must have cut my finger on! At least I knew that no one else would be swimming out there. Still, it left me kind of spooked. While walking along the beach in Flagler the previous week I had found a small piece of wood with a rusty nail sticking straight up out of the sand. I tossed it in the garbage but when I went out later that night it took a little effort to convince myself that I was perfectly safe walking barefoot along the sand in the near darkness. So many things to be paranoid about!
In the evening I went to the nearby pizza place for a tasty slice. A football game was playing on the tv and the young man sitting at the next table was really getting into it, talking to the screen and jumping up and rushing over to the tv every time there was a dramatic play. While shouting words of encouragement to the players his bored girlfriend pointed out to him that they couldn't actually hear what he was saying. "They can feel my support", he said, with complete seriousness. He ended up getting in a very heated argument with a semi-drunk man who walked in with a prostitute on one arm who started rooting for the other team. I figured I'd had enough local flavor for the evening and returned to the motel.
The next morning I finally checked out of Vistamar and set off for Miami Beach. I booked a room at the Howard Johnson for one night. I was hoping to spend the evening sitting next to the pool, using the wireless to work on the web site. Unfortunately, the wireless was terrible and the pool closed at dusk. I can't say that I made much of my one night in Miami. I walked along the beach a bit before dark and decided that they all pretty much seem the same. The next morning I got to properly enjoy the pool before I checked out. It was unheated but I loved it. Very refreshing. It was also a very large and very deep pool. A whopping 10 feet deep. Of course they still said "no diving". It would require a great deal of skill to hit your head diving in water that deep!