We've had three nights here in Hollywood, which gave me a chance to catch up with old friends (I used to live in Aventura) and meet a business associate. It also gave both of Xingxing and me a chance to adjust to the jet lag.
South Florida is not dog-friendly. Dogs are not allowed on beaches, or even in parks adjacent to beaches. Dogs are not welcome in hotels, including this one. (Xingxing is a service dog, so he's allowed) The grass in the nature strips is laced with poison, and there are signs everywhere warning that dog waste spreads disease. This puzzles me, because there are plenty of dogs around -- expensive, well-groomed little dogs being walked by their scowling owners.
I am amazed at all the scowling faces. Most of the people here come from New York, and New Yorkers are not known for their smiling, friendly demeanor. But here we are, away from the ice storm that has gripped most of the United States, enjoying the sunshine and the balmy breezes. You'd think everyone would be walking around with a great, big grin on their face. Nope. And it's not just the tourists who are scowling. The locals scowl, too.
When I was a child, whenever I got upset or angry my mother warned me to be careful because if the wind changed, I'd wear that angry, sulking expression all my life. Obviously, a lot of these people got caught when the wind changed.
The most spectacular sights around here are the hotels. This one -- the Westin Diplomat -- has a waterfall out front that's bigger than some of the ones I saw in Canada, and an entrance atrium that's about twenty stories high.
We've had a pleasant, relaxing time. Unlike the tourists and the locals, the hotel staff are full of smiles. They seem fond of dogs, too. But then, they're not New Yorkers.