Astral Nomads

One man, one woman, one rabbit......traveling with the stars.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hooray For Hollywood FL

Everybody's a dreamer and everybody's a star
And everybody's in movies, it doesn't matter who you are
There are stars in every city
In every house and on every street
And if you walk down Hollywood Boulevard
Their names are written in concrete*

Yeah, that's what I was thinking too. Except this is Hollywood Florida. We hunkered down in a largish Comfort Inn for 3 days to wash off the Everglades and wait for the mosquito bites to heal. Since this hotel is right off of I95 near the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood airport, it's not in the most scenic part of town. So our initial impression was of a town whose heyday came and went with the original Rat Pack. Especially the strip north of downtown featuring the inescapable US1. Then, we went to the beach and our opinion skyrocketed. It's not just that the Astrals love the beach either. The beach front part of town, while not extremely upscale, is pretty damn nice, with a lovely paving stone promenade on fronting the ocean.

But before we got to the beach, we did explore Hollywood Blvd downtown, which is mostly restaurants, bars, and night spots. Looks like it could get pretty jumping down here at night. We had lunch at an Argentinian steak house where Wendy told me the women's bathroom was festooned with fresh orchids. Man, all I got in the men's room was a time-release Lysol sprayer. 

Except for the main strip as described, the downtown was
devoid of much of interest, but they did have this cool
bike-rack topped with a concrete disk into which was
inserted chunks of colored glass. Not exactly Chartres
Cathedral, but colored glass in the sun is always inspirational.

"You can travel fifty thousand miles in America without once tasting a piece of good bread."
Henry Miller

This old building, perhaps a sign of the glory days, did
not seem to have a current tenant. I'm pretty sure I've
heard of Hollywood Bread, though. I think it was one of
those insipid American white breads, like Wonder Bread,
that were bestsellers back when women stayed home
and cleaned the house in pumps and a party dress. Probably
made a killer grilled cheese sandwich when used with Velveeta.

Here's the Eurovan as seen from our third floor in the Comfort Inn. When we were at Wendy's sister Bonnie's, I bought a tarp and wrapped our tent and secured it to the luggage rack over the cab with some tie-down cargo straps. We have not really used the tent yet and it was taking up a lot of space in the rear storage aisle (under the rear deck). Since I discovered that camping primarily consists of moving stuff around, I have become a maniac about minimizing the movement of objects. Plus it adds a nice 'rugged adventure' look to the Eurovan. No one needs to know the contents include two Tenderfoots and a spolied rabbit.

As I was saying, there's a real nice beach here. It's been kind of unseasonably cold still, though. I was reading today that Miami has had the coldest December in 115 years. Today it was in the mid-60Fs but the north wind was still blowing, probably wrapping around that big Nor-easter that just dumped all that snow up in the New York/New Jersey area. There were actually some people swimming in the ocean but I think they were Canadians.

The water was a beautiful turquoise and we had a
large section of the northern end of the beach entirely
to ourselves..

Most of the oceanside building are generic 60s era two
story motels, but we did spot this pink beauty that really stood out.

Here's the promenade.

No shade was required but Wendy felt compelled
to stuff herself into this cubby-hole.

Nomadic and ready.

We ate lunch at the Nilus Delights Bakery/Deli. Highly recommended. Great sandwiches served on a crispy baguette that was a nice counterpoint to our memories of Hollywood Bread. Henry Miller would have approved, I think. We also bought a box of tarts that are abfab and a pound of cookies.

They had large-breasted Hindu goddesses painted on this wall mural 
which was curious since nothing else in the entire bakery
was indicative of any connection to the Indian subcontinent.

 For dinner, it was the Taverna Yiamas, a Mediterrean restaurant that was quite good. We had Baba Ganoush, seafood kabobs, and an Egyptian Lamb Shank.  They have a hookah bar and belly dancing every night but we didn't stay for that, not because we don't like the hookah or belly dancers, but because it was late and we were hitting the road again early the next day.

This lamb shank was served in a highly spiced tomato
sauce and was spoon tender. The couscous served with
the kabobs was the best we have.

Next stop: Eustis Florida to spend a few days with my old college roommate Clark and his family.

-The usual suspects.

*Kinks, Celluloid Heroes