Fort Lauderdale is a medium-sized, mostly suburban city in Southern Florida. It is smaller than Miami, but its beaches are just as nice. For those who live in Miami, Fort Lauderdale is a good place to go to find people who can actually speak English.

Fort Lauderdale is also home to Sawgrass Mills, which is the largest indoor mall in Florida. There is also the Swap Shop, where you can find tons and tons of wonderful merchandise (most of it probably stolen in Miami) for sale. There is also the trendy business district along Las Olas Blvd., where you can find good food and fun.

The first I heard of Ft. Lauderdale was in the days when every year college kids attacked the beaches during Spring Break. But, as they say, "All good things must come to an end." As I understand it, the party was over in 1985 when the wild parties overwhelmed the city fathers, who clamped down on the influx of some 350,000 students hell-bent on sex, booze, and mayhem. This year we had less than 15,000 students.

So, what's left? The ocean front is as beautiful as it ever was and the stores lining the strip on Las Olas as pricey as ever. We have clubs for every taste, if you're fixing to try to get a tan inside a bar. If nature is your thing, you can certainly find tours into the swamp at reasonable prices. As a matter of fact, I'm just a couple blocks from a small lake, lined by a swamp. My fees for conducting a tour are quite reasonable. The Anne Kolb Nature Center and Marina is a wetland mangrove forest habitat that attracts many visitors, not all of them human, I might add.

For an old Florida feel visitors can visit the Bonnet House, a 35-acre subtropical estate built in 1926. It's just off the beach and right in town. We are also very proud of the Buehler Planetarium and the Museum of Discovery and Science. If you don't mind paying the tarriff, Butterfly World/Tradewinds Park is a great place to spend the day.

If you plan to eat out, we have restaurants for every palate. By the way, the place may have a Mexican name, but more than likely it features Cuban cuisine. Until recently many gringos frowned on the Cuban migration northward from Miami into the upper reaches of Florida, so many owners gave Mexican names to their establishments in an effort to calm the locals. This isn't so much the case now a-days. Thai and Indian restaurants abound (yumm yumm!) and pizza has become a southern dish.

But, that's not the real reason for this w/u. Although a resident in these parts for only a few months, I have been moved to defend my new home against the contumely Florida has received at the hands of its detractors.

Flor-ee-DUH is one big geriatric clinic

This is wholly and completely untrue! Some of us ancients are in good health and do not need the services of a clinic. Besides, the middle school near the house seems to be well used, which indicates that there must be children living in the area somewhere.

In summer Ft. Lauderdale is hot and humid

All I can say about this is that Ft. Lauderdale in summer is certainly not for wimps! Home owners and condo builders have thoughtfully provided swimming pools every so many yards from each other to supply instant relief.

Ft. Lauderdale's residents encourage keeping dangerous animals

Reference has been made to blood-sucking insects and cantankerous gators as examples. Again, this a vicious lie. I have yet to be bitten by either one. I admit to having been the unwitting host to a number of flying cockroaches and termites, but usually the regular visits of an exterminator take care of this minor problem.

Hurricanes, swamp fires, floods etc. plague the area

While we do seem to have more than our share of these, our natural disasters only serve to bring us together, fostering an esprit de corps unknown in others states.

Ft. Lauderdale is my home and I wouldn't live anywhere else in the world!

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