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Jessie Graduates in Florida
And the family gathers to celebrate

Jessie rocks! Jessie graduated magna cum laude from Florida International University's School of Hopitality Management in Miami. Family from Florida, Michigan, Maryland, Arizona, and the District of Columbia cheered her on and gathered to celebrate the achievements of our London emigree. Jessie broke into a giant smile and victory sign upon receiving her diploma. And why not? -- it's her ticket to international adventure.
Jessie, the Golden Panther Jessie stands as a proud FIU "Golden Panther" before her graduation, while her family gathers with her shortly after the degree is conferred. Jessie's family is there for her

In between celebrations, back at the ranch, er hotel, we're takin' it easy, relaxing at the HOJO by the ocean in Deerfield Beach. Below left is the hotel, while on the right is the view from our room balcony.
Howard Johnson Hotel of Deerfield Beach Room with a view
And how hot was it? Well, when we got off the plane in Ft. Lauderdale, we felt like someone laid a blanket on us. The humidity was not only a presence, but a pressure. However, it was ideal swimming and sunning weather for the first couple of days. Here is a view down the street lining the beach, and of Cherie on the fishing pier running into the ocean by the hotel.
Beach conditions A view of the one-lane street that lined the beach and ran in front of the hotel.

Phil's the one on the railing, carefully watching the beach for fish and damsels in distress. The damsel above took a walk along the pier to check out the action with the fishermens' rods.
Not good?
When I asked this gentleman what kind of fish he'd caught, his only comment (and I suspect his only English) was "not good." Then he pointed to the rows of sharp teeth lining the fish's jaws and the location of the hook clear down at the end of those jaws. No wonder it was "not good."
Left for dead, this small fish was drying out on the pier, ignored by even the pelicans. Poor thing was left high and dry.
High and dry
Life's a croc Life may be a croc in Florida, but in the Everglades, life is lived in 'gat'ed communities. We flew in from Atlanta and travelled over miles and miles and miles of inland grassy water. 'Twas an awesome sight, only reclaimed by solid land as we made final approach to Fort Lauderdale. Even this "solid" land was laced with canals and pock with lakes and ponds. Southern Florida is but a cresent of civilization living on the edge of a vast, grassy, fresh-water, alligator and 'squito inhabited wilderness.

"I don't wanna go," was Cherie's reaction to a fan boat ride. But Captain Rick put petal to the metal, skimming over the water and grass to take us out to alligator country and found a half-dozen of the predators lying in wait in the tall grasses of the 'glades. Captain Rick won her over -- by the time the ride was done, Cherie exclaimed "Boy, I'm glad we did that. It was fun."
Life as a log Anybody want to take off their shoes and go for a walk in the 3-foot deep water? Keepin' an eye out for you
Sunrise Over the Atlantic

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