The boat show

January 4, 2012
By , ocala, FL
More often than not, I have no time to spend with my father. It has become a serious custom to just get home and expect him to do the same at around eight o’ clock when he is released from work. At that point, we rarely get to do anything besides eat dinner and it isn’t hard to determine that we don't exactly reach that quality father-son bonding quota in very often. Now of course we have a small margin on time on weekends when he isn’t working and when i’m not hanging out with friends to spend some time together, but that really isn’t enough. Now, these little events that we usually make a priority to attend together don’t in any way make up for the time we missed, but they certainly help! On this specific occasion, we had made a plan to drive to Ft. Lauderdale for the world famous mega yacht show and needless to say we were both ecstatic, who wouldn’t be? After all, everyone can find some way to marvel in the creations of today’s engineers and skilled architects. We had been making the trip every year for the past 3 years and it had always ended up being a wonderful experience in the past.

The morning of, I woke a little late and I had to speedily cram anything i saw fit for the journey into my black leather travel bag. Tooth brush, clean clothes, sunglasses, all the essentials. With two swift motions of the feet onto my black flip-flops, a dash out the door and into the passenger's seat of the car, we were almost off. Just before my dad put the car into drive he realized he had forgotten the sunscreen, thank heavens he went back, if not we would probably have ended up looking like a couple of red lobsters by the return trip. Now, after some slight inconveniences, we were beginning out trip to the Ft. Lauderdale harbor. I pulled out the guide book that we got from the last trip which we never removed from the glove box and it said the trip would probably take an estimated 4 hours or so. I really wish that I was one of those people who could sleep in the car on road trips, but sadly i can’t. Way too much bumps and shaking to even come close to nodding off. I really envy my little sister who practically passes out by the time we pass the first stop sign.

Last year all I can remember about the show is that there was a ton of walking! Literally miles and miles of yachts were lined up against the huge harbor docking system. Not to mention the multiple convention centers positioned all around the surrounding area filled with exotic cars. I could only hope that his year’s event would come close.

Plenty of interstate driving and fast food snack stops were scattered along the way. We stopped for gas and my dad was observably tired of the long driving, so he let me do so. We exited onto a few turnpikes and finally arrived in Ft. Lauderdale. We weren’t exactly sure about how to get to the show so we basically just ended up driving around in circles following the huge banners advertising it. Finally we got to a parking garage where we could take a ferry down the bank to the show. I have to say, the parking was really steep, almost 20 dollars for a day!

Right as we stepped onto the ferry with some other eager people the weather took a turn for the worst. It started to sprinkle lightly and we were afraid it would be pouring down rain all day but thankfully, it subsided just in time for us to exit the vessel. As we entered the welcoming tent we saw tons of wealthy sailors and boat enthusiasts with mounds of empty glasses which previously contained fine liquors. The scent of salt didn’t actually hit me until I stepped foot out onto the first landing dock which was surrounded by a huge amount of white yachts towering above me. There were so many, in fact, that I could not even see the horizon or any surrounding waterfront properties.

I can’t really describe the feeling that I had, but it just seemed like there was a very relaxed and cheerful vibe in the air. I think that whenever you are surrounded by things of luxury and people who are seemingly intelligent and of great taste. Everyone was doused in delightful fragrances and had perfectly pressed suits which sat underneath their perfectly quaffed hair. Some day I hope to be part of their group. With such a feeling of bliss, I paced at a slow speed down the isles of the dock labyrinth admiring all the works of art from a close distance. We actually scheduled a tour of our favorite boat and we got to see every part of it. It was magnificent and I really have nothing bad to say about it. We explored every section and reviewed every boat no matter what the size. Although it became rather tedious to review ship after ship, there was some relief. In-between the monsters there were tents erected to provide an escape. Inside were a ton of clothing vendors and boat accessory vendors that had hands-on demos for all of their products. There was even an exhibit outside behind the tent where a man was trying out a water jet-pack and hovering 30 feet above the water and being propelled by two engine jets. It looked like a great time and i would have loved to try it, had the line not been hundreds of people long.

That was enough for one day. My feet were aching and I was truly exhausted and in need of a big meal. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy myself, because i most certainly did. The day was over and it was simply time to leave. We were so happy to see the ferry make connection with the docks and we boarded immediately. Our party of two rendezvoused at the car inside the pricy parking garage and got ready to find a hotel for the night; it was much too late for a drive home.

Apparently whilst me and my dad only caught wind of a small shower right as we were entering the show there was also a huge thunderstorm that had been pouring gallons and gallons of water all over the Ft. Lauderdale city. Many roads were blocked and there were multiple detours so needless to say it was very difficult to find our hotel. Nearly an hour went by before we finally stumbled upon the Best Western resort and the location was in our favor because right across the street was a pizza hut! We got a plethora of saucy cheese drenched goodness and basically drifted off to sleep immediately after we were finished eating. It was time for some much needed recuperation.

The following morning, We awoke completely refreshed and ready for the long drive home. Reflecting on our trip, I can say without a doubt that I was glad I came along, no regrets there. Hopefully this can be a father- son tradition for many years to come because it has such power and potential to bring a family together. About three-hundred miles of interstate later, we were nearly back home. I gazed out of the passenger window at my town and felt completely contempt. I started to think about something interesting, about what my relationship will be like with my son or daughter one day, and a thought popped into my mind. Perhaps, one day this will be a tradition between them and I one day, maybe this will be a tool I can use to keep our relationship strong, because after all, at the end of the day family is definitely the most important thing in life, and I intend to keep mine stronger than ever.

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