I left off with arriving in Hollywood, Fla., to stay at the Ocean Inn, a funky place along the Intracoastal (which is a waterway) and about one block from the beach. The owner was a young Russian in her early 20s; long blond hair with a delightful accent to whom, I learned later, her parents gave this hotel as an investment. Russian money has been pouring into south Florida for some time and now they’re buying up places in south Broward County, my old haunt. We met an old friend, Julie Kay, who look us to this delightful Italian bistro and then for lunch the next day we ended up at Le Tub, a world class hamburger joint that Oprah and others have patronized. Amazing what you find in Hollywood these days; the place used to be the dreggy no-man’s land between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, so it’s come up in the 30 years since I lived there.
After that, we repaired to a city beach off Johnson Street and relaxed away the afternoon until we had to climb into the rental car and take off for West Palm Beach where we were to stay a few nights with Debbie Maken and her family. She showed us some lovely gardens in the city that I had not seen yet and of course we had to drive by the homes of some of the rich and famous plus visit The Breakers and of course Worth Avenue. Such lovely things for sale – problem is that most of the womens clothing was of silk and from sad experience, I’ve learned that silk is not the best investment for hot weather, saris notwithstanding. But it was nice to look. Worth Avenue is one of the last places in America where people actually dress up to go shopping and we saw lots of people all decked out in gorgeous clothes.
One thing I could not get over were the folks who had their poodles (and other small dogs) in *strollers* out to take the air, I suppose. Never saw any of those dogs jump down and take a piddle. Still could not resist taking one picture of ladies with their dogs.It was nice for Veeka to be with Debbie’s girls – finally someone her age – to play with and the following day, we were up in North Palm Beach sunning ourselves and making sand angels. My foot was still bound up in a cast so I could not go swimming, but Veeka was happy to splash about in the surf. The next morning, we went on an egg hunt at the Maken’s church, and then we were off back to Orlando to catch our plane. One thing we were able to do before we left is have lunch with another old friend and former roommate: Cheri duMee, who I’d not seen in a decade. We are both employed now by Baptist colleges, as she works at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Strange how things turn out.
Easter itself was low-key. We went to church, then had a quiet day at home. A few things I got to do during vacation was watch “Avatar,” a movie I’d never seen. Now I know why there was so much ferment about the movie four years ago in blogs such as this one. I just loved the beauty of the landscapes and the music so I didn’t get too upset about the pagan underpinnings because I felt that whoever makes the movie gets to spin the world view. There’s nothing stopping the evangelical Christian world from making something just as good from C.S. Lewis’ “Perelandra” space trilogy or Mary Doria Russell’s “The Sparrow” and “Children of God.” I also got to read Mark Joseph’s The Lion, The Professor and the Movies, about the making of the three Narnia movies and the mis-steps made by the films’ makers. Kind of sad now that Walden has lost the Narnia franchise and the chance of getting the other four Narnia movies made at this point is close to zero.
And I read William Dalrymple’s From the Holy Mountain, an account of how Christians are vanishing from the Middle East and a history of what Byzantium was like from 300-600 AD. I never knew that Palestine back then was honeycombed with monks’ caves and how overwhelmingly Christian lands like Turkey, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt were back then. And how persecution by Muslims and (in Israel) Jews are emptying these lands now. It was a lot more enjoyable than the History Channel’s “The Bible” series that I just finished watching tonight. It felt very low budget to me and I wished they had ended the last part with a breathtaking vision of Revelation rather than John simply watching Jesus vanish into the horizon.