09 August 2004

Fort Lauderdale - Part I

Friday night I was due to hook up with a few people from work at a place called the Baja Beach Club. Here was the invite I received:

Baja Beach Club, Riverfront. Upstairs, just past the movie theater. 3 for 1 from 6-10, with full dinner buffet. Come on out, and bring anyone you can.

I hadn't been to Fort Lauderdale yet, but this sounded as good an excuse as any to go. Because I was uber prepared, I decided to do a quick internet search to find out where this place was, just in case. No problemo, I had an address and I said I'd try to arrive at around 8pm.

I headed out after work but could not for the life of me find this damn place. I spent a good 2 hours driving around Fort Lauderdale, in what seemed like peak-hour traffic, to no avail. The address I got off the internet was just plain wrong. Shit. What was I to do? I was down and depressed. Luckily I found a Krispy Kreme store and I bought a few donuts from there. Mmmmm, sacrilicious. I never thought that food could pick me up so well. I asked the guy who served me whereabouts the Baja beach club was. His directions sounded ok, but after another 1/2 hour of driving around I decided to cut my losses and head back home. Five minutes into my journey home one of my Aussie mates called and so I went to pick him up and, feeling reinvigorated, we headed back to Fort Lauderdale. I couldn't believe it, I found the place and there was no way in hell I would have found it by driving around. Of course I found it 4 hours later than anticpated. Oh well.

There were stacks and stacks of people everywhere. It is at this point in the story I'd like to say something to all those people who, once I told them I was going to Florida, said: "Isn't that where old people go to retire?" Ummm, yeah. You've been watching too much Seinfeld. Take the clientele of the Savvy bar in good ol' Adelaide. Multiply that by, ooh, 50. Empty them on the streets of Fort Lauderdale. Got the picture?

Actually truth be known, the Baja Club is very much like the New York Bar and Grill in Adelaide. Think popular RnB music with a smattering of dance music and there you go. It probably would've been a lot better earlier on but I wasn't going to hang around much longer. A couple of the other clubs we went to were like those in Adelaide. There were slight differences, but not enough to invoke a "wow!" Actually, the biggest difference I found was in the toilets - there are guys who wait next to the hand basin who offer to wash your hands for you, for a tip of course. Yeah, right! I couldn't believe it. I said "no thanks" and proceeded to wash my hands myself like I have for most of my life. Because I felt like being a bit cheeky, I washed my hands again. I can't believe there are people who would hang around in the Men's toilets (of all places) all night for tips!

It was about 3:30am that I was in this club with my mate and he said that he was going to the toilet. He didn't come back for ages. I went looking for him and saw him standing outside - I tried calling out to him to ask what the hell he was doing but he couldn't see nor hear me so I headed outside. What I saw was both funny and shocking at the same time - some guy had punched him in the face. He couldn't remember exactly what provoked the attack apart from him accidentally bumping into some guy, but he had a nice black eye brewing. He was very drunk too so I decided to call it quits for my Friday night out and drop him home.

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