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June 21, 2004 

My first weekend alone is pretty much over, and has been mostly a success. Yesterday I went down to the beach (Dania Beach, the nearest to the hotel) and swam and lazed for an hour or so. I went back to the hotel, had a shower, and headed out to find Sawgrass Mills, a huge mall about 30 minutes from here. I succeeded. I also managed to buy a pair of trousers from, of all places, Gap. Other than that, and the bizarre stall selling live crabs with painted shells, Sawgrass Mills was pretty unexciting. Just a bunch of shops in one place. I also discovered that the USA is somewhat behind the UK, Ireland and Australia in mobile phone technology. As far as I can gather, only T Mobile do sim only packages, and then only for $80. So please, please, don't call my mobile - it'll cost me a fortune and there's nothing I can do about it.

After the shopping expedition (and lunch - mental note. Cheddar cheese over here is not cheddar cheese. It may come out of a tube. Never order it again!) I was heading back towards the car when I walked past a beauticians. I popped in to find out how much a manicure was, and when it turned out to be $8 I couldn't say no. I'm pretty impressed with the results, and might keep this up - don't fall over in surprise please!

The remainder of the afternoon was spent lazing around the pool, then I decided to go to the local cinema. I went to see The Day After Tomorrow, which I'd wanted to see for a while. I enjoyed it - a typical summer film, with a moral. Easy watching, generally. However,what I didn't enjoy was the experience. I don't know if it's the gallon drinks they sell, but not a single person in the cinema stayed in their seats for the whole film. In fact, one couple memorably left after 20 minutes and only came back 30 minutes from the end. Most people left 5 minutes before the film finished, like being at a Middlesbrough match in the 97-98 season. Still, it killed an evening.

Today I set off to go to the Collier Seminole National Park. After about 2 and a half hours driving I got there. As soon as I got out of the car, despite the previously applied mozzy repellent, I became dinner for the entire mosquito population of the Everglades. I promptly turned round, headed for Naples and went to the beach. The Everglades will have to wait. Possibly for a very very long time.

After a swim, some sun, some food (grouper, which is apparantly a fish, and very nice too) I headed back over to the hotel, arriving in time to spend the evening scratching my bites and removing salt and DEET from my hair. And after all that, I didn't even get to see Gentle Ben.