Welcome To The Hotel Florida

So, which is it- California , Florida or Arizona? When a person gets to that point in life where he is thinking of spending less time in cold climes, he looks into where to buy that winter condo. Lots of serious thinking goes into that decision-making.

Come December, most Chicagoans would rather be anywhere else that has a temperature above 50 degrees, no evidence of snow and regular sunshine. As for me, I still have fifteen years left on the mortgage payoff so I guess I can deal with the winter blahs.

Then again, the only time I visited Florida, I was not so impressed. Back in 1975, in my early twenties, a buddy and I drove there. Actually, he did all the driving because it was his father’s car and he did not want me to touch the steering wheel. We went in late August as the motel prices were supposedly cheapest then. We found out why. It was unbearably hot.

Chicago can be hot and sticky during July and August as well, but Florida has a sneaky type of heat because you don’t feel the humidity. And you get that Caribbean blast. Not only that but staying on the beach-front in Miami, it can be quite sunny and dangerous to the skin and the next thing you know a rain shower comes down without any warning. No dark, ominous clouds. Then after a few minutes of getting drenched, it stops just as suddenly. You also have to worry about coconuts falling out of palm trees as you stroll down Collins Avenue. Who needs this?

I am told that during the winter it gets down into the high thirties at night and up to the mid sixties during the day. That’s nice but not enough to get me to pack my bags. I hear that they don’t know from heaters so the natives wear their clothes to bed at night.

What’s the big winter attraction in Florida- DisneyWorld in Orlando? My buddy and I went there just a couple of years after it opened so the Disney folk had not yet bought up a lot of the land near the theme park. We were able find a cheap efficiency apartment a mile or so from the amusement center and took in the place. In order to see an exhibit that took no more than ten minutes to view, we stood in line for an average of forty minutes. Try doing that six or seven times in one afternoon. Who needs this?

Not only that, but we were tortured with continuous playing on the sound system of that diminutive classic- “It’s a small, small world, after all”. That’s what they should have used on the prisoners of war at Guantanamo Bay to make them talk.

And another thing. Hurricane season in Florida is anytime it feels like it. A unit owner in my condo building up north also has a winter condo in Florida. He told me a couple of years ago that the condo association down there assessed each unit owner an extra twenty thousand dollars as their share in bringing the building up to hurricane-resistance code. Who needs this?

I’m done with my Florida bashing. I can’t speak much about Arizona other than the half hour I waited one winter day in the Phoenix airport while I changed planes. It did look sunny outside and I’m confident that there were no hela monsters or lizards crawling about the airport terminal. As for California, what’s an earthquake between friends?