Doing Dania Right

One of my favorite things to do on layovers is to go explore the area. Sometimes, this leads to crazy shenanigans of me getting lost with my crew…like the time it happened in Fort Lauderdale. But this always leads me to understand the area and make some successful trips where I don’t get lost.

After being cramped at home during lockdowns and then the big freeze that gripped Texas, my wife and I absolutely had to get to a beach. 

I mean, she was actually dying. I had been able to spend a lot of time in Florida for work, so it wasn’t too bad for me. My poor wife was bordering on burnout being stuck though. 

That means we had to make a trip out to the Fort Lauderdale area to visit a few beaches and just relax.

Easily the best thing about being a flight attendant is that we get free flights if we’re willing to do the standby list. That means, if there are open seats on the flight, we get to get on for free because I’m an employee. 

The best trick when flying standby is to know the area you’re flying and choose destinations where it’s typically easy to get on the flight. That is the case when going to Fort Lauderdale. The second tip, this can go for just any time you fly, get there early in the day; at least 2-hours before the flight. If you sit on standby for an early flight, you will likely make it on because people don’t like to wake up early.

The Best Breakfast

Walking to the restaurant.

As with all great days, and poor planning adventures, we didn’t have a hotel to start out. 

Literally, we landed and booked a hotel after we landed in Fort Lauderdale. 

There’s a great new area about 15-20 minutes from the airport called Dania Pointe. It used to be undeveloped nothingness, but within the past year, it has really blown up. Now there is a really cool little shopping center, a bunch of restaurants, and now a bowling alley. 

The bowling alley wasn’t open last time I went, but it is currently open. That means I didn’t get the joy of going bowling when my wife and I were there.

Luckily, we went right when things in Texas were opening back up again, so we felt comfortable traveling as long as we wore masks and sanitized pretty much all our stuff all the time.

When we got to the hotel, it was too early for us to check-in, but they offered to hold our bags in the back office while we went out and did some stuff to kill time.

The number one thing we absolutely had to do was get breakfast. Luckily, there was a place called First Watch that was just a short walk from the hotel. 

First Watch is all about having a lighter, healthier meal. That means they didn’t have any alcohol and most of their food was some sort of light breakfast food. They had a ton of different options for teas and fruit juices, but it didn’t mean they got rid of my favorite dirty water: Coffee.

The cool thing about the coffee is that they make the pot fresh for each table. When they do this, they bring the cup and some warm honey to mix in before the actual coffee comes out. You can also get creamer here too, but I prefer my coffee black or with honey so I opted out of the cream.

My wife and I just sat chit-chatting and having a great time when the coffee cup and honey came out. The cup was a normal white diner coffee cup, but the honey came in a pretty glass bottle that had a metal pour spout on top to make it look all fancy. 

I’m a super genius and thought the honey was actually the coffee and it was a really light roast, so I started filling my cup!

My coffee seemed oddly thick, so I touched it with my finger and tasted it to realize it was actually honey.

I had to swallow my pride and tell my waiter I needed a new cup real bad because I’m an idiot. Basically, we are never allowed at this location again. This is a real travesty since we stay so close there on my layovers for work.

Escaping a Jellyfish at Dania Beach

Water washing onto the Dania Beach shore.

After we got our breakfast, we were able to check-in at the hotel. 

We got very lucky too because we went back there to change clothes and then put our bags back in the back office, but I think they were kind of annoyed with us doing that and just gave us a room instead. 

Regardless, it worked out and we got changed to go to the beach. 

The misses wanted to go to a touristy beach, so we headed off to Hollywood beach. It was pretty cool too. 

We had a great time walking up and down the beach, exploring the boardwalk, and eating ice cream like adults over the age of 21 are supposed to. We even did some goofy social media photoshoots and made “trendy” TikToks. 

But after a couple of hours, we got annoyed at how crowded and busy the beach was, so we headed to Dania Beach. It’s just a little more north than Hollywood and Miami Beaches. It’s also considerably smaller and less crazy.

We headed there to get some serious relaxing done. 

At Dania, we got to see something pretty cool. Well, pretty cool for a strange nerd like me: We saw Salps! 

Salps a relatively new phenomenon happening on the East Coast. Essentially, they’re clear gelatinous sea creatures. They eat algae clumps and reproduce asexually and rapidly. Eating the algae actually helps fight the climate change issue currently happening. So, they’re weird but good. 

Salps are also really hard to spot while in the water and are completely harmless to humans. But they kind of look like jellyfish, so that could be an issue. Especially, when you are somewhere there actually are jellyfish, like the Florida beaches.

While we were near the shore just goofing off, a cannonball jellyfish just swam up next to us. 

Here’s how this interaction went:

“Josh, watch this.” My wife said, beginning to do something really goofy involving some TikTok dance we have been making fun of for the past couple of days. But since we were in the water, her big finish was going to be like a silly belly flop dive thing. As she’s about to jump, I see a cannonball jellyfish, almost totally clear except for the dark outer edge. So, I grab her wrist and throw her closer to the beach, and pretty much yell, “Watch out there’s a jellyfish!” Then I keep pushing her forward as we get out of the water. 

I guess what I’m saying is that I have super strength and can throw a person by their wrist. 

In all seriousness, it’s important to remain vigilant, even when you’re having fun. Also my wife is kind of small and I’m kind of large. I played football all through high school, did powerlifting and went to state, then focused on simply being healthy after that. I was not good enough to actually play in college.

Also, we’ll ignore the fact that water makes it a lot easier to move things.

Regardless, we escaped near death for sure (it actually probably would have just hurt some, not death).

We took this, and the fact we were absolutely dying of hunger and were extremely tired from the activities, as our cue to wrap up for the day. 

It worked out anyway because we decided to take the early flight (remember I’m a flight attendant and can just switch flights on the fly like this if I want) to get back home. 

In all seriousness, we just missed our cats.

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