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Palm Beach and the other side of the tracks

Back from a couple of days in Palm Beach, Florida to round off our summer holiday. An interesting place is Palm Beach, not to be confused with West Palm Beach. Both are in the same Florida county but are separated by an Intercoastal Waterway and three bridges.

On one side of the water multi, multi million dollar homes owned by a cast of rich people and shops with items in the window that don’t have a price tag (“if you need to ask the price, then you can’t afford it sir”), and on the other side a rather run down looking neighbourhood with more Dollar Stores and Pawn Shops than I think I have ever seen in one place.

The parts closest to the Waterway on the West Palm Beach side have been re-generated such as the City Place development but I wouldn’t have wanted to veer to far away into the other side of the tracks without the car doors locked. 

In saying that I did venture to a Mexican take-away place that came heavily recommended on t’internet called Lupita’s. The clientele was a little scary but I was met by a buxom latino lass behind the counter who gave me a warm smile and I got two bags of wonderful Mexican food back to the hotel unscathed and all for under $15.

Whilst on the subject of food, if you are ever in South Palm Beach, which is where we stayed I can heartily recommend a Thai/Japanese fusion place called Thaikyo. Wonderful, and in two nights we satisfied both our Thai and Mexican cravings, food that you can’t get on the island of Bermuda, edible anyway.

Two days then and two distinct different activities for our little ‘un. On Thursday we took the Duck Diva Amphibious Tour. I had done something very similar in London many years ago with my son and this followed the same pattern sat on the back on a dual transmission Ford F-350 pickup converted into a bus/boat. It was fun and it allowed us to stare into the windows of ridiculously opulent houses including that of Celine Dion’s Mum, which to be honest has always been an ambition of mine.  The Canadian French crooner bought it for her for Mother’s Day. Meanwhile Man U fans may be interested in seeing debt-ridden Malcolm Glazer’s house too (photo).

The next day we headed out to the country, drive 30 minutes and soon the small conservative towns, with Mitt Romney smiling down from billboards and gun shops sat next to churches gave way to marshy flat swamp land. We went to the Lion Country Safari, which is the state’s only drive through safari.

They bigged up the lions as it was only a very small part of what was to see. They were segregated but mostly the animals were free to wonder, although after seeing a whole cast of beautiful animals in their natural habitat in Costa Rica, it didn’t quite feel right.

However the zebras, impalas, llamas, wildebeests, chimpanzees and my favourites, the watusi’s all looked in good spirits. There was a mini-waterpark and an amusement park as well and we spent over 2.5 hours there so I thought $25 wasn’t bad value and kids under 3 were free.

I liked Palm Beach’s surrealistic lifestyle and there must be some good property deals around at the moment so I think we will head back at some time in the future! You never know Celine Dion’s Mum might invite us in for tea.

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