Ft. LauderdalebyTravel Girl©
A big part of my job requires me to travel all over the world. Some of these trips cover many cities over a short time and I have to switch hotels every couple of nights and sometimes I don't even unpack. For a typical two week trip, perhaps there are a couple of nights free and maybe a day off or a nice layover, overall quite hectic. On the other hand, some of my travel destinations are quite a pleasure. I really enjoy some European cities, Australia and Hawaii are wonderful, but my most common fun destination on business travel is South Florida.
I was attending a conference for a week in Fort Lauderdale. I have gone to this same conference for over 12 years and during these years I have learned the area reasonably well and knew various places and different things to do. Some of the clubs and hotels in South Beach are fantastic, but traffic can be a problem and I don't always have enough time. I experienced my first nude beach several years back on one of these trips and I still try and get back to Haulover Beach when I have time. I know which restaurants are good whether it is fancy or casual, sitting out on the inter-coastal waterway or looking at the ocean. You would have the correct impression to say I look forward to this trip each year.
There are usually about 500 people who attend the conference, back up after a big drop-off in international visitors after 9-11. I was to make my presentation on Tuesday morning, so I was a little nervous and in "work mode" until it was over. I had some invitations for lunch and dinner and also golf. I planned to skip out in the afternoons to get in some beach time as well, but usually I take things as they come.
I am pretty with blond hair and green eyes and in good shape from running. I have a lean 115 pound build on my 5'7" frame. My athletic 34C -22-34 build tends to emphasize my natural breasts. I am 34 years old but look in my mid-20's, a scientist by education and profession. I won't identify the type of technology as within this field I am somewhat well known.
I have posted a few stories on this site, all true by the way with the exception of real names, but only knowing me from the stories might give that impression of wanton sexual behavior. Actually I tend to be somewhat conservative, usually limited to monogamous relationships. I think part of the basis for these stories is that I do tend to loosen up being away from home when people do not know me; something like "scientist gone wild."
The conference occurring during the Spring Break season is not without pitfalls - some of the places can be over run by kids. It pains me to write this as perhaps when I first started to attend this conference I might have been considered a kid myself.
Over the many years of coming down here, I have also changed. When I first came, I look back and think I was naïve, or at very least inexperienced. On a couple of the trips, I have come down with boyfriends, but most of the time I have been on my own or with coworkers. I have met some long lasting friends in this business that I have known my entire career and other times I have met people at the conference who never came back in following years.
This year I was down alone. I was seeing a couple of guys at the time, but I was a little disenchanted. I had been very serious with one of them in the past, but we had many on-again off-again periods. One of the big problems was he had a lot of problems with my business travel and with my job in general. I think he dreamed of a stay at home wife who would cook and clean, but that was not my dream.
I was looking forward to the week away. The weather was glorious in Ft. Lauderdale; while back home it was still cold. Another reason I was looking forward to the trip was purely business, as my presentation this year would be unusually powerful as we had some legitimate breakthroughs in the lab.
My flight arrived late on Sunday night to the Ft. Lauderdale airport. There was a little wait for my bags and then to get to my rental car. But when I got to my car and started driving with all the windows down and the breeze flowing in my hair, I was glad the trip was just beginning. My hotel was a good one, not where everyone from the conference was staying. I have learned my lesson on that account. Some of the scientists live and breathe work all the time and while there are times for that, I also look forward to some relaxation too and wanted to avoid some technical discussion while I was trying to leave to get in a round of golf.
I end up packing a lot. I am representing my company, so I have to present a degree of professionalism and I bring a couple of business suits. I like to run, play golf, go to the beach, etc, but I also enjoy going out for drinks and nightlife activities so I have to pack a wide range of clothing. After checking in, it was pretty late but I took a stroll along the beach and to watch some of the people strolling along the shops and bars. That late at night it was a cool with the breeze blowing, so I put on some jeans and a white rather clingy tank top which gave a nice look to my boobs .
I stopped in for a drink at one of the famous beach bars called the Elbo Room. It was a totally spring break crowd, but they had live music and I just wanted to have a beer and go to sleep since I had to start early in the next day. It was crowded, but I was able to find a seat at the bar and listen to some decent rock and roll music.
I am 34 but looking younger I fit in pretty well. A couple of drunken guys offered to buy me a drink, but I did not really want to strike up too much of a conversation. I don't try to be rude to the guys who come up to talk, so I have found the best way usually is to make something up – I am just waiting on my boyfriend or something like that if I am not interested. I had promised myself just one drink and then I headed back to my hotel to get some sleep.
Monday morning at the conference was a lot of hustle and bustle. I wore a tan skirt and a light blue blouse. Not exactly the librarian look I would wear for my Tuesday presentation, more resort wear fitting to the temperature. I was glad to be able to wear open toe shoes again. The main presentations began in the afternoon session followed by a cocktail reception in the evening. The conference had been going as expected; I had made some good contacts on the first day, met some old friends and gotten up to speed with what some of my competitors were doing. I did not have to attend every minute of the all week conference, but the first two days required my attendance and then some selected talks the rest of the week.
The social event is a big deal for contacts and setting up the rest of the week's commitments. It had been prearranged to have dinner with one of my big suppliers that night. This is their chance to have my undivided attention. At least they had some brains about it. Each year they select a good restaurant and order good wines. As time passes, I find myself more and more of a wine lover, especially when the company or someone else is footing the bill for an expensive bottle or two. The people from the supplier were also decent folks and I typically enjoy the dinner. I would call it obligatory since I end up having to negotiate some matters and report back to my bosses how it went.
It was about 11 pm when they got me back to my hotel. I had to speak in the morning, so it was too late to go out somewhere but too early to be in for the night. The benefit of this hotel was a very nice bar-restaurant, so I thought I had some time to kill before knocking off.
I guess the best way to describe the bar as "casual elegant". Men were not wearing ties, but no one was wearing jeans. There were some couples, many were finishing a late supper. I would say the bar was perhaps half full, so I had no trouble finding a seat at the bar I was looking at the drink menu trying to decide what I wanted. I thought to stick with wine, but the wines by the glass were not as good as the bottles.
I decided champagne was a better choice. I really love champagne in general, but I have developed a preference for rose' champagne lately. I saw they had a couple of nice ones by the bottle, but not by the glass. I was trying to negotiate with the bartender if he would sell one by the glass, but he would not budge.
The guy next to me was apparently enjoying my negotiation. "Nice try. If I got a bottle, would you consider joining me and my friend?"
I should describe the guy who made the offer. I would say he was in his late 50's. He looked very distinguished with salt and pepper combed back hair. He was very nicely dressed – a blue blazer with tan slacks and a blue and white open collared dress shirt. He was well tanned; a very nice looking man. His friend was about the same age, also nicely dressed but somewhat overweight and balding. Both of them had been sitting at the bar when I sat down, but I had not really paid too much attention before.
"No thanks, I had not really intended to drink more than a glass. I have to get up early tomorrow." It was a bit of an exaggeration, but not too bad.
He replied, "Well I tell you what, we're going to get one anyway. You are still welcome to have one."
With that he waved the bartender over. "Tommy, we'll have a Veuve Cliquot rose'."
"Very good Mr. Miller." I guess he was a regular.
I told him, "OK, you're on, but only if you let me pay."
His friend started laughing out loud. "Ouch David. Do you need an ambulance?"
He laughed at that, "You are killing me. If I let you pay me for the drink, my friend will never let me hear the end of it and I will never be able to show my face in here again. Are you sure you want to be responsible for that?"
I have to admit these guys did not look like they were hurting for money and his comeback was very smooth.
I laughed, "That may be one of the best lines I have ever heard, but I don't want to be the cause of you having to leave, so OK, thank you."
He said, "I'm David and this is my friend Walt."
We shook hands, "I'm Beth, nice to meet you."
The bartender had brought out the bottle and glasses by then. When we finally had our little toast, I had felt it had all been worth it, the champagne was marvelous.
"To the good life. La dolce vita."
It was only polite to have a conversation with them, but I soon enjoyed the dialog. Walt was mainly quiet, watching and listening, but David and I were chatting and soon on a variety of subjects. He was interested in the subject of the conference and asked a lot of good questions. I realized he was actually listening to my answers and then grasping some of the important issues quicker than some of the people at the conference.
They both lived in South Florida. Walt was from Boca Raton and David lived nearby in Ft. Lauderdale. David had retired after selling a business he had founded.
Despite being 20+ years my senior, we were having a very engaging discussion as we drank the wonderful champagne. He looked to be fit and I would say he was charming. He reminded me a little of the actor James Brolin, although not as tall. I liked that he had not lost his hair; I did not really mind he was turning gray. He looked distinguished.
Walt had to drive back to Boca Raton and he did not want to drink anymore, so when David saw my glass was empty, he refilled it.
"Thank you, but I said I only wanted one."
"Well, I am not going to drink the rest myself since Walt is through."
"OK, but this one and I have to go. I have got to work in the morning."
Walt shook my hand as he went on his way; I thought I saw him give David one of those 'go for it' looks.
I am no longer naïve about such things. In the past, I had not known what a "trophy wife" was, but I knew now. I always wondered about the psychology of both involved parties. I felt the men were pathetic. Did they really think that a 60 year old man walking around with a much younger woman was impressing people? Did they think people thought the woman actually loved the man and was not in it for the money? What about the girl? Did she care what people thought? For both people, I guess if they go in with eyes wide open, then who am I to judge. My comment is mainly it did not appeal to me.
It is with that context however, that I wondered whether David was trying to hit on me or was just being polite. I mean, why does offering someone a drink have to mean more? The bottom line is that you never know what is going through someone else's mind and why is it necessary to analyze everything so thoroughly? I tend to do that though, I guess that is just me.
We continued to talk. It really did not matter what was going through his mind if he had ulterior motives or not. Frankly, I was enjoying the discussion and the drink. Sometimes it is just enjoyable to converse with an intelligent person. Maybe that comes with maturity, but none of the dialog from either of us seemed forced. I think he was a little disappointed when I finished my glass and announced I had to leave.
"It wasn't a line, I have to give my talk in the morning and I need to get some sleep. But I really do appreciate the champagne, and I enjoyed talking to you."
That was not intended to sound like a line, because I sincerely meant every word of it.
He must have taken that as an opening, "I enjoyed it also. I was wondering if you would be free for dinner sometime while you are here."
I replied honestly, "I cannot tomorrow as I already have commitments in the evening. I also cannot say what the rest of the week will hold as I have to see how the conference shapes up."
He took that in probably the only way he could, as to any bystander it looked like he had just been shot down.
I looked at him with sympathy, "I tell you what though, I will probably end up back here tomorrow night late. If you want, I will buy you a drink."
My last comment lightened things up a little, "Oh, you are still trying to make it impossible for me to drink here."
We both laughed at that.
"David, very nice to meet you. I hope to run into you again."
"Likewise Beth, very charming."
We shook hands and I was on my way. I had probably drank more than I intended the night before my talk, but not too bad. I fell asleep before my head hit the pillow and I slept through until the alarm went off.
I awoke quickly and started to think about my talk. I am a good public speaker. My material was good too, so even though I was nervous, I knew it was normal and as usual it went away about 10 seconds into my talk. I don't go off notes and I never read my presentation. It is best for me to look at people when I am talking to them and I have been told on many occasions that I am a good communicator.
I wore a black skirt and jacket with a white blouse and wore my hair up. A very professional power suit look, keeping with my eventual goal to be Senator or President. Don't laugh, if Hillary can give it a shot, maybe someone without the baggage can do it.
In the coffee break after my talk, I was approached by at least 30 people who wanted to say hello or congratulate me, or those who wanted to sell me something or potentially work together. I dutifully collected the business cards and took a note or two for follow-up. I was relieved the talk was over, but also elated it had gone well.
I sat through the rest of the morning talks, but when the lunch break came up, it was almost a yahoo moment as I could take the afternoon session off. I had dinner plans with people for 8 pm, but with the weather being so nice, I was hoping to get out to the beach.
I have said in my stories that I am conservative sexually and that is true. I will almost never sleep with someone on the first few dates, especially if I think it is someone I could end up liking. In the same way, my family and friends would be shocked to learn I like nude beaches. Haulover in Miami was the first place I had ever gone and was still the most common nude beach for me. I had first gone with a couple maybe 8 years previously and after getting over the original anxiety, I really loved going back. In those 8 years since my first time, I had probably only been to nude beaches totally around 25 times in places like Hawaii, Australia and Europe, but over half of the visits were to Haulover.
It took about 30 minutes to drive there. On a nice day like this one, Haulover has maybe 300 to 600 people. There is a "gay section", what I call a "hardcore nudist section" with volleyball, petitions supporting nudist causes, body painting, etc. Maybe hardcore nudist is too strong, but for many it seems like nudity becomes a primary goal in life.
Every time I go to a nude beach, even when no one else is around, I still get nervous at the beginning when I strip down. Over the years it has become easier, but I still want to hide for a minute at first. It is not that I mind being looked at, I am proud of my body, maybe it is the idea of being "on stage with everyone looking." In the same way I don't mind if people look at me, I will freely admit that I love to people watch in general and also at nude beaches. I like to check out the different body types of both men and women, and I hereby certify that I like to look at the good looking men.
It is a sexually stimulating environment, but does not have to lead to sex. This dichotomy is still a subject of some confusion, but finally I will just say it is a great pleasure for me to spend a day at Haulover. I am usually just lying out, but I will also walk along the shoreline to do some people watching. I always get a kick by wondering what the men at the conference who were always checking me out would think if they had any idea I was laying out nude.
The beach was great. I got a chance to close my eyes and relax and I also had a chance to check out the people. It is fun to watch all the various agenda's people have – whether it is enjoying the scenery, reading a book or listening to music, some sleep, and quite a few who seem to be trying to connect with people.
It is common for guys to hit on me and this day was no exception. I had a couple of offers to help with sun block, but both of the guys were just obnoxious about it. A tip for the guy readers; if they had been polite, I probably would have let them. A group of men and women were close by and I was talking to them for a little while. I had just brought some water, but they had a cooler and offered up a couple of beers. The group looked to be regulars – deep tans all around with no tan lines at all. Not the greatest bodies in the world, but they were friendly without being aggressive.
It got to be about 4 pm and I decided to head back. I wanted to have a run before dinner. Traffic was a little heavy at that time of the day but I made it back with plenty of time. Ft. Lauderdale is one of my favorite places to run, especially in the evening. I started out from my hotel right around dusk. People were still out on the beach, but the breeze was blowing and those that were still left were packing up and getting ready to leave. There were a lot of people out on the boardwalk, some people on rollerblades and more than a few runners like me. I was just wearing small shorts and a small shirt showing my stomach for running; some of the girls out running were just wearing bikini tops. Very revealing, but for me impossible. I am just a little too big up top for that.
I ran about 4 miles and by the time I got back to my hotel I was tired. I took a nice long shower and began getting ready for dinner. This was going to be another one of those business dinners I have gone on hundreds of times. I know the people who had invited me well. We were going out to a fancy steakhouse and I thought to just wear the suit I had on earlier, but the weather was warm and I opted instead to wear the classic little black dress I usually pack – never leave home without it! I was going to be out with three men who worked for one of the companies I deal with often.