Best Escape From Reality (2010)

Broward County

You smell Broward before you reach it — a whiff of brine and ambition. Broward, at least the southern bit, feels unsettled. At a certain famous Hollywood restaurant, you can maow a world-class seafood sammich or cheeseburger while sitting on a piece of unpolished driftwood and watching cockroaches scuttle up nearby trees. In Dania, a town constructed of decommissioned buoys and hammocks, you can eat Florida's most decadent ice-cream sundaes in a place that hasn't changed its décor since about 1890. (Situated in such an atavistic town, it doesn't seem retro at all.) Downtown Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale look like the products of a young architect's unwarranted grandiosity, adolescent stabs at urbanity in places that never needed any — sort of an American's answer to Dubai. For these reasons, and many more, Broward is a step backward in time — to the days when pioneers roamed the swamps; when plastic surgery was a novelty and not a rite of passage; when life was slow, and when it wasn't slow, it was lawless; and when you weren't looked at like a crazy person for speaking English.


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