I have a confession to make…My name is Ray-Lee and I am a groupon groupie.
Last weekend, Groupon offered a 2 for 1 deal on one of those Riverfront cruises in Fort Lauderdale. This is one of those activities you’d want to do when you see an ad, but could never remember when it’s time to think of something to do. Anyway, it was lazy Saturday afternoon and my husband and I ventured to see as advertised “The Venice of America”.
Sidenote: I thought Williams Island in Aventura marketed themselves as “The Venice of America” but we discovered there is more than one.
It was balmy south Florida weather, yet the light breeze from being on water was welcomed. With beverages in hand we headed for the upperdeck to enjoy the waterways of Fort Lauderdale. The main highlight of these cruises is to show you how the rich and sometimes famous lives (their homes, yachts etc). As we cruised along we saw mansions after mansions which we were told by our tour guide were unoccupied most of the year by their owners because these were just “vacation homes”. The price tags for some of these waterfront estates were well pass the $50M dollars mark. The yachts compete in prices with the homes. Some yachts were grandiose enough to even have their own helicopters. Yeah I said helicopter! And another can be rented for a mere $1M per week (this includes a staff of 25)
Sidenote: I didn’t take pictures because I think it’s intrusive to take pictures of other people’s personal property and post on line without their permission. I was also experiencing a kind of emotion that I will explain in the next paragraph.
Anyway, at the end of the evening, my husband asked me if I could see myself living in one of these homes. To which I surprised myself by replying no. I went on to explain that I thought some of the properties were a vulgar display of wealth and I would be embarrassed. I don’t mean this in a judgmental way; after all I have worked on a few opulent homes over the years and took great pleasure and satisfaction in decorating them. But this was different, it almost like a competition of who could be more flagrantly ostentatious. One, after the other, after the other, and the further you went from land, the bigger and more outlandish they were. I felt like a voyeur and my sensibilities were being unexpectedly flashed.
The thing is the majority of Americans will never ever see this kind wealth in their lifetime, and this reality may even far exceed their imaginations; the ones who either have a craft to cruise the channels of South Florida or pay a company like we did (way cheaper) only saw a glimpse. But I discovered something about myself after that tour; I am much more understated than I thought. The truth is, no matter how much wealth I amass I could never be so showy. Does that make me miserly?