A colleague of mine and myself decided to drive to Sunrise, Florida, for some shopping as we arrived a day early at Palm Beach for a company event.
It was a real adventure of sorts. We drove some 40 miles on I-95, took what we thought was the right exit, and then got lost after driving another 20 miles ! Finally we found our way to Sawgrass Mills, which was our intended destination, strongly recommended by our hotel concierge.
Indeed it was a huge place. We just got tired walking all across and around the mall. And each major shop was so huge, in typical American style. We found a large number of shoppers, even though it was a Monday. And then realised that most people come for vacation to Florida, and they must be shopping !
This mall was what they call as an “outlet mall” in the U.S. – each major brand has a big presence and sells their stuff at deeply discounted prices. And the locations are way off downtown areas so it must cost them less to operate the place, I guess.
For $6.25, I had lunch at the Panda Express, a Chinese food stall at the massive food court. The portions were huge, and it was difficult to finish. My colleague could not find the right kind of food though – he kept experimenting with different types of food ! Well, everything was typical American size, so one has to be quite selective if one wishes something quite ordinary.
We did some shopping, but more walking. Each shop we entered was so huge, that we could cover only a portion of the store or immediately walk out to the next one of interest. I was surprised to note that electronics stores were not plentiful, a couple here and there, and most of the shops were clothing brands, or jewellery shops, or toy shops. In any case, it was an interesting place. I recommend shoes, suiting, clothing of all types, toys, DVDs/CDs, etc.,
The traffic was orderly and well regulated, except for the Sawgrass Expressway where we were confused whether to pay toll or not. While electronic displays were asking for toll to be paid, no car was paying so we did not pay, and followed others. There was no consequence, so we assumed that everyone was doing it right ! There was some signboard confusion when this Expressway ends and one needs to connect to I-95, but we managed. And similarly, when we exited I-95 towards our place, again there was some confusion on the road leading to downtown West Palm Beach. The one thing in America on the roads is that if you make a mistake it does take time to realise, and after you have realised your mistake, you can do nothing much except continuing straight ahead till you find a way back to the right road/exit. This happens in every trip, so I was not unduly bothered. We found the right way eventually.
As usual, it is a pleasure to shop in the U.S. One gets a bit of a mechanical service in stores, but that is the way they are – it is not going to be very personal, unless one is shopping for some expensive jewellery, I guess. Otherwise, you get what you want at relatively aggressive prices, compared to home !
12th April 2010
Camp : West Palm Beach, FL