Recently, my wife and I were blessed enough to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary. While neither of us were surprised to make it this far, it’s not necessarily a given in today’s world of divorces and annulments! Several months ago we got excited at the prospect of going on a vacation to celebrate, so we started throwing around some destinations.
She has been to Hawaii before and we both like going to new places, so that was out. We just went to Cabo San Lucas for our honeymoon, and Cancun is basically the same thing, so that was out. My best friend and brother both live in California, but this trip was for our anniversary and we really wanted some privacy, if you know what I mean, so that was out. Both of us have been enthralled with the idea of visiting Europe and the Mediterranean, but we would like a guide when we go since we don’t speak anything other than english and that would ruin the whole privacy idea, so that was out.
Eventually, we settled on the idea of a cruise. But still, we had to pick where we wanted to go. We most definitely wanted someplace tropical, and the Caribbean instantly jumped into our brains. However, I have had quite a horrible history with motion sickness and I was very leery about being stranded on a boat for a week, but I was still really excited about the idea of going on a cruise. My stomach issues have subsided greatly in the last 10+ years, so I figured it would be worth the risk. Fearing that possibility though, we decided to go on a slightly shorter cruise and chose the Bahamas. With the idea of getting sea-sick on the ship, we purposefully chose an itinerary that included stopping at a port every day, in order to provide the option of getting off the boat.
Our cruise would set sail out of the port of Miami, which neither of us had ever been to. So we booked our flight the day before to assure some quality sight-seeing time with South Beach. I have only been to Florida once in my life – for a week when I was little. All I remember was going to the L.A. Dodgers training camp, Ron Jon Surf Shop, and trying my best to avoid the rain every single day I was in the state. The only difference with this trip was the lack of Dodgers, Ron Jon, and now I’m older and married. It pissed and poured for the entire 22 hours we were in the city.
Once we arrived at the airport in Miami, we hopped in a SuperShuttle van and requested to be dropped off at the Epic Hotel. We were not prepared to give the driver the address, assuming that he would have access to directions through one way or another. We were wrong. Luckily, another passenger had her smart phone handy and dug up the needed info for us. The driver proceeded to eventually stop in the middle of the street and attempted to drop us off outside of a CVS because, “This is the address.” It was clearly not our hotel. We checked the address again and realized that it was located on Biscayne Boulevard WAY, and not Biscayne Boulevard. The driver followed up by asking us for directions. You would think a shuttle driver would have access to a GPS unit, or a map at the very least, instead of asking tourists, who had never been to the city that he works and lives in, for directions . I thought that anyway. And I thought wrong.
Eventually we found our way to the bustling hotel, who’s drive was jam-packed because they had scheduled 3 separate events all on the same day at the same time. Once we finally stepped into our room, we were impressed with the grandiosity. The bathroom offered a large shower with direct-overhead, rain-type shower head next to a nice bathtub, with twin sinks. the toilet was in a little alcove of its own. Oddly enough, there was a window that directly connected the bathroom to the sleeping quarters.
Interesting design idea. We had an outdoor balcony on the 19th floor that overlooked the pool deck three floors below, and offered a nice view of the downtown area.
After spending all morning and afternoon on airplanes, we needed food, stat! So we called down and ordered up the most expensive cheeseburger and plate of fettucine alfredo either of us has ever seen or heard about. It was good, but probably not as good as the bill would lead you to believe!
Following that, we crashed for a little while before cleaning ourselves up in order to head out on the town. Coincidentally, a couple of our friends had planned a vacation in Miami spanning the same week that we would be in the area, so we called them up. They had been in town for a day or two already and had a rough idea on where to go and how to get around, so they came and picked us up. My wife and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about on South Beach, so our escorts drove us around the area. Remember, the rain never let up while we were there, so once we parked the car and set out on foot, we didn’t get far before our moods took a turn for the worse. (Not “ruined” though, mind you. We still had a blast hanging out with our friends on South Beach!) We ended up managing to come across a small, outdoor Cuban restaurant, so we grabbed a table and squeezed under the awning. Apparently, authentic Cuban food merely translates to burnt and a little chewy, with bad service. (No, not THAT Chewy.)
Following dinner, our driver made a mad dash for the parked car in order to get my wife and I back to our hotel. Remember when I mentioned that this trip was for our anniversary? Yeah. Our friends are fun and all, but now it was alone time. WINK! We did attempt to get to Star Island on the way back though, but not surprisingly, the community was gated to keep out the “peasants!” We were also unsuccessful at finding the location of Michael Westin’s loft.
The next morning, as we were lugging our bags down to the lobby in order to check out and make our way to the pier, we noticed a smaller but nearly as impressive pier right outside of the hotel. There turned out to be what was essentially a playground for the 1%.
The further I looked down the line of docked yachts, the bigger they got. I may have salivated a little.
Reality settled back in once we were standing out in the rain (still) waiting for our shuttle to the pier. The driver pulled up about 30 minutes late, then chauffeured us to the pier which was a whopping 10 minutes away…we could’ve walked!
This story ends there, just as our stay in Miami did…not soon enough! I’ll pick up here next time and fill you in on the wonder that was our cruise ship and tropical experience.
Thank you, that is all.