Sunday, 8 July 2012

Miami adventures

Last weekends flying trip to Miami was a bit of a treat in many ways. Long hours at work meant that travelling on Saturday was not an option, a long weekend meant a Sunday/Monday trip was possible. Jo and I got to the airport on time despite this person setting her alarm for 5.30pm not am. Could have been nasty, except for my reliable body clock.

We arrived at Miami Airport, 30 minutes later we were on the road in our convertible. Yep, a minor miracle. When we arrived in the immigration hall we looked at each other, wondering if the world had ended when we were in the air. At the very least there must have been some catastrophe that meant others hadn't flown. There we were in a very quiet place with only our plane load present, never been seen before if you believe those present to witness.

Miami International is notorious for delays, 3 or 4 hour delays. Sunday morning last week there were no queues, no people and very friendly immigration staff. One might say quite flirty. The young officer spent time looking though my passport after I'd been finger printed. He studied the pages, read the visas, nodded and glanced at me then back at my small New Zealand book like it was an interesting novel.

Then he smiled. "I love to look at the stamps in people's passports to see where they've been," he said. "Yours is the best yet, so many places I never get to see in other passports, wow."

We chatted a bit about travelling and interesting countries, he stamped my passport then it was Jo's turn. That's when he got flirty. I waited for Jo just beyond the area, he said it was okay to come back and wait for my friend. Asked us what our weekend plans were. We giggled just a little then headed for the way out and the no queue to the outside line. Again a very friendly man who smiled and chatted, appreciating that we were on a shopping mission.

The rental car pick up was equally smooth, the upgrade to a Mustang convertible an easy choice. Off we roared in Thelma and Louise style, me in the driver's seat. We were still giggling just a little as we used our sat nav to find our way to the hotel. South Beach was the next stop, lunch on the side walk and a bit of shopping as we wandered to the beach.

How could I resist Amalfi prawn on Israeli couscous with arugula for lunch? Yum yum, and especially the fresh Italian bread, proper bread that is not quite present on Cayman. We sat and watched people, looked at the fashions, important research for a shopping trip. Over lunch we decided that a trip towards the Keys might be in order. We had the car, lets go drive.

Oh no, I didn't have my camera! With drawls are not nice, we found a camera shop and I managed to buy a hand bag size happy snappy. Perfect for those moments when my big cameras are not around. The lovely camera shop man was very helpful. Hailing from Gent in Belgium, he was most surprised to  meet this kiwi who knew Belgium so well. We chatted a while and off I went, happy with my new purchase.

We had a play it forward moment at South Beach. A nice young couple gave us a parking ticket valid until evening, asking that we pass it on if we left early. We were in the process of trying to work out how the roof went up in the car, the young man also knew where that button was, much to our embarrassment. 

We drove off, happy campers and went as far as we felt like, not quite to the end. We dined on fish as you do in the Keys and then drove back. Sunday evening is traffic jam time, we relaxed and discovered that one must put the top up just before the mosquito's fill the car. Slow driving made us sweet ladies mozzie magnets. Turning the heater on helped, not enough to stop the blood filled pests from tormenting us. Who would have thought. My new glasses gave me bionic night vision so we got back safely to the hotel, just in time to enjoy a nice cold one.

The next day was shopping, lots of shopping including a trip to the Home Depot. That was fun, a roof ladder later we were off to the clothes and shoe shops. We had fun with the ladder, fitting it in the car was interesting and the race to the check in eventful. People to do look at one a little oddly when one has a roof ladder on an airport trolley. 

Some pics from the happy snappy. It worked okay.

My next yacht in the moonlight

Boats in harbour

Yep, that's the Keys alright

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