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Friday, December 21, 2007

Miami Beach was Awesome!

The long awaited post about our trip to Miami Beach, Florida is finally here! With so much going on since we got home, I haven't had the time to get this post out until now. Let's dig right in!

This past August while we were in Utah for my little brother's wedding, our friend Sara decided to drop the bomb that her and Carl would be getting married in Florida on December 6th! I looked at Jory and told him I wanted to go. It took a bit of finagling for Jory to find out if he could take the time off work, but we got the good to go. Meanwhile Sara asked me to be her bridesmaid so I had to buy a dress! Not that anyone cares, but I found a hippie type dress that would work but it showed some serious cleavage and those of you who know me, know that I don't show a lot of skin, let alone boobie skin so it was an uncomfortable experience to say the least. But on the trip...

Our flight left early Wednesday morning with a lay over in Houston. Is it just me or do airline seats get smaller each time you fly? I haven't gained any weight since my last flight so I really think it's the seats! We were exhausted by the time we got to Miami which lead to some unpleasant exchanges while trying to figure out the GPS. Neither of us have used one, but we're both pretty savvy when it comes to electronics so I figured it would be fairly easy to figure out. We learned this meant it could be fairly easy to miss one tiny step as well. We pulled out of the rental car place and realized the GPS wasn't working as it should be, when we stopped it didn't stop, it continued giving us directions. I pulled over at the nearest "gas station" which also happened to be located in the middle of Hell. I've been in scary, unsafe locations before;
(Back in 1995 some friends and I were abandoned when our bus broke down in the middle of the Queens, NY, they had us unload with all our luggage and sit in the median while we waited for another bus. In 1996-97 while homeless, most of my time was stuck in the ghetto of Ogden, UT. And finally the realist version of Hell I've experienced, the motel we stayed at in Humboldt that one night with blood stained bedspread and carpet and skanky crazy homeless people wandering back and forth in front of our window all night. I felt like touching anything in that room was going to give me Chlamydia. Neither of us slept that night, even if Mazzy wasn't barking at every crack dealer outside, there was no possible way to sleep.)

But sitting in a brand new (only 708 miles) Sparkling Black Super Kool Dodge Caliber trying to figure out this piece of shit GPS made us the perfect target for any bad ass to take advantage of the tourists who are apparently lost. This thought frazzled me to the point of not being able to assist Jory in making this damn GPS work. By some miracle, Jory was able to tell me where to go and we did find our hotel without getting lost again. Luckily I had previously Mapquested the directions to the hotel and had remembered there was a toll road so I was prepared with coins, however bringing the Mapquested directions was an after thought, being the reason I decided at the last minute to request a GPS.

Jory's first impression of the location of the hotel (he can correct me if I'm wrong) was explained to Sara and Carl as if we were staying in the ghetto. I understand his original feelings may have been clouded by sheer exhaustion, our night time arrival, finding out the hotel didn't provide parking so we were left to park on the street and feed the meter from 8 am - 6 pm everyday. (We later found out we could have purchased day passes for $6.50/day)

After settling in to our small but clean, minimalist hotel room we decided to venture out to find some food, we hadn't eaten for almost 24 hours. We found a Subway right behind our hotel and something familiar sounded soothing to our not so great day. The owner was working and he was super friendly. He actually thought I had been there last week. Wow! So I looked like a local, ok. I told him we were in town for a wedding and he went about making us the best damn Subway sandwiches either of us have ever had! After eating we walked back to our hotel room to pass out for the night.
Rodeway Inn on Ocean Terrace

The next morning I woke up at 7:30 am (5:30 am MT mind you) in order to get quarters for the parking meter. Jory was so tired, he didn't seem to care about me going out alone in "Scaryville". I was so tired I was worried about going out alone, which is totally not me. If I'm anything, it's Over Confident with my safety. However, I walked out of the hotel as if I owned the place. The sun had just come up, it was beautiful and to my surprise the ocean was literally 100 feet away from our car! I still had a couple quarters so I popped them in the meter, then walked around the corner to CVS to buy some more quarters. Jory called me as I was walking back to the car to fill the meter for the next 3 hours, he wanted to be sure I was OK. Had I not been so incredibly tired I would have walked out on the beach and soaked in the sun. Instead I went back to the hotel, loaded up some mini muffins and orange juice from the continental breakfast bar on my way back to bed.

We slept for another hour or two, woke up, got ready and set out for Sara and Carl's wedding. They had given us the address of the church and we finally figured out the GPS, you must first always ask to View Map so it knows where you are, then it will help you very nicely get to your destination. Since it was finally working, I kindly named her (the GPS voice) Louise.

"Louise" got us to the church before anyone else had arrived. We changed in the bathrooms and waited for everyone to show up. I was excited to find out I'd be walking with Brother, Josh Sara's brother. Since she became my "Sister" 13 years ago, he in turn became Brother.

The wedding was beautiful and tear filled. As I stood up there as a bridesmaid, I was reminded of my own wedding; Jory and I standing on our rock, love filling the air felt like warmth from the sun, not just our love for each other but the love of our families and closest friends surrounding us. Looking in Jory's eyes was like staring at the warm sun, tears rolled down my cheeks. Realizing I was lost in this memory I glanced up at Josh as his eyes welled, tears began to form in my eyes which can quickly turn to uncontrollable bawling since Jack died, so I turned to Jory hoping to get control and he smiled. Like a Secret Super Power, his smile cured me. How lucky I am to have such a wonderful partner in life. I love him so much!

After the wedding we went to Christos' house for the reception. At sunset we took pictures out by the lake beyond his backyard, it was definitely picture perfect. After the usual cutting of the cake and garter toss and dancing we were all worn out and ready for bed. Then we realized it was only 6 PM, it felt like 2 AM! After a little encourage from Carl's best man Alex and Josh, we all decided to go out to Coconut Grove for some drinks.

Jory, Me, Sara

Ingrid, Alex, Carl, Josh, Brown

We ended up drinking at Fat Tuesdays and later, ate dinner at Senior Frogs. It was a blast and I couldn't believe we had only been in Miami for 24 hours! We still had the entire vacation ahead of us. Unfortunately, I used up my entire memory card taking pictures at the wedding and on the lake, so I wasn't able to take pics but I just got some from Sara, as you see above.

The next day Jory woke up early to feed the meter, he waited patiently for me to wake up and decide what our plans were for the day. We had wanted to hang out at the beach or walk around but it was raining so we decided to check out Aventura Mall listed on our map just north of Bal Harbor to find another memory card for our camera. As I expected this adventure would be interesting.

Our camera is at least 6 years old and finding the right memory card would not be easy. The first store had came up empty and the clerk suggested Best Buy might still carry them but we'd probably have to order it online. We half-glanced at the cameras on the shelves, not expecting to purchase a new one just because we can't find a card. But the prices were ridiculously low. We decided to keep looking, maybe Sears would have a better deal. Walking up the aisle the prices were the same, but they definitely had more options. Then I turned and saw it, Glowing, Sparkling and Winking at me. Kodak's new HD 12 MP digital with manual options and video with sound for $230-ish. Previously I had been shopping for a new 10 MP Cannon or Nikon for $699 but at this price I couldn't say no.

We excitedly walked to the register to cash out and BLAM! PANIC rushes through me as he tells me my debit card is being rejected....Jory was right we are in the ghetto...someone stole our card info and now our identities...we'll be stuck in Florida with no money...WAIT! My card is fairly used, I have had problems at some places that can't read my card so I took a breath and had Jory try his card BLAM FUCK YOU BLAM Rejected! OMFG we're's real...that damn dirty rental car place...the shuttle driver who looked and acted like he was going to take us to an empty warehouse, rob us and kill us, the eclectic hotel front desk clerk with his multi colored of them did this ARGH! Of course outwardly I displayed a calm, collected attitude in order to not let Jory stress out. If something did happen, our families would be able to help us out with money for food or whatever til we got home. Luckily I'm a fairly responsible adult and always have a credit card on hand in case of emergencies. After picking up our fabulous new camera, we walked outside to smoke a carton of cigarettes and call the bank to realize our horrible fate.

Luckily I got a hold of the nicest most comforting and competent Wells Fargo associate on the planet. They had placed a verification hold on our cards because all these charges popped up out of Florida and they wanted to make sure it was us and not someone who had stolen our cards. I didn't know Wells Fargo did this, I know Discover Card does this, Awesome! She did also mention that my card was so worn the 3 digit code on the back was no longer readable on any register so she would gladly send us out new cards as well as Clear us to continue using our cards until the day after we got home in case we were to have any further problems. She then requested I speak with the fraud department just to document that we were in Florida and help watch for any unauthorized charges. He went over our purchases and nothing suspicious had gone through. Breathing commenced.

On our drive back to our 'hood, Jory saw something in a window and made me remind him to return there at some point, there was something he HAD to buy! Note to self made.

Upon our return, we were hungry so we walked around the corner for somewhere to eat and as I had noticed a few times "Rockys" on the corner reminded me a tiny bit of my grandma's cafe but this was a much smaller version. We decided to give it a go and THANK GAWD we did, DAMN it was the best food I've eaten years! I got a chicken cordon bleau and Jory had the infamous cheesesteak sandwich. We both made sweet sweet love to every single bite. Scrumptious!

Sara called and mentioned they were going to eat sushi then meet up with Carl's cousin Ingrid at a bar (she's the one who took us to Coconut Grove the night before). They requested we meet them at the Sushi bar so we could input the bar's address into "Louise" and they could follow us there. We ended up at a place very similar to Coconut Grove but the bar Ingrid chose turned out to be full of cocks and wouldn't let Alex or Josh in because they were wearing flip flops, us girls also wearing flip flops could enter only because we had vagina's LOL!. We found Ingrid and she took us to this other little tiny bar which was pretty kool as far as the atmosphere goes. There was a Counting Crows cover band playing but it was literally the size of my living room. Sara and I ventured out this back door for a smoke and found the outside much more pleasurable to hang out. All the tables and chairs were taken so we were stuck standing all night but it was a great time, good music and awesome people, what more could you ask for.

The next day I slept in a little later then expected, Sara called before I had even showered to let us know they were heading to South Beach to walk around and hit the beach. We found sweet Louise's battery wasn't charging while plugged in to the jack in the car. I plugged in my iPod to verify the jack worked and it did, so we drove to the nearest Dollar Rental location and swapped Louise for Thelma. Thelma took us to SoBe, we found Sara and posse walking down Washington, we found the closest parking garage and met up with them at the beach. I've left out an extremely important part of this story. Let me digress...

Standing the entire day of the wedding, half the time in my leather flip flops I wear to work all the time that are not comfortable at all and the other half in my beyond worn our Teva flip flops gave me a HUGE ASS MOTHERFUCKIN' blister the size of an Oreo on the ball of my foot. Then walking around Coconut Grove, Aventura Mall and the bars as well as around our hood had caused this blister to swell as thick as an Oreo, making walking extremely painful. Jory kindly gave me the name Gimpy if that helps you visualize.

Back to the parking garage and beach, I looked like a crazy person walking and wincing every step. But we finally made it out the beach where we sat and enjoyed the sun and ocean. There was a local "sand" artist who created a landlocked mermaid out of sand right in front of us. I took a bunch of pictures, so go check them out HERE.

On our way back to the car we walked by Versace's house, the one he was murdered in front of. Jory and I decided to drive by Miami Ink and take a picture, it took a few attempts to get it. He kept asking why I wouldn't go it or at least walk up there and take a picture and I can only say I didn't want to be one of "those" people. If I were a celebrity or someone working at a famous tattoo shop I would hate the constant photos being taken out front. Maybe I wouldn't at first but I would grow to hate it. I didn't want to be hated. I would have been embarrassed to walk in and try to get a tattoo when I know very well that Chris Garver is booked through 2009, so the other guys are probably book close to the same. I'm sure it's not like other shops were you can walk in and get tattooed on the spot anymore, they became famous therefore there is no room for the little guy, like me.

While driving back to our hood, we saw what looked like Sylvester Stallone driving in a fancy car, I didn't get the best look, but Jory is convinced it was him. He looked so much smaller in person, nothing like RAMBO!

We ate at Rockys again and soaked in the Miami air while realizing this was our last night in Florida. I never expected to like it as much as I did! Of course I could never live there in the summer, but once we get rich, we will definitely purchase a winter home there. To be able to walk outside every morning and enjoy the sunrise on the beach would be heaven.

That night, concerned about having to run through the Houston airport to make our connecting flight with only 20 minutes between, I knew I had to do something about this blister now the size of Pluto. After reading online, it was ok to pop it as long as I keep it clean, we headed to CVS for some supplies. Surgery commenced and as the blister exploded, the excruciating pain went with it. Why didn't I do this yesterday? I constructed some moleskin to protect the blister area which was still very sore but I could actually walk without wanting to kill myself.

Not wanting to end our last night, we spent a lot of time sitting on the front porch of our hotel. It was incredibly windy and sprinkling rain but it was still warm. We can't wait to come back already!
Jory's first pair of flip flops!

The next day we checked out, walked across the street and said good-bye to our beach and the ocean. It was a sad farewell, but we will definitely return and will probably stay at this hotel again. I love that it only has 40 rooms, that it's on it's own little street, feet away from the beach and around the corner the delicious Rockys!

Per Jory's request we drove up north on Collins Ave again to find that store he wanted to stop at, Wings Surf Shop. We ended up spending a ton of money on souvenirs for us ;) What was the thing he saw in the window he had to buy, you ask? A Led Zeppelin beach towel! Isn't he the sweetest? Not that you care, but we bought a green retro looking Miami Beach sweatshirt for me, a Hawaiian shirt for Jory, super kool chimes, salt water taffy, more flip flops for me and few things for Keara who took care of our dogs and our house while we were gone.

We drove around looking for some where to eat, we finally decided on a Subway near Wings and when we walked up we noticed there is a place next door called Francesco's? that had "Crepes or Sandwiches" in the window and you should all know how much I LOVE crepes, so we went in. I ordered a chicken cordon bleau crepe and again I made sweet sweet love to every bite!

Jory enjoyed an Italian sandwich and a El Presidente.

Thelma got us back to the rental car place in one piece and we ended up arriving at the airport 2.5 hours before our departure. At least we weren't late. The flight home was uncomfortable and sad. By the time we got to Houston for our race to catch our connecting flight my foot was on fire, it felt like I was walking in lava every step. They changed our gate at the last minute so we did end up having to literally run. The pain was so intense by the time I was hobbling down the ramp, tears streamed from my eyes. I grabbed my sunglasses to hide from all the other passengers and when I finally sat down, I couldn't stop. I'm fairly certain I didn't cause a spectacle but it was embarrassing all the same.

The mood was tense as we landed in Phoenix, knowing I had to walk another 100 miles out of the airport to the car. As we walked outside, the bitter fucking cold (40 degrees) smacked us in the face. Maybe we should move to Florida?


Jory said...

For the record, anytime the homeless to homed ratio approaches 1:1 you ARE in the ghetto, although nice naked asses do a lot to make being in the ghetto tolerable. Additionally, I made love to no food whilst in Florida, I liked the meals I ate, but not enough to put my wiener in them. And finally, for the record again, my sandwich at Francesco's was a CUBAN pork sandwich, nothing Italian about it at all (and it was delicious, but again not enough to fuck).

I dig Tom's new gang, but, I would pit them against the JCP any day, because those biatches were tough!

tom the shiz said...

sounds like y'all had fun!

Jory, don't front holmes!

Code-ster said...

Jory eating Cuban pork...bru hee hee.

Donate for My Kindness Project to Honor Jack!