Mon. June 8, 2015:
Our plan for the day was to head to Vizcaya Museum & Gardens in Miami. We were going to take the commuter bus to Miami and stop off at Ela’s apartment to drop off our lunches and put on sunscreen. The last bus from Davie to Miami was at like 8:30am or so, we had to rush to catch it. The bus lulled me to sleep, the express lanes were closed so we slowly inched our way in the morning rush hour. The point of taking the bus was to avoid said traffic, as the bus usually speeds by in the express lane. Ela’s apartment was around the corner from the bus stop and the train station.
I kept calling the elevated train a subway from force of habit. It was decidedly not a subway, as in Florida you cannot dig very deep. From the train station to Vizcaya there was a nice little nature trail. Well it was nice, until we saw a giant spider sitting on a web. It made the spiders I am afraid of back home seem like mere ants.
In an effort to avoid the searing Florida sun, we started out in the house. It was enclosed and air-conditioned. The only downside was that there was no photography allowed, which was terrible given how gorgeous the sunroom/courtyard in the middle of the house was. We did not go on the tour, instead we took turns reading the info panels in each room (provided there was no one else in there). The rooms were all styled differently, we got to see a wide variety of things. One room had a gorgeous plaster ceiling that was done in the style of Wedgewood porcelains (light blue with white detailing, matte finish). Alas there was no information about it and I was left wondering.
Before heading out to the gardens we stopped at the café and gift shop for a break. Along the way we passed the pool which was an iridescent green. It looked interesting but did not beckon for a dip. I was far too tired and run-down from my allergies to browse the gift shop. I ordered a coffee and cookie and planted myself at a corner table. Apparently they had all fallen in love with a hand scrub in the bathroom, which was for sale in the gift shop.
Even with starting in the house and taking a lunch and shopping break, we found ourselves starting on the gardens at high noon. At first it was fine, we were by the bay looking out over the water. We sat there for a while, enjoying the cool breeze, looking back at Vizcaya as seen from the bay. At one point a police boat zoomed in from the distance, circled the wave breaker (which was shaped like a sunken ship) and left. We were very confused when we saw it in the distance. What could a police boat possibly want from Vizcaya? Turns out it was two cops trying to impress some ladies in their boat. For a split second I really pictured something out of CSI: Miami involving bricks of cocaine in the water. It was a total let-down to see these two dorks trying to look cool.
In the rest of the gardens it was boiling hot, even with the shade. In all of our photos we are squinting and shining from all the sweat. I don’t understand why there were 2-3 separate photo shoots happening at this time. There was a fashion model and two girls having quinceañera photos done. I can only imagine their misery in their poofy prom-style dresses. The sun was beating down on us mercilessly. I was getting really tired and sluggish. I was starting to look forward to the bus ride back so I could have another nap.
When we took the train back to Ela’s apartment we exited to the other side of the street. We were going to visit the new 7-Eleven and get Slurpees, as the tradition goes. However we had a small detour, as it was discovered that there was a small library in the station. Camilla and I were left bewildered as one by one, Lucy, Marianne and Ela all went in. We were getting antsy and bored outside. Things only got worse when a creepy old man walked by and stared at us.
The 7-Eleven was brand new and on the hospital campus. My hunger got to me and I wound up getting birthday cake M&Ms. We sat on the patio outside (yes, that is how nice this 7-Eleven was) and munched on our snacks. A man from the table next to us leaned over and slipped Marianne a note as he was leaving. He had made a silly joke about her tattoo. I found it adorable that he wrote a note, it was nice that he did not try to interrupt us. Back at Vizcaya we had gone into a maze. Lucy said that before going into a maze you are supposed to focus on a question or trouble you are having: at the end of the maze you should have your answer. My question had been: what flavour Slurpee will I get? Cherry, was the answer. Luckily they had that flavour, otherwise I don’t know what I would have done. Go back to the maze?
We barely had any time back at the apartment, we hurriedly ate our sandwiches. No sooner were we done, we had to head out to catch the bus, the next one would be in 40 minutes and we were far too tired to wait. Like clockwork, I dozed off on the bus. Marianne poked me in the leg to wake me up, I had been in such a deep sleep that it actually startled me and I got all bug-eyed. We had a good laugh about it.
Driving back we stopped at The Grove for the best key lime pie. While there we also found local Florida honeys, which made for the perfect souvenir gifts. While there I found out that Florida oranges are out of season, only available in the winter months. After an eggplant lasagna dinner we dug into the pie. We were going to have a campfire later with smores, so we each intended to only eat a small slice of pie. That did not happen. We wound up eating almost the entire pie- it was that good. It was not a horrible bright green and not overly sweet. It was made with actual key lime juice, no fake stuff.
My allergies were only getting worse. I started to wonder if maybe this was a horrible cold? While they were picking up the fire pit for our campfire from a neighbour I snuck in a quick nap. I soon realized that I was in desperate need of some new medicine, something that would work. We needed campfire supplies and I gamely volunteered to tag along. For two reasons: cold meds AND another chance to stock up on Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.
At Publix I hit a gold mine in the clearance section: cherry Dunkin’ Donuts coffee! We also found a hamster dance singing birthday card for Ela. We were so easily distracted, tempted to buy gobs of candy. It was time to head back and get the campfire going. The fire was slow to begin. I went inside to get the bug spray and 5 minutes later, I go back outside and they have a roaring fire going. Maybe it was just me? I sat there poking at the fire, only to realize that the stick I was using would make a good roasting stick… if we sharpened the end I had been holding.
We classed it up at our campfire. Instead of the usual crappy hotdogs, we cooked apple chicken sausages (which tasted as good as they sound) and for our smores we used actual chocolate squares. We had always used Nutella which was easy to spread. Chocolate squares not so much, I still prefer the Nutella. The chocolate barely melted and thus was uneven. We had also bought one king size bar, which between the five of us, quickly disappeared. I resorted to eating chocolate-less smores.
The firepit was old, the bottom had rusted out. We periodically had to monitor under the pit, putting out the small fire burning below our campfire. We ended up keeping the hose nearby and just spraying every time it got out of hand.
We tried to tell scary stories but that did not work out too well, partly the silly mood, partly the tiredness. By the end we had seared a black ring into the lawn and burned through our entire wood supply. I was in desperate need of a shower: the sunscreen, with a layer of sweat on top, followed by bug spray had all been cooked to a crisp layer on top of me and I felt so gross.