Modified Florida: Day 1

25 Sep

Tues. Sept. 19, 2017:
Toronto flight to Miami, FL:

We had to wake up super early to get to the airport for our flight because there were new rules in place when going through security that might make it take longer. We were up before the subway was running and rather than taking a bus all the way to the other end of the city we took a cab directly to the airport. And of course, we breezed through security really fast as none of the new provisions were in place. Once we had settled in by our gate I left for the bathroom. On my way I could see David’s Tea on the other side of the glass doors! I figured I just had to backtrack to where we had first come in and take a different branch of the forked route. The lady at the information desk told me that in fact I could not access David’s Tea because it was in the international departures section of the terminal. I was very sad. Especially because I had walked all that way. I had to settle for a cup of tea from Starbucks instead of having loose leaf tea to last me the whole trip.

On the plane I had trouble staying awake. I intermittently fell asleep while reading my book, The Man From Moscow. I also made the mistake of drinking my tea too early and ended up having to pee. Because there was turbulence they could not serve hot drinks, and rather than have a desperately-needed cup of coffee I had to settle for Coke. Top it off with the fact that there were no snacks served with the drinks? So lame. A lady sitting near us asked if there was a time difference due to how short the flight was.

Once we had landed we set off looking for the taxi stand, it would have been too confusing to try and call an Uber. No sooner had we tried to look around for the taxi stand, a guy ushered us to his car and off we went- fingers crossed we were in a licensed taxi. Turns out we had taken a fancy car service instead of a taxi. At least the guy had a license. On the way in the only real signs we saw that a hurricane had passed through were torn billboards and palm fronds on the sides of the roads.

While Brent paid I went ahead to check us in. There was a slight delay as the fancy car had a crappy card reader. We only got so far with the check-in process as they needed Brent’s ID and credit card. We were staying at an art deco hotel in South Beach, the Delano. Our room was completely decorated in white. The mini bar was in a metal steamer trunk turned on its side. The hotel was fancy but not fancy enough to have an in-room coffee maker.

The first thing we did was head out past the pool to check out the private beach. They were still setting up all the beach chairs. When we tried to get back inside our cards wouldn’t work and we had to go all the way around to the front of the hotel to get back in. Afterwards we tried to go for a walk along the beach but it was way too hot and we did not have on sunscreen and the noon sun was threatening. There were some washed up corals on the beach and the water was warm. We left the beach and headed over to check out the rest of the art deco hotels on Ocean Drive. We stopped in at Walgreens, both for sunscreen and a short, air-conditioned respite from the heat. At Walgreens we found everything-bagel-with-cream-cheese flavoured Lays. They delivered as promised and were like a better version of salt and vinegar chips. We walked by three different hotels, all playing three different versions of Despacito. I couldn’t help but laugh at Brent who hates the song. The Tides hotel was known for having a great bar, alas it was still closed after the hurricane. We stopped at another art deco hotel, The Clevalander. They advertised happy hour but did not say when it was or what the deals were. I ordered an acai caipirinha. I only understood the $17 price tag when I took my first sip. Turns out what was listed as one drink, was actually the size of three drinks. In no short order, I was tipsy. On the menu they listed the option to upsize the drink to 55oz- which was just insane to me.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a tacky tourist shop, only because it was in an art deco hotel lobby. We ended up finding a World Cup onesie for Poland- the perfect gift for Camilla’s baby shower. It was a long, slow walk back to the hotel. It was so unbelievably hot and muggy outside. We stopped in at I ❤ Liquor to check out the selection. I had forgotten my keys at home so we had to buy a bottle opener as well. The selection was not great, but at least now I would be able to add Kirin and Guinness to my bottle cap magnet collection.

We got back with just enough time to change and head down to the Argentinian steakhouse restaurant in the hotel, Leynia. We were at a steakhouse, I had to get the steak. Brent ordered the Argentinian sausage. We traded halfway. The crispy smashed potatoes on the side were so good, the steak was incredible. It did not seem worth it to get another expensive cocktail was I still feeling the effects of the first one. We were too full for dessert and opted to snack on candy back in the hotel room instead.

After a short nap we walked down to the pool. It was nice because now it was not so hot and the UV was no longer as strong. We swam around for a bit and confirmed that the pool did in fact have underwater speakers. The pool could have been a smidge warmer in my opinion. I found the ocean, where we went next, to be much warmer. However I was not a fan of the seaweed that kept touching my feet. It was so gross and I kept stepping on it no matter how much I tried to avoid it. We gave up pretty soon, there were dark storm clouds threatening to ruin our fun anyways. The hotel was already dimly lit, and with my sunglasses on I could barely see anything as we went back to our room. Our timing was perfect, just enough to get ready and head out to the Marlins baseball game. Most of that time was spent researching what to eat at the park and catching up in my notebook, with a little bit of time allocated to scrubbing off the sunscreen.

We took an Uber to the Marlins Park stadium. We easily got our tickets exchanged from Saturday’s game which had been relocated. On our way in a guy handed Brent a bag, saying it was a free gift. Only when I approached the table and he tried to get me to sign up for a newspaper and we tried to walk away the guy said to give the gift back. So Brent left it on the floor as we walked away. Once inside I was shocked at how empty it was. And it’s not like we were there super early either. I joked that the place was so empty because of DJ Unity, the “official” DJ of the Marlins, who was playing Hanson’s Mmmbop and later the Spice Girls. Even though in my opinion, he was the best DJ around with great taste in music.

The food options inside the stadium were limited, not everything was open. Nothing in the Taste of Miami section caught my eye, everything there was just sitting under a heat lamp looking gross. Brent got a snapper sandwich there. I had wanted to go to the Clevalander for a specialty drink but when we got there we found out it was a separate bar within the stadium and did not want to risk an awkward situation because Brent already had his food and beer- so we continued on along the concourse. I eventually settled on a sad looking Cuban sandwich. I decided to wait until later to get a drink on our second round of the concourse. The sandwich was not good. It was greasy and dripping everywhere and it was way too salty. After eating half of it I got up to get a drink and to find some napkins. I had to walk a good quarter of the concourse before finding a place that served something other than beer. I momentarily considered getting a Bud Lite Lime-A-Rita but thankfully I noticed that they also served sangria. I had forgotten my ID in my other wallet, but the lady just asked me what year I was born in.

We had great seats at the game, we were so close, in the front of the second section. The TV camera guy was initially standing right in front of us. We were shown on the big screen but I refused to look or even acknowledge the camera guy- I was not having it. He soon left. Things were not looking good in terms of chances of a home run, making it 2/2 fails (the first being the food).

On our second go-round of the concourse I noticed a Cuban ice cream stand, Azucar. No sooner had I gotten in line, Brent mentioned the potential for a home run, so I left the line and went to join him watching the game. No home run. Back to the line. And just like that I was running back, the next player had hit a home run. The crazy tacky statute in the outfield was going off: lights were flashing, fog was billowing and the dolphin (er, marlin) was arcing across the fake sky over a fake rainbow. It was truly tacky and so worth losing my place in line. I ordered a scoop of dulce leche. It was delicious and it redeemed the food options at Marlins Park. There were no good drink options available, I passed on having a second drink. We passed by the bobblehead museum but for some reason they lose their interest when there are so many of them. It’s no longer really a novelty. Though there were some really crappy ones.

Walking around the concourse the TV screens kept hinting that there was going to be a kisscam. In the 6th inning there was a mascot race. And it was awful. They only ran around a quarter of the field, walked the next quarter and then exited. Half the stadium could barely see them! The 7th inning stretch was equally disappointing, it was just a long ad for a coffee company. The stadium was so empty that there were not enough people there to get the wave going. Oddly though our row was full.

Two foul balls were hit in our direction. The first one landed in an empty row below us and bounced high above us. The second landed in the section just in front of us and Brent leaned far over the railing for it. Scaring me in the process. He was not even close. I was sitting between Brent and a kid one seat over from me. They were both shouting at Stanton to hit his 56th home run. They both took to booing the pitcher and calling him a scaredy-cat. Just as I was about to tell Brent to stop booing, the whole stadium started booing. The kid kept picking up terms from Brent too.

We left at the end of the 8th inning: we had seen the homerun, the mascot and there was no sign of the kisscam. We walked a couple of blocks before ordering an Uber because the cops had blocked the streets around the stadium. On the drive back we passed through Little Havana, we saw the ice cream place I had gone to earlier and the place where Richard Ayoade played dominos in Travel Man.

Back in our hotel room we changed into nicer clothes and went down to the Rose Bar in our hotel for a nightcap. I tried to order a drink with smoked pineapple but the bartender was all out. Instead I ordered an old fashioned made with apple syrup.

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Posted by on September 25, 2017 in The Roving Reporter, Travel


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