Friday: December 26, 2014
If I had to narrow down the worst day of the trip, it would be most of our day in Miami. The aforementioned “small hiccup” happened to be a spot in my car where the exhaust pipe was practically burning a hole in my trunk space. The tail pipe/muffler had been off for a few days until we could figure out how to get it back on. It didn’t seem like there was anything going on until we noticed all of our belongings packed in the back were warmer than usual. Then we noticed that the plastic platform that goes over the carpet was warped and melted in one area. With my anxiety as bad as it was, I feared the absolute worst case scenario so we had to move everything into our passenger seats, wait another hour to get signal again, and get to a place within minutes so we don’t miss the cut-off time of a part we need to get ordered. Not to mention, we didn’t exactly plan for any expensive contingencies for parts, labor, tools, blah blah blah. We had just enough to do our trip and that was it.
Despite the negative energy of the beginning, I couldn’t stop giggling coming into Miami because I kept playing songs from Pitbull (“Mr. 305”) himself, and LMFAO’s “I’m in Miami, b—-“. Its those little things, people!
We made the cut-off time, got our part, and then got to a place who dealt with mufflers and brakes all in an area we weren’t familiar with, stressed to no end, and it was raining the entire time. This was after hours of trying to get the part fixed ourselves, with tools, but the bolts were just too rusty to do anything. The surprise we got there was also no bueno but we had no choice. We didn’t know the exhaust pointed upward and without that part, there was no way to redistribute the heat to the end of the car.
After our eight hour delay, we managed to save the day and still have fun. Our moods were slightly dampened along with the rain, but the issue was solved and we could carry on. Not everything goes the way you plan for it and maybe it sprinkles the dust of a stress fairy but it is humbling and it makes you slow down. I was grateful we were even in Miami having our vacation, celebrating another year together, so I tried not to let it stop us much.
All the while, I got a strong taste of the Miami culture. There were stray dogs everywhere, people were interesting, and traffic was awful. On our way to the graffiti art of Wynwood, we came across a woman parking in a turning lane in the middle of the road to go into a place of business across the street. We also witnessed children on the main road in a buggy-type thing, and yet more dogs. I enjoyed being around the Spanish culture in each of the shops we had to stop at for our car, as they were friendly, and of course I’m married to a Hispanic so it is familiar.
We headed down to the Wynwood Walls of Miami where walls among walls of urban graffiti art are colorfully displayed. Almost all of the buildings in this downtown area have colorful walls for about four blocks on all different side-streets and back-streets. There is also a collective garden area with a pathway you can follow to access a gallery of such. This is a must-see if you’re ever in the area. The artists who poured their sweat and spray paint into these walls are on a whole new level of talented. We walked around for an hour admiring the colors and creativity of the walls, doors, and even people just out and about taking photographs. I witnessed people preparing for dance numbers, people posing in intense upside-down positions, posing in extreme yoga poses, and so on. We stopped for some caffeine for hubby and I got some tea, then we left after seeing all the walls had to offer.
We ended up in the white sand of South Beach in Miami Beach. Living on a beach in central Florida makes me acclimated to the culture and crowds but one thing that is different is how blue the water is. I thought our beach water was gorgeous until I ended up in Miami. The water is a blue-green almost baby turquoise and the sand is not as fluffy, but still just as white as ours back home. I couldn’t stop adding to the depth of the saltwater with my drool and happy tears when I dipped my toes in the water, it was that beautiful. The city is so much bigger than ours and you can see the city skyline as you’re coming over the bridge to the beach. It is quite mesmerizing.
After strolling the beach at sunset and drawing in the sand a little bit, we headed back to the restaurants and bars near where we left our car. That was after the insult to injury event occurred before we even made it back. I almost lost my phone for good so naturally, hubby takes off sprinting where we were last sitting by the beach, and thankfully found it. If it hadn’t of been dark, it might not have been there.
We came to “Tequila Chica’s” and ordered a couple of drinks. We didn’t have time to settle for food before our parking expired, so hubby got a beer and I got a monster sex on the beach. I actually didn’t mean to get one that big as I was most definitely drunk trying to finish it within 25 minutes. It was so good but there is a blank spacing of events leaving Miami and heading into the Keys for our campsite.
We finally made it to Key Largo on what seemed like a lifetime of a drive. It was too dark to really tell what the campsite looked like but there were no mosquitoes, clean and updated bathrooms with hot showers, and a laundry facility. Our tent site was provided with a concrete platform, an electric station, and the staff was so friendly and lenient, especially if we had to get in late.
We grilled some chicken dogs as quietly as possible since we were using someone else’s grill and it was almost “quiet time” in the park. We had no other choice since we couldn’t find any of the other grills. Our “no-igniter-fluid” needed coals wouldn’t light without it so a couple of kids brought us some fluid they found. It was so kind of them.
The same thing goes for the people who set up their tent next to ours. They arrived late too and offered so many things to us to help us better, such as lights and even moved their entire tent set-up over one for us to be in the “right spot”. It was a father with his boy and mother in the Boy Scouts so it was just refreshing to experience some kind folk.