I’m in Miami, Babe [sic]

I’m still in the learning process with this WordPress Blog and finally figured out how to turn the „like“ button for each post back on. Yeih!  I get a little lost sometimes. Thanks for hanging in there! :)

During my Florida experience, my center has been the Orlando area with Daytona being my sunrise spot. I had the chance to drive over to Clearwater, Tampa, and Sarasota. All have incredibly beautiful beaches and accommodating warm Gulf Coast water. But a remark pops into my head that I actually hate… “I could never live here”. It’s what I said about Spain right before I moved to Madrid. It’s what I said about Los Angeles when we had a layover there some 20 years ago… I’ve lived in LA for several years. I’m not sure if I ever said it about Orlando when we went to Disney World around the same time (maybe 22 years ago), but I’m sure I must have… it’s a thing. Careful what you wish for!

Daytona Beach

When I visited Miami years ago with my parents, we stayed at the Hyatt Hotel where I befriended the barkeeper and had a crush on the bellhop. I think I was 12, but just as curious as I am now… I’ve just learned to pick my battles since then ;). I wanted to see the city again… just one more time. Even if it’s just to make sure I’m not missing anything. Talk about FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)!

The drive from Orlando to Miami is about 4-5 hours, depending on traffic. After a breakfast stop in Fort Lauderdale, we proceeded to Miami and booked a hotel on South Beach. Fort Lauderdale itself is cute. I didn’t remember it like that – I went there with my parents in 2013, we had lunch and just looked around for a while. This time, I was closer to the beach and it’s a very harmonious, unproblematic city.

OJ in FL
Fort Lauderdale Ocean Front

Miami is crazy. I can’t handle Miami, but I was only there for two days this time and we drove around a lot. I like to visit filming locations (movies or TV shows) – it’s my way of exploring new places and the first thing I look for. I also prefer to walk or bike, but for cities like Los Angeles or Miami, you need more time to plan those exploration days without a car, with only public transportation.

Hotel :)

Miami has a very different vibe than the West Coast. The weather feels more humid even than in Orlando, but it was quite the opposite (at least according to my phone data). Florida is just very humid in general. Period. People keep saying that and I want to say I appreciate it because it’s much nicer to breathe and better for your hair and skin. Yeah, no. I thought I could handle it, turns out, I can’t. Or I don’t like to.

Miami beach is beautiful, but crowded. I particularly liked the colorful lighthouses – they stand out. Ocean Drive is alive and bustling.

Ocean Drive

Downtown Miami is busy, hectic. The Hyatt has changed a lot. My mom said it hasn’t changed at all… Funny how you remember things differently. There were no bellhops this time. The inside lobby has changed completely. At least from my memory.


A friend once told me “Miami is good to live in when you’re done”… meaning when you’re either retired or have a lot of money to spend and don’t need to bother anymore. Or not as much. Ideally, both fall within the same time span. Although two days wasn’t much, I got a little bit of a feel for the area and I have to agree. I could see myself living in South Florida much later in life. Or travelling back and forth between “here” and there, “here” being a relative option.

South Beach

I’m glad that I got to see the city again. I visited Miami’s hot and not so hot spots and discovered for myself that I’m not missing anything; that it is not for me right now. At this point in my life. I needed that.


Hold my door, damnit! (1/2)

It’s raining and thunderstorming… My favorite ambiance to read and write in. It makes it difficult to think of things that upset me, but dont’ fret… with a little effort, I can come up with something:

  • Stupidity

In the sense of people (even me, but seldom [coughs]) making statements about things they know nothing about. I am avoiding politics, but it would be the easiest example for this upsetting bullet point. Lord Orange just hits it home every time. I lose respect and can’t take them seriously, and I don’t like that.

  • Not meeting my own goals or thinking I’m falling short

I went running this morning and the Florida weather is getting more and more humid and hot. I’m a slow runner and am just looking to improve a tiny bit and stay in shape, even if it means one second faster than last week… The one second is never enough though. I always aim higher and end up disappointed on most runs. I also set my alarm for 6.30 this morning to avoid the crazy heat, but snoozed until 8… way too late to run because the heat is almost unbearable for me. Tomorrow, I tell ya, tomorrow!

  • Cockroaches

So maybe Florida isn’t the State for me… I do like the weather in comparison to colder States (except Cali, hah! Surprise!) and  countries and if I don’t go out running. The downside is bugs… cockroaches. I now have bug spray against mosquitos (after a long discussion of me saying “oh, I don’t mind… it’s only a few months”… It’s not. It’s Florida!) So we took care of the mosquitos (there is not one spot on my body that does not have a mosquito or gnat bite). But cockroaches… they are creepy! I’m now armed with a spray can of Raid in every room, ready to fire. Bastards!

  • Ignorance

One of my pet peeves. I don’t like being very direct, but in a battle between directness and ignorance, directness wins. I think there is always a reason why we avoid certain things… for me, I avoid direct confrontation and arguments at all costs, except for the cost of ignorance. I don’t have change for that.

  • Impoliteness

Pisses me off really. I said I wasn’t direct, right? Well, as far as impoliteness goes, I just can’t tolerate it. I avoid impolite people, and I’m getting good at identifying them…which doesn’t help, but moves things along faster. I am old school and greatly appreciate, almost emphasize, when someone knows how to treat people. I believe it has a lot to do with your education and general… ummm… travelness?

It’s still raining. A distant thunder rumbles and lightning follows. I’m calm.


Day 26: Something that upsets you


Highpoint of My Day

  • Soft bells jingling me out of my slumber at 6:30am
  • Jump-started my thyroid with some good old Levothyroxine
  • Sat on the side of the bed for half an hour (as long as one is instructed to wait after taking thyroid meds… must obey directions)
  • Popped some electrolyte gummies as quick pre­-run fuel
  • Ran according to my training plan: 10 min warm-­up jog, 4 x 1600 meters at a 7:20 min/km pace, 10 min cool-down
  • Jumped over a turtle:
  • Inhaled 5 spider webs (that’s what you get for running first thing in the morning, before the other runners can get rid of the webs)
  • Traffic jam on the way home, but rocking out (softly) to Blank and Jones on my awesome Pandora station (yes, I rock out to meditation music)
  • Much deserved and needed shower (and diffused some tea tree oil… it works wonders)
  • Wanted breakfast, but headed out en route to Sarasota to see my sister
  • Cranky because I didn’t get coffee
  • Passed the Disney balloon (which just goes up and down, but is otherwise stationary) : instant mood-boost
  • Arrived at the hotel which was very welcoming with its zen scent and pink-and-white pillowed lobby
  • Met up with my sister and brother-in-law by the pool and relaxed for a bit
  • Decided we should head over to the beach
  • Couldn’t make up our minds where to eat, but opted for a Spanish Tapas Restaurant (should’ve gotten burgers)
  • My sister and I chose a Cuban dish “Ropa Vieja” which I suggested since I had it once in Spain and absolutely loved it
  • It was extraordinarily meh (like a soggy beef stew), but the Sangria did its job… Way to go me with my choice of food
  • The waitress dropped off lots of chocolate-covered mint balls though; not sure what that deal was, but she just kept them coming
  • Loaned my sister my second pair of sunglasses since she forgot hers
  • We strolled over to Lido Beach, but didn’t have a place to change into our bathing suits
  • Already at the beach, we debated where to change
  • Turned on our heels, quickly walked back to the car and had a short discussion about an expression involving sand in a female body part, meaning “annoyed” (don’t ask… )
  • Drove a few blocks
  • My brother-in-law just changed in the car
  • The rest of us chose the bathroom of a nearby shabby-chique hotel
  • Walked over to the white sandy beach where we spent a few hours baking in the sun
  • Had a nice talk with my sister, very relaxing
  • A walk turned into a quick swim through a patch of deeper water with strong currents before we climbed onto the sandbank
  • My sister found a sand dollar and we declared her the “SSDFA”, or something like that (again… don’t ask)
  • Made our way back (first to our towels, then to the hotel)
  • Changed clothes
  • Had a glass of wine (my sister had bought and chilled it, planning for tonight… I loved that)
  • Headed to the hotel restaurant in search of burgers (finally :D)
  • We switched the fries for a garden salad to be at least half nutrition conscious
  • My sister and I ran outside at 7:20 PM to catch the sunset
  • We were too early and ran back inside
  • Burgers weren’t there yet
  • Ran back outside at 7:40
  • Caught the sunset
  • We felt chilly, probably got too much sun
  • Burgers came after almost an hour, but were worth the wait
  • Back through the scented and pink­-pillowed lobby to the elevators up to the room
  • Finished our wine, told jokes of pirates and seals and other things
  • Made sure I had my frog (I have a stuffed frog which my stepdad gave to me before I came to the US; ­ I had left it at my sister’s place when I visited her not long ago)
  • I had also left my blanket which didn’t fit into her bag
  • Decided to get a new blanket
  • Not today though
  • We said auf Wiedersehen and promised to stay in touch and see each other soon
  • Realized in the car that I forgot my sunglasses
  • It’s ok, I have my frog back and she has a few days left in the sun
  • Way back home was easy, quick, and my nose is sunburned; I always look like a drunk because if anything gets a sunburn, it’s just my nose… might as well use it, no?! ;)
  • Washed the sand off my feet
  • Caught the intro to Baywatch, then drifted off; ­too much beach
  • Dreams of white sand and Spanish Restaurant chocolate-covered mint balls



Day 15: Bullet point your whole day

Bahama Jellyfish and Alaska Granola

I have been blessed with parents who’ve dragged me around travelling when I was a teenager. The latter being the reason why I say “dragged”. In retrospect, of course my point of view changed a little from when I was younger and I wish I had enjoyed it more. But the memories themselves are something that will definitely stick  forever.

We lived in Connecticut and had the opportunity to travel a lot. We went to Florida, Maine, Hawaii, the Bahamas, Aruba, Cancun, Jamaica, South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, among others. The two trips that stuck with me most were the Bahamas and Alaska. Come to think of it, there are crazy events that happened on each of these trips – say, in Florida for example, my stepdad was driving, with my sister and I in the backseat, mom in the front. We had been driving all day, and I insisted on passing through Jacksonville on our way to Orlando – because I was a huge Michael Jackson fan. He had nothing to do with Jacksonville except part of the name. Sounds legitimate though, right?!

We couldn’t find a motel no matter how hard we looked. Of course my sister and I didn’t look at all… we were being chauffeured. So when my stepdad pulled over to a convenience store to get something to drink, our natural reaction was “you’re not gonna stop NOW, are you?”. He was not amused – poor guy. His tiredness and frustration surfaced in the subsequent crazy car ride where he drove over the dividing island in the middle of the street and almost crashed into a road sign. Our heads were bobbing in the back from the bumps. The car had never been that silent. Of course at the time, we were a bit panicked, but now it’s hilarious. We found a motel eventually; and I loved its dirtiness, stinkiness, sticky blankets and broken air-conditioning.

The Bahamas were a dream – except that at 12 years old, I had developed a heavy crush on the bellboy who worked the Hyatt hotel in Miami just before we flew out to the island, and I missed him like crazy when we arrived at the Bahamas. Also legitimate, I believe. Plus, the bathroom in our little hut was so dirty, I remember spreading my arms and legs in the door frame and not wanting to enter. It was still one of the best vacations I’ve ever been on: My stepdad and I went snorkeling… you know, bonding. The water wasn’t very clear (not like you see in all the travel photos – I’m not sure what happened there), and we swam out and around a huge rock. We hadn’t even paid any attention to our surroundings or what else could have been swimming with or underneath us. So a couple of hundred meters out, we looked up and saw that we were surrounded by pink little jellyfish. Cute. Picture him staring at me, and me staring back at him, snorkels in mouths, panicking in silence. I don’t think I ever swam that quickly in my entire life ever again. Neither had he.

My stepdad also took mom and myself on a little trip on the island. This was probably the highlight. We had rented a car (this was in the 90’s and I’m not sure how far advanced the cars are there now, but at the time, the car itself already raised an eyebrow and knew it wouldn’t make it too much longer). For our jungle experience, stepdad took a right turn right onto an unpaved road. Deep into the woods. Windows open. The road started going uphill – so much so that we weren’t sure if we would suddenly fall off the other end without a warning.

I quickly had a reason for us to turn back though: It was rain season and the air was so thick and humid, it was almost unbearable… tropics. I felt a hair on my arm and brushed it off without even looking at it. The hair came back though. When I looked again, it had transformed into a black and white spider with a fairly thick body and endless Cindy Crawford legs. Six of them (legs, not spiders- oh G*d). As I keep retelling this story, the spider got bigger over the years. The only sound heard in the jungle that day was a 12 year old screaming her lungs out. My parents showed fantastic spontaneous reactions though: Mom panicked with me. My stepdad took a towel, threw it over the spider (while driving – I’m surprised he didn’t get whiplash), continued driving and threw it out the window. I’m sure there’s a pile of towels somewhere in that little forest in the Bahamas from poor tourists who did not prepare for uninvited animal passengers. Hilarious.

The trip to Alaska was a bit less eventful – it’s Alaska. We went through Seattle where it, big surprise, rained. To this day, mom has to listen to my stepdad and I telling her the story of how she missed the view when we flew over an Alaska mountain range. It was magical how the sun set and created all the colors of the rainbow. More colors and wonderfulness are added every time we describe the scene to her.

I love Alaska – mom wasn’t too fond of it, I think. We went whale watching, exploring glaciers and tried different restaurants, which were neatly tucked into the small streets of Homer. Walls and mountains of snow were everywhere we looked and it was freezing cold. I very much dislike boat rides (I’ve never been motion sick, but I’m always afraid that I may be… there’s a first time for everything. So whenever possible, I try to avoid them.), but we went whale watching, and saw some sea lions jumping out of the water next to us. Or it was the whales and the sea lions were sunbathing lazily in the sun. Yeah I think that sounds about right.

For the night, we wanted to rent a movie (again, in the 90’s, we had those crazy video stores)- the one in Homer had a great stock, but not the movie we wanted (Dances with wolves). So we looked for something similar and I remember my stepdad saying “I think I’ve seen this one” while he held up “The Fog”- one of Jaime Lee Curtis/Scream Queen’s first horror movies. I hadn’t, so why not… Mature choice for a 14-year-old.

Mom fell asleep and did not care to watch it, while my stepdad and I left the light on all night after that movie. I have to tell you, watching The Fog in Alaska definitely adds to the suspense and mystical atmosphere. I’m dying to go back!

In a different hotel, overlooking a lake, I was tired and hungry (which you may call “crappy mood”). While my parents went grocery shopping, I stayed in and consumed all the granola bars I could find. The rest of the trip, that’s what I carried around with me – to this day, I can’t look at a cherry granola bar without thinking of Alaska.

I have a long list of states and countries I’d still want to visit. There is so much to see, and just the experience and excitement of packing your bags, going to the airport, arriving at a hotel (or tent?), and seeing something you’ve never seen before, tasting new foods, trying new restaurants, walking new roads and breathing new air… But it’s not the same if you can’t share it with someone special…

(#My500Words Day)