12 Days Later/Miami

Happy Saturday Morning! I am home relaxing after a pretty eventful, last 2 weeks.  I am officially a year older now.  I got to celebrate with my family and friends at work.

After weeks of limbo, I found out I am able to stay with my team at work which is what I wanted because of how close I am to my team especially my boss, Andrea who I care about deeply and since the account has been like a “baby” to me.

I was there on this account from Day 2 (not a typo) and have been the long tenured person on the Account and felt like I was a part (though admittedly a minor one) of why the Account grew in the first place and didn’t want to leave it yet as we are exponentially growing and I want to be a part of where I think it is going to be.

I went through so much on that Account which involved late hours, sweat, tears (literally and figuratively), constant uncertainty of the future especially when things had looked really, really bad and self-doubts on my ability.  But I got through it and became better for it.

I got back from Miami on Monday after a 6-day trip. The Miami trip was exactly what I really needed after the last few months.

Day 1, 4/11: I woke up around 5 am to prepare to leave for JFK Airport. I double checked my bags, ate some Honey Bunches of Oats, talked to my Mom and took the train to the Airport

As I was on the train heading towards the Airport, I blasted some music on my iPhone. Couldn’t help but lipsynch to Heavy D and the Boyz, “Now That We Found Love”. I love that freaking song.

I texted back and forth with Sarah who’s one of my new supes on the Account as I got to the airport. I love Sarah, she’s really awesome!

I checked my main luggage, got through TSA with no body cavity searches (Woohoo!) and made it to the gate with a hour to spare before I boarded.

I killed some time reading on my iPad in the terminal. I couldn’t help but notice people all around the gates with Wendy’s french fries and it was like 9:30am. I was curious and looked for the Wendy’s and my suspicion was confirmed… THEY SERVE WENDY’S LUNCH EARLY!!! Knowing my flight was from 11am to 2:05pm, that it was Delta flight meaning, no lunch I decided to take advantage. I got myself their Chicken Nuggets and fries. It felt sooooo goooood.

I boarded the plane and was immediately relieved the plane had Wi-Fi though you had to pay for it, which was of no issue to me. Anything to distract me from my unease of flying is welcome including free booze though being Delta, they didn’t have that.

I landed around 1:45pm in Miami and I couldn’t help but notice as we landed how bright the sun was in Miami when the plane landed.

I made a bee-line for the baggage claim with my backpack and got to the Taxi Stand as soon as you can say “Holy Fucking Shit I am in Miami”!

I call my mom to tell her I landed safe, post it on my Facebook cause I have to rub it in that I am in Miami (of course) and got on a cab on my way to Miami Beach.

I get to my hotel, which was the “Dream Miami Beach Hotel” on Collins Avenue in Miami Beach. I check in with no issues and got to my suite which is freaking sweeeeeet especially the big comfy bed.

As you would expect, I jumped the shit out of that bed.

After jumping on the big comfy bed, I took a shower to relax. After I got out and got dressed I decided to walk around South Beach to get my bearings of Miami.

My first destination was Puerto Sagua, which is a Cuban Restaurant in South Beach noted for their great Cuban Sandwiches. I get there and couldn’t help but notice the croquettas someone ordered. It looked so good, so I ordered two as well with my Cuban Sandwich.

Man that sandwich was good.

I ended up afterward going to the big Walgreens nearby. To avoid Mini-Bar costs, I bought the essentials needed for my hotel stay: Ginger Ale, A Big Bottle of Water, Candy and Chips.

I drop it off at my room, did a quick peak at the Hotel Rooftop Bar/Pool area  (it looked awesome!) and then I decided to walk around South Beach more during nighttime.

Miami Beach during the day is amazing. Miami Beach during the night is beautiful especially with the beautiful lighting of the retro boutique hotels that dominate the Beach Area. I walk down Collins and go through the Lincoln Road Mall which is a stretch of shops, restaurants with outdoor cafes and it ends with a big shopping complex/movie theaters.

I am in awe of how the outdoor cafes for the restaurants are set-up in the middle of the street as you walk pass. As I make the end of the mall and have a Iced Grande Soy Caramel Macchiato, I turn around. I head towards the beachwalk that leads to Ocean Drive and walk down, it’s was around 1opm. I started to take pictures as I got to Ocean Drive of all those pretty boutique hotels and how they light up that strip and seeing the live bands play… Though it was plenty of noise as I walk, it almost felt meditative in terms of how silently awed I was. If that makes sense? I on the way back to the hotel made a pit stop to the famed Clevelander Hotel when I see their bar has the BIG Knicks-Bucks game on the TV. I drop in and have a beer to watch the game. Knicks are down by 8 in the fourth only for Melo to carry them and the inconsistent JR Smith to hit the game clinching 3. I celebrate with fellow Knicks fans at the bar then go back to the Hotel.

Day 2, 4/12: I wake-up around 7am. Brush my teeth, showered, jumped on comfy bed and made my way to the “News Cafe” for breakfast. “News Cafe” in my research got a lot of love from Foodies like me for Breakfast. I sit outside with my sunglasses on on the strip and ate delicious French Toast and drank some Coffee and Orange Juice.

I rested my food in the Hotel and got my bathing suit, put some sunblock on, put on my J.Crew Straw Fedora Hat from the Jason Mraz Collection (kidding), got my flippy floppies and went to the beach.

Because I am staying at the Dream, they have an area for beach chairs and umbrellas on the beach so I register at the cabana on the beach. I get set on my beach chair and immediately run for the beach.

Now I will admit, I am not really a beach person. I am really insecure about taking off my shirt cause I am kind’ve of fatty to be honest and something about walking on sand bugs me.

Since I am at Miami Beach…How can I not go to the beach despite my insecurities? So I just said “Fuck it” and ran to the Beach like I was Hasslehoff and man it felt really, really good.

The ocean was beautiful with a nice blue color, the water wasn’t too cold. It felt peaceful and relaxing to be in the water. I practiced my underwater martial arts including reenacting moves from “Mortal Kombat”, “Bloodsport” and “Karate Kid’s I, II and III” though I near pulled a hammy trying Van Damme’s split in the water.

After I got out, I relaxed on the beach on my chair reading on my iPad with the umbrella covering the sun and I am listening to some Hip Hop

I stood for a few hours then made my way back to the Hotel to shower and find a place to eat for lunch. When getting back I found out after checking my phone that my friend Gwen who lives in Miami wanted to get dinner with me and catch-up. She moved back to Miami about a year and  a half ago.

I found a place to eat for lunch at the Lincoln Road Mall area I had mentioned earlier, Pizza Rustica. The sun is out and in full effect and it’s probably the hottest day I was in Miami. The sweat is  going down on me as I walk to the place.

I got to Pizza Rustica and ate outside (of course). I had a personal thin crust pepperoni pizza which was awesome! As I sat down I did people-watching with my sunglasses on. I couldn’t help but crack up I saw a group of Roided Bodybuilders walking by in the mall. They are so big, but they all have little tiny legs like a stick figure’s legs like they forgot you’re suppose to exercise your legs also other than your guns and abs!

I ate my Pizza, walk around the beach for a bit to relax my food. I got back to the hotel and put on my bathing suit and sunblock (cause I don’t want to be a Snooki Potato) again to go to the Rooftop Bar/Pool.

When I get to the pool, I found a nice place to sit near the pool. and decided to read some more and have a Mojito. I am kinda annoyed, there’s a bunch of loud, and obnoxious gay guys in the pool screaming like inconsiderate jerks to the others on the pool trying to relax.

I am rolling my eyes as I try to read, others share my feelings including the lesbian couple on the chairs next to me (not that it matters but both are really, really hot lipstick types…I stress really, really hot). We talk about how those guys are “assholes” and share Foodie tips since they are fellow Foodies.

We are both about to leave when those douchebags finally leave the area which relieves everybody on the roof deck. Things of course, became more relaxing and I took a dip in the pool…

I get back to my room and shower. I relax a bit until my friend Gwen picks me up at the hotel to get something to eat.

We got to this Mexican place called “Lolita”. It’s a beautiful place in a small converted Miami apartment complex. They have Ivy everywhere and a projector with old 40’s movies played against a wall.

We catch-up on how it’s been with each of us while drinking margaritas and eating chips and our food (I got the brisket tacos which were delish). A lot has seemed to happen to us in between the last year and a half. We call it a night, she drops me back at the hotel. I watch some playoff hockey and go to sleep.

Day 3, 4/13: I slept really, really well. I didn’t get up until 11am. I immediately get up and make my way to a great breakfast place I found called “The Front Porch Cafe”. I walk to the place. It’s a nice outdoor cafe with all these blue umbrellas around shielding customers from the heavy sun yet you still feel like you are outside.

I kick back with my iPad to read my morning news (NY Times and Sporting News) and eat a freaking delicious Eggs Benedict and coffee/OJ.

I get back to the hotel to get ready for the beach again.

When I get back to the beach, other than a few dips in the beach and doing more underwater martial arts. I am mostly on my chair because I wanted to listen to Yankees opening day on my iPad. I am fortunate their’s a hotel along the beach with a really strong wi-fi signal for me to listen to the game.

I stay there for a few hours and decide to head back to the hotel. It looks like it is about to rain based on the winds and the clouds rapidly closing so I made a bee-line back to the hotel to beat the rain and watch the remaining game in the room.

My instinct was right, as soon as I got to the room, it started to pour. I chill in the room and watched the end of the game… YANKEES WIN!

I chillax, shower and get dressed. I am going to the Miami Heat game tonight. I leave with a few hours to spare. I take the bus which is excrucatingly to wait for. It’s never on time! It’s still raining and the hotel umbrella sucks so I am really wet.

By the time I get to the arena. The rain has passed but I need a new shirt. Now I was always going to buy a shirt at the game because I am a sports fan who collects vintage tees, caps and jerseys. There are only two teams I will not wear anything for out of pure hatred…Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots.

Please note: I hate the Miami Heat. I loathe them deeply ever since Pat Riley left the Knicks after the 1995 to become the GM/Coach and culiminating in the 1997 Eastern Conference Semifinals when Heat PF (and a Goon) PJ Brown bodyslammed Knicks point guard Charlie Ward instigating a brawl which key Knicks players got suspended costing us the series and I even hate them more when they grabbed LeBron James and Chris Bosh last season to join fellow Superstar Dwayne Wade to become a “Superteam” though the Mavericks kicked their ass in the finals.

But I like the logo and colors and just because I wear the t-shirt doesn’t mean I don’t hate their guts. It’s more of an appreciation to Sports and great team colors/logos and it’s something I am very serious about in terms of collecting.

The arenas is really nice with a nice space-age art deco look fitting the aesthetics of Miami. Nice wide open concourses with interesting food/bar drinks. I have a “Swish Punch” drink from the Bacardi Bar which is Bacardi rum mixed with Pineapple juice and a touch of lemon juice and have Chicken Nachos.

I had great seats about 12 rows from courtside by the Heat Bench. The scoreboard I noticed was really cool and the seat colors are really cool with the orange mixed with the reds in a nice design. The pre-game intros were impressive but not at the levels of NY Knicks or Boston Celtics.

I watch the game while having another Swish Punch and can’t help but notice the Heat Fans suck. They are not knowledgeable about the game at all and only really cheer on the often amazing offensive play by LeBron or D-Wade. It bugs me because Knicks and other teams fans atleast casually appreciate the game. We live and die by every possession… These guys only care for the LeBron alley oops. They probably don’t even know the first 2 guys off the Heat Bench (Mike Miller and Norris Cole). It really bugged me.

As much as I hate him, seeing LeBron James in person as opposed to seeing him play on TV is an amazing visual experience. So tall, so fast and you can clearly tell his amazing court vision especially this sweet no-look behind the back pass to Bosh for a dunk as he was posting up. Dude is most talented player in the league though he doesn’t have that “Killer instinct” that Jordan, Magic, Bird and even D-Wade has. He’s more concerned about “amazing people” than “vanquishing his enemies”.

The Heat blowout the Bobcats. It’s so bad that even former Knicks fatass overpaid Center, Eddy Curry enters the game with 2 minutes left.

I head back to the hotel and get some sleep.

Day 4, 4/14: It’s a huge rainstorm outside in the morning. I can’t go to the beach 😦 I don’t want to stay in the hotel all morning even during the rainstorm. So I brave it out and go back to the Front Porch Cafe to breakfast to say I was soaking wet, would be an understatement.

The good thing with the umbrellas all over is I can still eat outside and read on my iPad. I order a California Omlette (Swiss Cheese, Mushrooms, Tomatos) with a side of Bacon, Coffee/OJ. As I read and drink my coffee, waiting for my food. A really hot British lady with a “dim sum” cart rolls be and asks if I want a Bloody Mary. I am initially not interested because I don’t want to spend too much because I am going to the Marlins game later but when she tells me it’s free and unlimited… why the fuck not?!

So I have my bloody mary and my breakfast which as always was delicious and head back to the hotel. I drink a lot of water because I know I will be drinking later.

It’s still raining which sucks. I chill in the Hotel and watch TV. The next Yankees game is on national TV though they get their butts kicked. The rain ends and I give it an hour or two and go up to the hotel pool to chill. I don’t go in but just sit outside. It’s partly cloudy outside. I decide to have a Watermelon Mojito by the pool.

When I am done, I go back down, shower and put on the Marlins Jersey I bought weeks before and make my way to the new Marlins Park in Little Havana via Bus (again, it’s still freaking slow).

I get there with enough time to spare and go around. When I got there I can’t help but notice how beautiful the New Ballpark is from the outside exterior. It’s Space-Aged, Art-Deco with a retractable roof.

When I bought the seats, I got the Diamond Club seats which are right behind the plate. I call those seats or courtside seats at the B-Ball games, “The Nicholson Seats”  in honor of Lakers superfan and Acting Legend Jack Nicholson who sits courtside at every Lakers game he can go to.

The Diamond Club has a seperate entrance which leads to a luxury dining area. Because you paid so freaking much for the seats, they provide you with a luxury buffet to eat/drink (including Alcohol) before the game that is freeeeeeeeee!

Being free… I have 2 plates (loaded of course) and 2 Blue Moons including a cheeseburger slider was awesome, the mini BBQ Brisket sandwich amazing, Lobster Mac and Cheese that was addictive…. As I was eating I saw, Jeffrey Loria

The coolest thing as I make my way to my seat, they have a nice station set-up between the restaurant area and the Diamond Club restaurant. From that station, you can grab as many snacks (Popcorn, Caramel Popcorn, Choco Popcorn, Cracker Jacks, Peanuts, Potato Chips, Hot Pretzels, etc.) and soft drinks/water to your seats which they re-fill every inning if you want more. I grab a couple of waters mindful of the alcohol intake I already had.

As I get to my seat, I can’t help but notice how beautiful the field looks. It’s night, the sky is clear. The roof is open, I love the giant scoreboards, the seating and the field’s dimensions then I see the one annoying ugly thing/gripe I had about the Ballpark, the moving Pop-Art Statue in Centerfield. When there is a home run for the Marlins, the statue is turned on and there are neon lights that go on, mechanical marlins, flamingos and fish move around and water shoots out of it. It’s sacrilege to me and baseball fans. I can’t get passed how much I hate it and hope there are no home runs.

I watch the game and after enough free waters, I order another Blue Moon via the waitress by our area and I walk in to grab a Popcorn. Marlins initially are ahead in the game.

I chillax watching the game  with my Blue Moons and was pleased the ballpark had wi-fi for visitors which allowed me to monitor the Rangers playoff game.

I am pissed when the Rangers lose but pleased with how beautiful the ballpark looked and watching baseball.

It goes into the 9th, Marlins are up by 3 in a save situation. They call in their high-paid new closer, Heath Bell to close the game against the shitty Astros. Heath Bell ends up blowing the lead and the Astros came back to take the lead in the 9th after Logan Morrison dropped a short line drive. Marlins had a chance to tie the game but lost.

When the game ended I met up with two friends, Em and Teddy. I knew from an old agency to meet up in South Beach for some beers a great dive bar they know. They are both great girls who moved to Miami, a few months back. We catch-up and drink more. I am a tad sauced by this point and they drive me back to the hotel. Being mindful, I have some water, take an advil and go to sleep.

Day 4, 4/15: I wake-up with a slight hangover because of my foresight of having some water and advil before I slept. I hydrate, take another advil and make my way for my last trip to the beach 😦

It’s really hot and the sun is out! Fortunately I have sunblock. I have one last dip in the beach for a few hours. Once I am done I head back to the Hotel to get ready for another Marlins game, this time a day game.

I am on my way and the 2nd bus i have to take to the ballpark is taking forever! (shocking I know) An Astros fan just as frustrated as me offers to split a cab with me. I take up his offer and we head for the ballpark. He has that deep Texan accent. We talk as we are heading to the ballpark. He is from Houston on business in Miami and wanted to checkout the new ballpark.

We go our seperate ways when we get there.

My seats are a bit more modest for this game though they are few rows back from first base (i know, still expensive). Because of the sun and humidity, they wisely close the roof.

The game is awesome though Omar Infante and Hanley Ramirez set off the Ugly Home Run Statue thingy…ugh. It goes extra innings…both teams are down to their last relievers until Hanley Ramirez wins it on a walk-off hit.

After the game, I decide for my last thing to do in South Beach is to go to this place my bestie Liz told me about called “Versailles”, a legendary Cuban Restaurant for dinner.

I really had no patience for the bus, it was daylight and I had my google map how to get there from the ballpark. So I walked down Little Havana for about 15-20 minutes to the place.

I wait in line to eat. I am regretting  my spanish influency (except the dirty words, of course) cause everyone is speaking spanish and I have no idea what they are saying… Am I am full 100% Puerto Rican!

I finally get to my table and order the Jamon Croquettes (per Liz’s suggestion) and Arroz Con Pollo! I people-watched still regretting my lack of spanish skills.

The food as expected is sooooooooo freaking good! I pay the bill and grab a Cafecito from the cafe outside and I make my way back to the hotel.

I get to the Hotel, I pack my bags so I don’t have to worry about it in the morning since  my flight is at 7am. Kinda sad to be leaving tomorrow but  ready to go back home.

Watch some baseball on TV, set my alarms and I went to sleep.

Day 6, 4/16: I got up at 3:30am. Did a final check of my bags and made my way downstairs to check out.

I checked out and paid the hotel bill. I was suprised how cheaper than I thought it was considering what I bought at the hotel.

Waited for the Super Shuttle which was 15 mins late though I had time and got to the airport with no other issue. I got my Grande Soy Caramel Macchiato and a Blueberry Muffin.

The plane was delayed about a half hour because of overbooking. Apparently they took International passengers from Brazil to allow an early connecting flight to NYC before  their scheduled flight later and overbooked the plane.

I boarded the plane, was in my assigned seat with my bag checked and my backpack in the overhead compartment.

A stewardess comes up to me and asks me If I can take a later flight because of the overbooking. I was willing to be flexible only if they assured me the next flight to JFK or LaGuardia Airport. They had told me they wouldn’t be able to fly me until midnight or tomorrow morning and offered a hotel voucher.

I refused politely and explained to her why. I have to work the next day and wanted to rest. I am open to switching only if I can leave on a sooner flight to NYC. I was already boarded in my seat and wanted to stay on the plane, and couldn’t she ask one of the international passengers to take another flight or the flight they were scheduled to take.

The stewardess, this middle-aged blonde witch came off offended like I called her “bitch” which I absolutely did not but that was how she reacted to my polite refusal. This time demanding I get off the plane, my fellow passengers defended me and were telling her to leave me alone.

So then she leaves and makes a bee-line for a passenger behind me and talks to him. I don’t have to be a genius to figure out that is the Air Marshall and I am concerned I am going to be kicked off the plane for doing nothing wrong.

I see the Air Marshall speak though I couldn’t hear because of the other passengers talking around me. I read his lips and it looked like he had said “Leave the kid alone”. She was furious walked down the row and convinced one of the transfers who wasn’t suppose to be on the plane in the first place to take their scheduled flight.

The plane finally leaves and though I was annoyed by what happened. I let it go and just read on my iPad.

Later on the plane. I am relaxed, that witch is with the beverage cart, she asks me for a drink nicely. It appears she “let it go” and I ask for an orange juice. As she hands it to me… her bitchiness comes out!

“You didn’t have to be so difficult, you know” in a her bitchy voice. I am a calm person. I can get stressed out at times but I never lose my cool with people but considering what happened, the fact it was over and that this bitch had to bring it up again. I decided to let it out….

“It’s over. I didn’t do anything wrong and it’s not my fault you guys overbooked the plane. Why don’t you just give me my drink and stop acting like a fucking bitch until we land”…

As soon as I let it out of my mouth I regretted what I had said to her not because I called her a bitch but because I was convince she would go to the Air Marshall with what I had just called her though she instigated it.

She hands me my drink and pushes the cart towards the Marshall. I am nervous and afraid to turn around to see her talk to the Marshall. My fellow passengers near me,  me they will defend me and that she started it.

10 nervous minutes pass and the Air Marshall is walking towards me (he’s this tall white guy built like a linebacker). I am certain I am in trouble. He walks up to my seat in the aisle, pats me on the shoulder and just gives me reassuring glance  saying to me “Don’t worry about it, you did nothing wrong and that stewardess is a bitch” and just walked on by.

Whew, I almost pooped my pants there. I wanted to get another OJ but I was a tad concerned a certain bitchy flight attendant wouldn’t provide me one unless she spit on it.

It was smooth flying on the way back and my dad picked me up and drove me home. I made a decision to never fly Delta ever again.

I rested the remainder of the day in my apartment, caught up on my DVR and my work emails.

The Miami trip other than the slight snag on the way back like my trip to San Francisco last summer again was the right trip at the right moment. I had a lot of fun in the sun and I got to relax/refresh myself.

Sometimes in life you just need that “time off in a new place, doing new things” once and awhile or life is going to boring or frustrating and you end up being a really bitchy stewardess.

-V. for Vinnie

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