30 April 2007

Miami the Third

My favorite thing about being in Miami was going to South Beach.

After the last day of the conference, we wanted to celebrate our success and decided on a nice meal down in South Beach. We dined at Wish, at The Hotel. It was the perfect Miami Beach setting (on 8th and Collins, I believe). It was a warm night, with just the slightest bit of humidity - it had been raining all day - very light breeze. The outside terrace was set under lush trees with strings of lights giving us something to read by. The food was delicious, and as decadent as our surroundings. Two courses and a few drinks later, we were all pleasantly full.

We were also ready to dance. Led by a frequent visitor, we first visited Mango's, a must for any tourist. We watched as very drunk out-of-towners banged into one another in a sort of dancing motion. We got a drink and checked out the bar top dancers. And we danced a bit.

After that, we headed down to a hotel. We thought it was just a few blocks away, but it turned out to be about 12 plus! Not that far, but in 4-inch heels, not the easiest walk! Going down there, I was in awe of all the art deco buildings. Talk about inspiring. The curves of the buildings, with the colors and lights, are so sexy. That with the perfect night air, it is no wonder people are in awe of the place! We ended up at a hotel bar, sitting on the beds next to the pool, sipping on champagne until around 1am.

Perfectly lovely.

29 April 2007

Miami Parte Dos

One of the great discoveries I made while in Miami was the bus system. When I am traveling for work, I usually don't think or need to use public transportation. I tend to stay within a small radius of the hotel, or walk a lot, or just have no time to do anything but work.

This time, however, I needed to go to Kinkos (ugh...a whole other post). After looking at their website, I thought there was one right across from the hotel. Turns out, I didn't read close enough and it was just a shipping center. In a move that didn't make sense to me, there was no Kinkos downtown. The closest was in Miami Beach, a mere 5 miles away.

After calling them with my order, I realized they weren't going to do it right and I headed down there. So I hopped in a cab.

5 miles and 20$ later, I was there. They told me I'd have to come back at least 2 more times... one to check the proof, and another to pick up the copies. Calculating this, it was awfully expensive. So I started walking back, not planning to go the whole way but just thinking I could defray some costs. Then I noticed there was a bus stop right in front of me. Upon looking at the little map, I saw that it got me within one block of my hotel. So rather than 20$, I was going to pay 1.50$ and maybe take 10 minutes longer.

My boss generously told me to take a cab... but I couldn't reconcile this in my budget traveler heart. Plus, it didn't seem to stop every block like our buses here, so it really didn't take much longer. It was great.

I ended up only having to go back one more time; thankfully Kinkos got it right the first time. But thanks to Kinkos, I was able to find a cheap, good alternative!

28 April 2007

Bienvenido a Miami

I have been traveling quite a bit for work of late.

After the dog-losing visit to Vegas, I headed out to Miami. I had only been there one other time in my life, when I was about 12, so I didn't remember much other than the severe police presence in the mall attached to our hotel.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the city has changed for the better!

Since I was there for work, I got to stay at a lovely hotel right on the water - the Intercontinental. It sat right on the cruise harbor, so were I there on a set sail or welcome home day, I would have seen the cruise ships and the travelers in all their glory.

In an attempt to make my blog more helpful, especially when it comes to travel, here are some of my first tips. First, I strayed from my norm and took US Airways (still a Star Alliance partner). It was nice, but lacked the leg space I am used to in United Economy Plus. The check in/boarding were all surprisingly easy.

Upon my arrival in Miami, I took a cab to the hotel. the tough part for me was being unsure my cab driver understood where I was going. His English was very gruff with a strong French-Caribbean accent. And he kept laughing at something, either his friends that we'd just left or me or ?? I felt a little at odds, since I usually chat with the taxi driver, and I also had no clue where we were going. Cab from the airport was around 28$ with tip.

I quickly crashed upon arriving as it was around 10 or so in the evening. That's one thing about west to east travel...you kill a whole day in the plane!

01 April 2007

Let's Talk Trash

Until I had a dog, I never noticed how much trash people dump on the ground. It saddens and disgusts me that people are so careless in how they treat our home.

Because Luca has his nose in everything, I have to constantly watch him to make sure he isn't picking up any disgusting or potentially dangerous (to him) items. As we walk, I see napkins, food remnants, fast food bags, plastic bags, snack items, human/animal excrement, liquor bottles, needles, condom wrappers...basically, you name it, I have likely seen it sitting under a tree.

I don't understand how it is ok to dump your trash on the ground when there is a garbage can ten feet away. Actually, regardless of the location of the can, I don't understand why people do it. I guess they have no pride in where they live. They also must not understand how these items can be dangerous, especially to children and pets, who like to touch and explore everything.

It makes me sad that we have so little respect for the earth that provides so much for us.