Just Chillin’ and Bakin’

Filed Under (Vacation) by Jason L. on 09-05-2009

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For the past 2 days we have just been doing pretty much whatever. We wondered around the shops of Lincoln Road and picked up a new pair of sandals as well as some free ghiradeli chocolate samples. If you come to South Beach and are in the area, just walk in the door and they will offer you a sample. We also had dinner at Outback on Washington. We walked the streets with everyone else. It was only 9pm however all the ‘special’ people were out and about cubbin and working to impress. We headed back to our hotel and went to bed at a decent hour. Still in the most uncomfortable bed ever. Saturday we work up and ate breakfast at McDonalds. We then changed into our bathing suits and headed for the beach. We were at the beach from about noon to 3pm. At that point we could feel we were being baked. The beach really started to get crowded around 2pm, that must be the time to go. Right now we are just cooling down and watching one of the only 3 channels that works. For whatever reason our hotel doesn’t care to fix the satellite TV. They don’t seem to care about much at all. Don’t ever stay at the Greenview Hotel. The elevator is broken, the water feature in the front is broken, the satellite is broken, the lamp was broken, even the door lock doesn’t lock unless we push on it. The hallway is stinky and the clock is crocked and broken. There is a light out, the hall door is broken and swings freely putting a nice hold in the wall. Mandy and I took the back exit from the hotel — The emergency exit way and found it was covered in moss from the a/c units draining freely. Mandy slipped and nailed her head on one of the 1st floor a/c units. This is in addition to the front desk not giving a crap about their customers. I asked for extra towels. They said ‘well how many do you have now?’ I told them we had two. They then told me that is all you are allowed to have. Oh, notice the pictures of the compimentary breakfast. Yes those 3 items, thats is. Well the muffins were moldy. YUM! No juice, nothing but coffee to drink. What a freaking waste. The only good thing I can say is that this was the cheapest hotel except for another one which got half as good of a rating at tripadvisor.com

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Vacation Addiction

Filed Under (Vacation) by Jason L. on 25-07-2008

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City of Miami BeachImage via Wikipedia

This week we were supposed to go on a short vacation to California with my brother-in-law Nathan and his wife. They had been given free hotel stay in San Diego and invited us to share it with them. Something happened though and they didn’t get the vouchers or something. Mandy and I are bummed and really wanted to go. We were even looking at booking a cruise after the hotel stay. After our cruise earlier this summer we can’t resist.

Yesterday I was online at travelocity and found a great deal for the two of us to go back to South Beach. Hotel and air from SLC to MIA was only $909 total!. By the time I went back to show Mandy, the deal was dead and it was twice as much. So today I keep looking for something somewhere for less than $1k where we can relax for a week before going back to school at the new UVU.

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Day 12 – Debarkation

Filed Under (Vacation) by Jason L. on 01-06-2008

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As Mandy put it, today is the day that all of us would be de-barked. Ruf! We were going to get our luggage packed the night before, but ended up partying late in the casino, playing uno in nessa’s cabin and enjoying a last chocolate ice cream cone. We spent some tender time on the bow of the ship holding each other and enjoying the stars. We knew this was the end. Passing out in our beds, we expected to get up early enough to pack and get ready.

Waking up around 8am, we thought we had 3 hours before our limo was to arrive. That’s right, we were taking a limo! The rest of our group had arranged a limo to take them to and from the port to the Miami international airport. We opted to just take the bus and taxi to the port the first half since we were so close to the port already. The hotel I booked for after the cruise had a free shuttle from the airport, so it wasn’t a bad thing to leave us at the airport.

On the shuttle ride there was only 1 other person riding with us. His name was Jason also from Texas. He was just headed back to the beach for a few hours since he missed his flight. It was pretty cool to have someone to talk to.

We arrived to our hotel after only a short 15 minute ride. Compare that with our bus ride adventure from before. Lets just say that in every way, this hotel was a much better deal. The people at the hotel were very nice and since we arrived at just after 11am, they offered to hold our suitcases in the basement until we could check in at 2pm. We grabbed out swimsuits and towels and headed to the beach. It was very sunny at hot, the water was nice and warm. There were people everywhere. Sundays must be the popular day to go to the beach. Just after 2pm we headed back to the hotel and checked in. Our hotel was on the second floor and the room is super chic. Everything is intreging right to the red ceiling. We showered off the sweat, salt and sand, then took a nice nap.

We woke up and headed to McDonald’s for cheap nasty food. Its not that nasty, but we are getting pretty sick of double cheeseburgers. At least Mandy is entertained by hot fudge Sundays. Afterward we walked to the boardwalk and walked along the beach together in the sunset light. It is amazing how the sunset attracts even more homeless people to the beaches. By 8pm, the beach is nearly deserted except for the occasional spooning couple.

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Day Three – South Beach Hotel

Filed Under (hot deals, Vacation) by Jason L. on 23-05-2008

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Today we intended to wake up bright and early to watch the sunrise on the beach. That obviously didn’t happen. We woke up around noon again, and went to McDonalds to eat (again). Afterwards we walked back to our hotel on 22nd and collins and changed into our swimming suits. Our hotel is just a block and a half from the beach, so it only takes a few minutes to get there. Not having a car hasn’t been a big deal, we have made great use of our legs and the public transportation system.

We pretty must just hung out at the beach until it started to rain, then we headed back and change again, then walked to mcDonalds again to eat. We honestly need to find some variety. Afterwards we walked down a

different street, Washington. Down there are more options for us to eat, too bad we didn’t discover them sooner. Tomorrow we plan on waking up early enough to get breakfast so we can stop eating double bacon cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets.

This evening it was obvious that it was Friday night. Everywhere we went there were limos or shuttles unloading party-ers onto the streets. It is definitely black beach week as they call it. Rap music and fancy cars everywhere. I saw a couple Bentleys and Lamborghinis.

Tomorrow we depart on the Carnival Truimph for a 8 day cruise. We will be back on Sunday June 1st. I am pretty certain we will not have internet access because it is so expensive. Tonight I booked a deal on Expedia.com for the Catalina hotel just a few blocks from here. It was a steal at $53.00 a night plus $30 off coupon plus $50 mastercard by mail. Compare that to our hotel which I payed just over a hundred a night, and they quoted me $155 if we wanted to come back.

Its one AM here now, I don’t have a lot of time to blog since we are going to bed now. Nessa and K will be departing on their flight in about an hour. We are going to meet them at the port of Miami. I’ve got the bus schedule that should take us right there. We are taking the S bus for 24 minutes from Collins to N America Way. Wish us luck. We will try to take tons of pictures. Love ya –Jason and Mandy.

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Day Two – 1st Full day in South Beach

Filed Under (Vacation) by Jason L. on 22-05-2008

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Sleeping in our minimalist hotel room proved to not be as relaxing as we had hoped. The bed was pretty hard and besides sheets and three pillows, there was only a small throw we could use to cuddle with. The room temperature was acceptable, though it took forever for it to cool down, and we ended up really cold overnight. The walls were thin and we could hear everything. Being on the first floor right by the front patio, we were able to hear people talking all night and early morning.

I had a bit of trouble getting a wireless signal and later found out that it was only available in the lobby. We did get connected long enough to find information about where food was located, and proceeded to wonder the streets in search of food. This would be the first of many McDonald meals.

To my amazement, they did have a $1 value menu at the South Beach McDonalds. I really expected it to be significantly more because of the location. At this McDonalds the drive thru window is a walk up window, there isn’t a real drive through. Instead of the $1 double cheese burger, I opted to try something we don’t have back home. For fifty cents more I got a double cheeseburger with bacon. It was pretty good but doesn’t compare to Wendy’s whatsoever.

With our stomachs full of cheap greasy food, it was clear we needed to exercise a bit. We walked up and down Lincoln Ave, most of which is a pedestrian mall of sorts. There are many shops along these few blocks, including upscale restaurants which lined the sidewalk with large umbrellas. It was a pleasant relief to walk in the shade and enjoy the fans intended for diners. Most of the shops weren’t of interest to us, our time was mainly spent window shopping.

After our fair share of oogling at stuff we can’t afford to buy, we walked back to our hotel. It seemed like such a long walk in the sun, my forehead must have lost at least 4oz of sweat in the process. We then got our bathing suits on and left our room key with the front desk. The walk to the beach was very short. It was just across Collins Ave, probably a block and a half total.

The beach was a beautiful sight, there is a nice boardwalk area for joggers and walkers that runs parallel to the beach, just between the beachfront hotels and the sand and blue skies. Lifeguard towers are positioned up and down the beach, all of which were staffed and had flags warning of dangerous marine life. I’m not sure what they meant by dangerous marine life, but it didn’t seem to stop anyone else from swimming. All I could do it hope that if there were sharks, they would have closed the beach completely.

We claimed our square of sand in the area between the chairs and umbrellas and the water. Umbrellas and chairs are owned by the beachfront hotels, though I have heard you can rent them for $5 a day. We ran out to the water and were pleasantly surprised at the temperature of the water. It was warmer than most heated pools; it seemed more like a hot tub. We walked right in and stumbled across about 5 feet of sharp rocks and coral. After that area it was nice soft sand and even got shallower as we went out. There was a large sandbar that stretched at least 50 feet in either direction. This is where we spent most of our time.

I remember reading the review about our hotel and how some people were disgusted by nudity on the beach. I looked around expecting to see something since this was in fact South Beach, but there wasn’t anything more than the occasional g-string (nasty by the way). We spent the next few hours on the beach or in the water, just having fun relaxing and enjoying the view. It was pretty neat to see all the large hotels right against the beach, stretching as far as the eye could see. We did see a few crazy people running into the water with their tops off, and a few sunbathing. Most of them weren’t very attractive IMO, and for sure, nothing hotter than my wife.

The beach pretty much empties out around 6pm when it starts to cool off and the sun isn’t direct enough to make you look like a California raisin. We stayed until literally we were the only ones in the water for about a quarter mile. Making our way back to the hotel we discovered the boardwalk fills up with bums in the evening hours. If you are crazy, homeless or just obnoxious, this is your time and place.

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