Miami, 16th - 20th May 2010
After the shuttle launch we chilled out at a place called Cocoa Beach for a couple of days before heading down to Miami. I'd found a hostel on the internet which had won the Best Hostel award in 2009 and it was 2 streets away from Miami Beach so we thought we'd give it a go. We'd also up until now always stayed in either a private room in a hostel (with shared bathroom) or in a motel, so we thought we would try staying in a girls dorm. It cost just over $100 each for 4 nights and included all meals, so we were well happy. :)
We had a pretty long journey down to Miami as there was an oil spill on a bridge over the train tracks so we had to get off at Fort Lauderdale and get a transfer coach to Miami before continuing our journey. We arrived at the hostel about 8pm on Sunday night and realised we had just landed in a party zone! We went for a look around Miami Beach, got some pizza and just sat there people watching. Miami is very much like a grown up version of Ibiza and if possible, even more glam. It's plastic surgery central and all the girls are stunning (even the mannequins have boobs jobs!) all the guys look like they're gay, and everyone's driving around in a Mustang. I've absolutely fallen in love with this car and am wondering if I could get one imported when I get home (and get a job of course! Lol)
We went out the next day and found Miami Ink which is now called Miami Ink Love Hate. We took a couple of pics of the outside and then went in. We looked through all of the books but it was completely unorganised so we had to look through about 30 books to see if there was anything we liked. We were both pretty disappointed to be honest. On the show they actually take the time to talk to their clients and create designs. None of the guys from the TV show were there, it was in new premises a couple of doors down from the original one and the guys that were there thought they were rock stars, so we left pretty quickly.
We also booked up a tour of the Everglades and went out on a giant fan boat. These were much bigger than we were expecting and had 2 fans on the back of each boat. The guide sat up the top, apparently to avoid the Gators who can jump half their body length and could easily get into the boat! We were all given ear plugs cos they were so noisy and Selena burnt her arse on the black leather seat which was even hotter than the red steps we sat on in Times Square with the lights underneath. It was a really hot day and the humidity was high, so blasting through the Everglades was a welcome relief to the heat. We had been driving around for about 10 minutes before we saw our first gator. It was quite un-nerving when we saw it as only its eyeswere above water. Apparently they can hold their breath for up to 4 hours and I just kept wondering how many were actually below us right then.
We saw another 2 Alligators, a yellow turtle and a Heron's nest before we came back for the Alligator show.At this point a clearly insane man (I mean who would actually walk around in a pen with 6 Alligators, the smallest being 7 foot long?!) talked us through their Anatomy and even sat on the back of the biggest one, aptly named "Monster". After the show we all got the chance to hold a baby Alligator and get our photos taken. He was about 3 foot long and was soooo cute. Surprisingly he didn't have his mouth tapped shut but he was pretty content at being passed around and the skin on his underside was so soft and he was really light. They look like such heavy creatures to me so I was pretty surprised. He said that out of every 60 born only 1 or 2 make it to Adulthood as they are susceptible to being eaten by birds, turtles and other land mammals in the Everglades. Then when they get bigger they return the favour. :)
We then went for a walk around the rest of the park. They warned us that some Alligators roamed freely around the park and that if we saw one not to think it was a prop and get a picture taken with it, as it would very much be the real thing. That said, we didn't actually think we would see one - how very wrong we were!
We were doing a tree top 'observation' walk and the wooden platform suddenly stopped and we could see a grass path about 100 meters long with a lake either side that we needed to walk along before getting to the next part of the raised wooden platform. We started walking but it got pretty freaky as we could here large things moving in the bushes so ended up running as fast as our little legs would carry us to the next platform.
We were then walking around the rest of the park, where we happened to see and Alligator lying on the grass with its head on the path. We'd seen it earlier on the tree top walk, and like typical tourists we wanted our pictures taken with it. Thankfully we didn't get too close as it started opening its mouth and hissing at us, so we made a sharp exit.I can't believe we were literally 10 footaway from an Alligator, with no fences or anything between us! Got a good pic though ;)
We spent the rest of our time in Miami either on Miami Beach or people watching on Ocean Drive. I know I keep talking about the food, but seriously the seafood down here is even better than what we had in Maryland.The shrimps are like Lobsters, the Lobsters are the size of cats. The cocktails are also huge and we took full advantage of happy hour a couple of the nights we were here. So as you can imagine we were two very happy girls. :)
I'm really liking all of these mini stays in different cities as it's a great way of seeing if you'd ever come back somewhere on holiday.
We're now nearly in Gainesville (about 2 hours north of Orlando) to see some of Selena's family for a big birthday party this weekend.We're both surprised how quickly we've adapted to travelling the long distances between cities.This was a 6 hour train journey and they don't even faze us anymore - although the 2 day journey from Gainesville to New Orleans might!