And now the end is near.........

Published: June 8th 2013
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21-23rd May ’13 Miami Beach

Today we caught the bus along to South Beach, it took ages to get there as the bus wound its way around all the residential streets but it was interesting to get a glimpse of this wealthy area.

Once we arrived in the main shopping area we hopped off and went to see the sea. As you would expect it was a long sandy beach with lots of posh sun loungers for hire. There was a path along the beach side – with no view of the sea strangely, but we passed lots of big, flashy looking hotels and got our first glimpses of the Art Deco influence in some of the building designs.

We emerged onto the main road and here every building was Art Deco style and colours, it did look really pretty, there were lots of expensive cars parked along the roadside and lots of tourists posing next to them for photos. We walked along way along this road and saw Versace’s house and the place he was murdered. Eventually we headed back onto some of the less posh streets and keeping an eye out for Miami Ink.

There were hundreds of tattoo parlours on this road!! - most of them completely empty and a lot with very similar names. However I did spot one on it’s own on the other side of the road called Miami Ink, which threw me as I had read it had changed it’s name. No famous faces were lurking around it, in fact no one famous or not was lurking near it full stop. I made a note of the number to double check it was THE one and decided not to go and peer in. I was boiling hot and my sandals had just collapsed so I was kind of shuffling along to keep them on and this was not a good look for visiting Miami Ink ha ha. Anyway when we got back and checked, yes it was the real one, so at least I can say I saw it.

We caught a more direct bus to our motel and grabbed our swimming stuff and spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach.

Nothing else to report except for watching back to back episodes of storage wars that night as it was pouring down!

We were woken up early the next morning by hammering and banging – bugger! Just when we could have had a sleep in, sounded like they were coming through the wall as they were working in the room next door.

It was raining so we hung about and when it stopped we headed to the beach with our lovely Walmart sunshade. It was baking hot so we certainly needed it. The sea on this side of Miami was definitely colder but still lovely.

Then we noticed Fort Lauderdale up the coast was vanishing under dark, grey clouds and we could see lightning coming down. It was really odd to be sitting on the beach watching that going on just up the road. Lots of people left the beach but us and a few others waited it out and all we got was a few spots of rain and then it went back to baking sunshine.

We have come across lots of ‘colourful characters’ in this area, walking in the middle of the roads, talking out loud or to themselves and sitting on the beach fully clothed with their bags – I guess I had forgotten about this aspect of American society and the lack of mental health provision.

That night we had a wander around our few streets and came across a whole row of food vans set up and people milling around, there were tables and chairs set up and a bit of a carnival atmosphere going on so we decided to have tea there. Howard found a van selling Indian so was well chuffed and I got totally ripped off with the Israeli BBQ Brisket in a pita – it was more like a small bun and although nice was definitely well overpriced. Afterwards we discovered there was a jazz concert going on in a hall nearby which was why they were there hmmmmmm.

That night from the balcony I saw the most weird, disturbing but strangely beautiful sight. Way out to sea black clouds were being backlit constantly, highlighting their outlines, a few jagged forks of lightning streaked down and this went on constantly without pause for about 10 minutes, (I couldn’t hear any thunder at all) it was very eerie indeed.

As we weren’t flying until after 9pm we checked out, left the car at the motel and caught a bus to Downtown Miami for a look around. It took us an hour to get there and for most of this I was sat next to a bloke who was sprawled out, legs and arms akimbo, fast asleep but as he kept shuffling I had to keep an eye on him. Eventually another seat came free and I moved just as he turned over so narrowly escaped having him wrapped around me!

This bus drove past all the flash islands, with huge yachts and huge houses and were the people must be worth a fortune!! We got off at one of the mono rail stations and used this to travel around the city, getting great views and all for free. It was really excellent, anyone can travel for free on it and it does both inner and outer loops of the city. We got off at the Bay area and had a look around, yet more big yachts and lots of expensive shops. We did a bit more mono-railing before spending another hour on the bus back to the motel for the car.

Then it was a drive back to the car rental place, which took ages in the nose to tail traffic, dropped the car off, asked the lady working there if she wanted our Walmart brolly, which she was delighted with!, got a lift back to the car rental center at the airport, got the train thing back to the airport, checked in, dumped the bags and that was the end of the USA and our travels - gulp. It felt very weird.

24th May ’13 London

The night flight back was a bit of a blurgh, it seemed a right cheek when we booked with British Airways and ended up on an ancient American Airlines plane, with really ancient limited inflight entertainment, Howard’s didn’t even work! We probably got one hour’s kip with all the crying babies and whingeing kids.

We were slightly ahead of time but when we should have landed the pilot came on to say ‘one of our competitors has deposited engine parts on the runway’ and this meant only one runway at Heathrow was operating so instead of being early we would be landing on time. Having heard about what actually happened and all the cancelled flights and diverted landings I reckon we were really lucky!

Eeee gods I can’t believe it’s all over!

Additional photos below
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8th June 2013

All over until next time!
I've enjoyed following your travels!
11th June 2013

Thanks Bob i've enjoyed reading your comments and suggestions also! I'm already thinking about where we could go next but the reality is it is going to be at least another 2 years before we might get a!

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