BootsnAll Travel Network



Highfalutin Times

I sometimes like to consider myself a culturally-inclined person. Of course I go to museums! Doesn’t everybody? Okay, so I only seem to go to museums when I’m traveling and I feel like it’s my moral obligation to do so. But when I do go, I truly appreciate the art. So what if I sometimes ignore priceless ancient artifacts that are responsible for shaping the civilization I live in today because I’m too busy bobbing along to the Harry Lime theme tune playing repeatedly on my audio guide? That’s art, too. And I appreciated it. Even though I don’t stare at a blank canvas on the wall for hours on end trying to discover its subcontext, I do, however, appreciate the fact that gallery openings have free champagne and hors d’oeuvres.

Friday night I went along with my friend from work, Alecia, to Little Havana for the opening of an art exhibition at the Tower Theater. On the way I thought we might die because we had to drive through one of the worst storms I’ve seen in a while. There was lightning popping not far off in the distance, reaching from the ground up into the grey-green clouds, and as we headed into it the lightning was on all sides of us. I’m not usually bothered by storms, but this one was kinda scary! Thankfully it let up by the time we got to Miami.

I’d never been to an art gallery opening before so I didn’t really know what to expect. To be fair, this was a pretty low-key kind of thing, but it was fun to do something new. There were a few really nice pieces, but then there were several going for around $25,000 that nobody could pay me to hang in my house. The champagne was nice, as was the bruschetta, but I can’t say the same for the caviar. To my credit, I never thought the day would come that caviar would willingly pass my lips, but, given the opportunity, I felt like I owed it to myself to try it. One bite later, the rest was in the garbage. So much for high class.

After we left the show we were driving back to I-95 along Calle Ocho, which is one of the neatest places ever. I’ve never been anywhere in the States before that made me feel like I was in another country other than there! Literally every single storefront has all Spanish signs, there are cafes with to-go windows right on the sidewalk and even the CVS has ‘Farmacia’ in glowing red lights in lieu of English. It was so cool. I saw a fun-looking restaurant as we drove by that I feel compelled to go to, so I’m sure I’ll be back again soon.

On the way home it was dark and the same storm we’d driven through a couple of hours earlier had blown off to the north-east. One of the most beautiful things I’ve seen is a lightning storm far off over the ocean. It was so amazing to see the huge tower of clouds illuminated from within by such violent cracks of electricity, and yet it looked so peaceful from afar.

After the storm the night before and all the other horrible weather it seems we’ve had lately, I was so thrilled when I woke up Saturday morning and the weather was gorgeous. I didn’t take any chances, so I put on my swimsuit threw some stuff in a bag and left for the beach. Adriana (another girl who just started at work) met me there and we stayed for hours. It was a little hot, but the water felt nice. I’m looking forward to November/December so I can finally see why it is all these old people feel the need to spend their winters down here. It should be nice!

Adriana had just moved down here from Massachusetts and had never been further south than the Aventura Mall, so we decided we should make a day of it and head down to South Beach. We were feeling self-indulgent, so Adriana called her roommate, Hilary (another new Citrite!), and we all went to get pedicures and iced coffee before we drove down. We got to Miami by about 7:15 and narrowly avoided getting caught in a mob of traffic due to people clogging the streets to get to a Shakira concert. It was nuts! South Beach was tame by comparison.

We parked and got out to head to the beach for a bit, and on our way there I saw the most interesting homeless person I have ever seen. Previously, the most entertaining homeless man I’d seen was in London when I saw a guy in Leicester Square trying to play an orange road cone as if it were a musical instrument. But this guy, he won based on costume alone. He was dirty, painfully thin and propped up in a wheel chair…okay, so this part is sad and not at all funny…but he was dressed head-to-toe as Santa Claus. He had the boots, the red pants, a red and white-trimmed coat and it was topped off with a red hat with a little white bobble on the end. He even had festive decorations dangling from the arms of his wheel chair. A bushy white beard was the only thing left wanting, but his own dark unshaven face sufficed enough for him it seemed. It all would have been pathetic enough to make me want to cry if the guy hadn’t been engaged in loud crazy talk with some other passerby.

For dinner we stopped at a place called Fox Cafe just in time to take advantage of the 50% off food deal that was running until 8:00. The food was just okay, as could be expected, but the fun part was sitting at a table on the sidewalk and watching all the people coming and going. The best part of all was the drinks. I can’t believe that I’d never had a mojito before! I feel like I’ve been missing out all this time. Unfortunately, the drinks were not half off. At $11 a pop it’s a good thing I liked it so much.

After dinner we walked around a bit and, to our surprise, most of the big shops were still open on Collins Ave. So we took a little shopping break, which is a dangerous thing to do when the price tags are as much as they are and we’d been sampling mojitos. I was good though, and refrained from snatching up the houndstooth fur-trim coat that I tried on as a joke and absolutely fell in love with. At that moment I hated the fact I live in South Florida….I couldn’t justify buying it for a weekend in Philadelphia and two weeks in England. Ohh, I loved it.

We walked around a bit more checking out different places before we went back to Ocean Drive. Once we got there these guys stopped us to ask if we knew where some club was. It was really obvious they didn’t speak very good English and had no idea what they were doing. Adriana asked them where they were from and they said Italy. As it happens, Adriana’s family is Italian and she speaks it fluently. Lucky enough for these guys, but maybe not so much for us. I think they were so excited to have someone understand them that they didn’t want to be left on their own so soon, because they asked if they could come with us. We were having a great time just the girls, but nobody wanted to be rude. As we were walking down to the Clevelander one of the guys was trying to talk to me and it was just painful. And the only Italian I know is ‘do you want to get something to eat?’, so that wasn’t exactly helpful. When we got to the bar they didn’t have their passports so they couldn’t go in, which disappointed nobody but them.

The Clevelander was kinda cool because it’s open air and there were lots of people there, but it definitely wasn’t my usual type of place. There was horrendous cheese music playing between live music sets and lots of tourists dancing around making fools of themselves. Definitely not a locals place, definitely not very classy, but it was at least fun to watch everyone else. Plus, there were lots of TVs around showing the Florida v. Tennessee game and I was able to see the game-winning touchdown and the dreams of every snaggle-toothed, hillbilly Volunteer shattered.

I don’t know what it was about that night, but after we’d found a table and ordered some drinks we were harassed by yet more Italians. This one guy was pretty funny though. He obviously thought he was so smooth, and then he started telling a story about his friend who is a helicopter pilot: “My friend, he flies helicopters. You know, chopters.”

I was so tired by the time we left and made it back to Ft. Lauderdale. I was sure I’d sleep all night long and well into the morning, but after four hours I was up and that was that. I bided my time til the West Ham game started. I was so excited about being able to see it live on the official WHUTV Web site that I’d paid ₤4.99 to subscribe to. You can imagine my dismay when the game started and all I had was audio commentary–no video. The next hour was a scramble to find any illegal streaming site I could get that might be showing it, but no such luck…nobody had it. I eventually gave up trying to use the program I’d downloaded whose interface and all links were in Chinese after trying to guess at which links were which and coming up with random Chinese TV channels, none of which were showing the game. The one bonus was that, in my desperation, I searched on my cable box to see if by some miracle it was being shown on any of the Spanish language channels. And to my complete and utter shock, Fox Soccer Channel, the same Fox Soccer Channel that my cable company said they couldn’t offer me no matter what I was willing to pay, came up as a result in my search! Unbelievingly, I selected the channel…and it worked! I get it! Hooray! So today I was able to see the game, albeit a day later, even though the result was still disappointingly the same.

After the game I headed down to Aventura to get a replacement pair of pants for my staple Express slacks that I’d accidentally bleached when I was doing laundry a few days back. I thought I could cover the spot on my charcoal pants with a Sharpie marker and a deft hand, but no dice. New ones had to be bought. And so too did multiple other items. I think I might have to stop going to Aventura though, because every time I do and I spend more than is strictly necessary, my freakin car breaks down! On the way home yesterday my air conditioning broke…again! I’m so upset. They better say the work is still covered by warranty or I’ll sic Kelly on them with a #2 pencil.

I thought I’d get this post out of the way before I go on my very first business trip and the backlog of content gets any longer. I always envisioned going on a business trip would be all business class flights, champagne and brief cases and some cool destination. I hadn’t imagined a road trip in a van with four guys on the way to Orlando. But, I’m excited about it nonetheless! I get to go on a recruiting trip to UCF for the Career Expo on Wednesday. I basically get to stand around, talk to people about the job and look at resumes to decide if they go in the red folder, the blue folder or the green folder. And if it’s the green folder, should they get a smiley face or not? These are tough decisions people. We leave tomorrow afternoon and will get there by the evening, when I’ll meet up with Britt and Kel for dinner. Should be fun! Then Wednesday’s the career fair and Thursdays are interviews. Work’s going great and I’m really enjoying it, but this will also be a nice change from the hectic past couple of weeks.

It was a fun weekend hanging out in Miami, but next time I think I will have to be more careful with my bag. Nothing went missing from it, thank goodness, but this morning when I was looking for something in it I pulled out about 15 cards for clubs and bars that people must have been slipping in when I wans’t looking! I could hardly believe it. The first one I was thinking, “hmm, don’t remember taking this off anyone,” and as I kept pulling them out of my bag like a clown scarf out of a top hat it just got to be ridiculous! Not a very good marketing tactic, I must say.

Jim Bollocks says my posts are too long for a dyslexic like him to read and I think this one is probably worse in that respect than most. So thus ends it.



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