Sunday, September 27, 2009

Benvenuto a Miami

All flights were cheaper going in and out of Miami this year, so Shana scheduled everyone's flights through there. The time difference between driving back and forth from Miami and Fort Meyers is surprisingly little, so we just go with whichever is cheaper. Normally all we see of Miami is the airport, but this year because we were picking Shelley up in the middle of the day later in the week we decided to do a little sightseeing. The weather was bad, but true to our usual feeling about vacation weather always being good enough, we did not care.

When we arrived in Miami and were waiting for the rental car shuttle we found out about the Super Shuttle. Suddenly the thought of having to drive over to the airport from our sightseeing, cruise around the no-parking airport looking for Shelley, and go out to find another parking spot in town flew right out of our minds. Yay Super Shuttle! All Hail the Super Shuttle! All we had to do was park the car, pick a spot for cocktails and lunch, and tell Shelly where to meet us. She was a little hesitant at first (Oklahoma City is NOT where you learn to love public transportation) but it worked out great. Later in the week when some of us were
leaving after dropping off a rental car Shana and Shelley took the Super Shuttle to South Beach to sightsee while waiting for the vacation reinforcements to arrive.

Saved from these practical considerations, we proceeded to find a restaurant on Ocean Drive to watch the action and stay out of the rain. We immediately ordered cocktails the size of our heads (2 for 1) and snacks. After Shelly arrived we walked over to the beach (where we got
to see the very odd sight of a cruise ship sailing out), bought some jewelry from a street vendor, walked around on Ocean Drive and Collins and checked out a few shops. We took a picture of Shelley at the Shelley Hotel and got some coffee to go. Then it was back on the road to Marco for us. By the time we got to Naples we were all starving and getting headaches from our
giant cocktails so we hustled on into Cracker Barrel for a nice comforting dinner. The last time I went to Miami I was not impressed, but this time I had loads of fun, so next time we may just try a visit to Miami again.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Not the Worst Restaurant on Earth

Over the years Shana and I have often driven across the segment of the Tamiami Trail from Naples to Miami and always noticed the Miccosukee Restaurant that was one of the few places where a person could get a meal. On one trip several years ago we stopped to see what it was like. It was not the best experience. The daily special sounded good, but was "sold out" unless you happened to be a local, several of which were served after we were told it was not available. We waited for a rather long time to be served deadly red hot dogs by a surly waitress while being eyed with suspicion by the other customers. We had joked about it so often in subsequent years that I insisted on driving to Miami by way of the Tamiami Trail in order to get a picture of it so I could feature the Worst Restaurant on Earth in a post. Well, the joke's on me, because the Miccosukee have decided to improve the place all out of recognition.

On the outside it is much improved, being painted up in tribal colors, and features a nice information center next door. On the inside we found a nice clean facility with hospitable staff. We sampled the sofkee, which is a typical tribal food (and a common food among many other tribes as well). It's basically a gruel made of corn, or sometimes other grains. We also enjoyed a delicious cafe cubano. Afterwards we slipped outside to look for alligators, then we got back on the road for Miami.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Life's a Beach

Although every day on Marco Island seems like a precious and singular jewel, a large part of the fun lies in every day being somehow exactly the same. Every year's visit is very like every other, which somehow makes the week seem longer in a funny way because the years run together. We go to Walgreen's or CVS nearly every day. We go to the beach store nearly every day and examine their entire stock minutely although it's always pretty much the same from year to year. We go to Publix (Where Shopping is a Pleasure) and express surprise and envy every single time that you can buy wine there. We take a cocktail to the beach nearly every night, and eat breakfast on the balcony every morning. We pass Garage Man four times a day and wave every time whether he is there or not. Garage man is a retired Navy man who sits in his garage on an old seat rescued from a long gone van watching the traffic. One time we stopped by his house to take a picture and meet him. How I wish it had not been a cell phone picture, but at the time the point had been to get a picture of him to send by phone to make Shelley laugh because she couldn't come to Marco that year. We were so far out of season this trip that some of our favorite restaurants were closed for the month and one other was gone because it blew away in a hurricane a couple of years ago. We were forced to go to NEW PLACES. The sheer adventure of it nearly killed us.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Have Friends in Low Places

Very low places, in the case of what I like to call Beach Vultures! I'm back from vacation and will be posting within the next day or two. I'll load up some pictures over on Flickr, too.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Gloomy Sunday

The gloom is mainly the product of the weather. I've lived in Oklahoma since 1975, and my mental state and expectations have adjusted to the local weather. Oklahoma weather is generally sunny with nearly constant wind and liberal infusions of dramatic thunderstorms. I always think of Oklahoma (at least central Oklahoma) as having six seasons: Cold and Dry, Fire, Tornado, Hot and Dry, Fire, Tornado. Seldom do we experience the kind of protracted grey and rainy periods I grew up with in northern Ohio. If we get three grey days in a row I grow despondent. This week has been cloudy and intermittently wet every day, culminating in steady light rain from yesterday afternoon through this morning. I cancelled my weekend cycling plans and devoted myself to indoor pursuits.

Fortunately I have plenty of indoor activities to keep me amused. Aside from college football yesterday and pro football today I have housework and naps (!). There is also the intense amusement of sorting out my selection of vacation packing. I'm "going carry-on", so everything for my trip will need to go in one bag and a tote. Not too hard as a person doesn't need much for a trip to the beach. Still the stack of possible choices waxes and wanes while the dogs pull long faces and sulk. I've finished some knitting projects, so I am down to one in progress and therefore free to choose a new project suitable for vacation knitting. It will surely be socks, as the silk shawl in progress would be a poor choice for humidity. At this stage it's not really colorfast and I can't really see myself enjoying my vacation with blue hands. I wound up a skein of Mountain colors Barefoot during the Ohio State/USC and Sooners games yesterday and I think I've got the perfect pattern picked out.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Look For The Union Label

The official end of summer is here with the return of the Labor Day Weekend. These days it is celebrated as a long weekend of barbecue and Nascar, but it was not always that way. For anyone that's ever complained about unions, please remember that it is unions that won the 40 hour work week, paid sick time, overtime, Workers' Compensation, OSHA, and any of the other rules that keep the workplace relatively safe for all workers, and paved the way for the American middle class whose living is currently being offshored. These concessions were not all won in board rooms and meetings. Some were hard fought in the streets of American cities. There were casualties among the heroes of labor, and we should not forget them. Buy American made if you can, and by all means look for the union label.