Thursday, March 26, 2009

Va-Cay #1 - Florida

We arrived in Miami Wednesday. The flight wasn’t bad. We had a layover in Houston Tx. When we flew in to Houston I thought to myself, “wow they sure have a lot of bright blue pools here!” then as we got closer to the ground I realized that it was the roofs of houses that had bright blue on parts of it. I asked my seatmate what they were. He said they were tarps left over from the damage of the last hurricane. Ike was it? How sad. Wasn’t that last year? And people still don’t have their roofs fixed?

After we arrived in Miami it was late. We were tired. The girls were amped. Isn’t that how it always is? Parents are exhausted – kids wound up? I don’t think that us renting a convertible helped matters. They were beside themselves. Now we all want one - they are so fun!

Thursday was spent sleeping in (till 11am!) Then we went to the pool. We noticed there were a lot of beautiful Latin girls in bikinis all around the pool. About 15-20 in fact. All young and beautiful. Hmmmm this was not very good for my self esteem. We got in the hot tub and found out they were here till May for a Latin Reality Pagent Show on Univision. Nuestra Belleza Latina. There were 75 girls but now they are down to 40. It ‘s on every Sunday night. I’ll have to tune in to see the winner. The girls were so friendly and nice it was hard not to like them – even though they were so darn beautiful. We even got to see them do some filming! My purse and shoes might be in the shot. I was hiding in the hot tub. No way was I going to be filmed next to those beauty queens!

Friday we went to Gator Park early in the morning. The girls were dying to see some alligators and we aim to please so off we went! I searched a bunch of different airboat tours to the everglades and decided on Gator Park because they have a live alligator show and other scary animals to look at. Snakes, lizards, turtles and a lot of alligators in all sizes. The boat ride was fun and we did see a lot of alligators hanging out in the sawgrass. I have to admit, the alligator wrestling show was the highlight of the trip to Gator Park. The guy was sooooo funny and he really did wrestle the alligator! He put his hand in his mouth and jumped on his back and got his head and did all kinds of crazy stuff. I wonder how much he gets paid. Not enough!

The kicker……? He let us hold an alligator about the size of Abby!! Oh yes he did! Tom was first, then Cassidy then Me. Abby didn’t want to and I don’t blame her. It was as big as her. I would have been a little apprehensive too! Tons of fun I tell you! I could have done that show again it was so good. I highly recommend it! It also wasn’t very expensive. $42 for the four of us to go on a boat ride, see the alligator show, hold the alligator and walk the park to see all the animals.

(Do you like how I'm holding it like a baby?)

Friday I spent a good amount of time being a spy and trying to find the location of my favorite show Burn Notice. I knew they filmed in Miami and since I was in Miami I just couldn’t let the opportunity pass me by. So I searched and searched and found a location. I also found out they have have a contract that says they have to film in Miami. Miami hasn’t been on the TV map since Miami Vice and they (the City) want to have their name in lights again. I’ll say it’s in lights! Burn Notice is the Best Darn Show out there if you ask me! We love it! And it was a unanimous vote – Saturday we were off to find the Burn Notice Set location!

Saturday we woke up, ate breakfast of oatmeal and bananas in our room. Instant oatmeal is the perfect in-your-hotel-room food. You use the coffee maker to heat your water, the coffee cups to hold the oatmeal and the coffee spoons to stir and eat! Saves time and money when on vacation! That is….if you like instant oatmeal. We then headed to the Wholesale Mall that was next to our Hotel. This is similar to the LA Fashion District but not as good. Lots of shops with wholesale items like jewelry, purses, clothing and such. The girls and I got earrings, sterling silver hoops for $3 and $5. And Cass got a bracelet for $4. I was too excited to go on my Burn Notice adventure to want to shop for anything more. We then put the top down on the car and off we went in search of Michael Weston and Fiona.

Since being here in Florida I was surprised at how…..shall I say ugly it was. The landscaping was blah, the trees were sparse, no flowers in site. I was shocked really. I kept saying to Tom, where is the lush tropical landscaping? Where are the flowers? Even in California in the bad parts of town people will have bars on their windows, paint chipping off the houses and gorgeous flowers and shrubs in their front yards. I was expecting that of Miami. Not until we got into Coconut Grove did I see pretty flowers and trees. And let me tell you they were everywhere! I loved it!!!! We drove right to the address of the Burn Notice location. We got out and started investigating. It’s in an old building that isn’t used anymore and looks deserted. However we saw the stars trailers, a big semi with a card in it’s window that said Burn notice, a food service truck, lots of production tricks and trailers. (these are the stars trailers!)
We were getting very excited. We walked around the building and saw two guards. We asked them if we could get in and see the set. They said they wouldn’t start filming till Wednesday and to come back. We tried and tried to get them to let us in to see but they wouldn’t. It was deserted anyway, we wouldn’t have seen anyone. We then walked around the whole building all sad but still hoping we would see someone or something. We were just about to round the corner and head to the car when Tom and I stopped, looked at each other and looked to our left. I then broke into a run – yes, I RAN! Right over to the entrance to Michael Weston's loft. You know the corrugated tin gate, the rusted walls. The staircase to the blue door. We saw it and we were all dancing around. The girls were so excited! (they think Michael really lives there) It was all real to them and very fun for Tom and I. You can bet we are coming back after the cruise. We can’t wait!!!!

We then drove through Coconut grove which was beautiful and had big beautiful homes and lots and lots of amazing flowers and gorgeous landscaping! We drove right out to Key Biscayne had lunch then spent the day at Crandon Park. One of the top 10 beaches in the United States. It was sunny, warm, breezy and beautiful. The ocean was shallow for a long way out so the girls were safe while they played in the waves. This was a very family friendly beach. I was afraid to go to the beach because of spring break but we lucked out and were surrounded by families and children. The beach was picturesque with the big yellow lifeguard station, palm trees blowing in the wind and the green blue water stretched out before us. It was a perfect day.

More to come about the rest of the week!


Lynn F. said...

Sounds like you had a great trip. Can't wait to hear more! We sure missed you guys at school. Glad you're back.

Nikki said...

What fun trip. Can't wait to read more! (I know it takes forever to post about long vacations. We went to DisneyWorld in February and I took 400 pictures and videos. I have yet to get the post done!)

Anny said...

What a cute family! Gator Park does look fun, I don't know about holding alligators though. You are so funny about finding the location of Burn Notice, love it.
Can't wait to hear more!

Becca said...

What a great week so far. Love the pictures. I haven't seen Burn Notice yet, but have wanted to. can't wait to read the rest.