My Life as a Traveler

Shopping and Salsa

Alas, all good things must come to an end.

After flying the friendly skies with Sherrill and Quinn, a nice visit from George’s other brother Ralph, his wife, Sandy, daughter Vanessa, and Sandy’s mom, we say farewell and hop in our rented car and point the GPS toward Miami, where George has meetings next week.

But before we hit the big city, we have some shopping to do. The day before I went out with George’s niece, Amy, to drop her son Evan off for a weekend with a friend at the beach. On the way back, we stopped at the outlet mall and hit some of the shops. It’s Labor Day and the sales are going full force. Amy has a coupon, and before I know it, I’m the proud owner of four 3/4 sleeve length t-shirts and 2 pairs of pants, all for under $50. I’m very excited about the pants, because they are black jeans.

Let me sing the praises of black jeans for a moment. Warm on the plane and wherever you end up, yet cool enough to wear with a t-shirt in the summer (but you already know that about jeans, right?) The beauty of black jeans is that, unlike their blue counterparts, they can dress up to look like, well, almost like, slacks. Take them to the opera with a nice shirt and some heels and you are golden. Oh, I’ve been wanting these, but have never met any I liked in person. Until now. I’ll let you know how they fare on my next big trip.

We also went to the Bass store, where they had shoes 80% off, then 20% off that. Can you say, “almost free?” They didn’t have the ones I liked in my size, though. Boo. However, when I told George about the great sandal extravaganza, he wanted in on that action. So, since they were on the way (really!),  we made a stop at some different designer outlets that had a Bass store, and George was set loose among the shoes.

Normally, he buys shoes at Costco or BJ’s and his shoes du jour were flip-flops, which he did not like (it’s that thing between your toes!) How happy he was to get two pairs of good, supportive sandals and relegate the flips to Morgan. Oh, and they had the shoes I wanted in my size. Ahhh, then all was right with the world.

After piling our shoe boxes in the trunk, we set off across the state. Not across Alligator Alley, I-75, but right through (well, as through as you can get) the Everglades on the two-lane, Hwy. 41. Listening to a science fiction story about geeky pirates on a Caribbean island, we cruised by palm tree-lined swamp. Almost through, it was close to dinner time and we were getting hungry. And we wanted gator. Yes, alligator is food down there and it’s mighty tasty.

We pulled up to the Miccousoukee Indian restaurant, but they just closed. We were disappointed, yes, but when one door closes, another opens. Just on the edge of town, we found what looked like a huge BBQ party, with live loud music outside, and gator burgers inside. Wow! They even had a clown. How can you go wrong when a place has all that?

Food was good and cheap, beer satisfying, and the salsa music invigorating. We scarfed our burgers down inside the kitschy dining room, then went outside to watch the band and admire the couple dancing salsa or some combination of several Latin dances. The clown finds some friends to drink with and I try to explain to Morgan the value of learning how to dance like this couple for his future life.

As we enter Miami proper, we are welcomed by the drama of one of the best lightning storms I’ve seen in a long time.  We check into our hotel in a torrential downpour and just barely stay dry. We can see the lightning from our room crashing from the sky to the ocean. Nice way to welcome us, Miami!

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