Thursday, 13 January 2011

Life on a Miami Beach: Day 2

Got up this morning with thoughts of shrimp.  Not the two we brought with us, they're always on my mind.

We headed down to the Bayside shopping district of Miami.  We took the bus to get there, which I looked up on the Miami-Dade transit site, which exclusively uses Google Transit to plot your trip.  It was fairly accurate as to when buses run, but not that accurate as to what buses actually run.  We were looking for the 119 to get us to our destination.  (Only one bus, which was great.)  Never did see a 119, we did on the other hand find a 120 Beach MAX, which I later discovered to mean it is the equavalent of an express bus, meaning it skips a large number of stops that other buses will service.

The trip on the bus costs $2 per person.  That worked out to $4 each way, or about 1/10th the cost of a cab ride.  (I called around first.)  And, I learned something.  While in Ottawa, it is fairly common to see children in a backpack carrier, it is completely unknown in Miami.  Everyone who saw the Turtle in the backpack marvelled at what a really neat idea it was, and of course how cute he is.  That got us talking to some of the other passengers on the bus.  Children are a great ice breaker.

One lady we met on the bus told us of a better way to get where we were going called the MetroMover.  It's a raised unmanned wheeled bus/train like system that runs throughout the downtown area of Miami.   Did I mention that it is free to take?   And really, really cool.   In fact, it would really work well in Ottawa.

Once we got to the Bayside area, right beside the arena that the Miami Heat play in, we wandered right past Bubba Gump Shrimp.  You know, like the Forrest Gump movie.  We talked with the store staff (It's both a store and restaurant) and decided to come back and eat after poking around a bit.  (Yeah, like there was any doubt.  (The Toad loves shrimp.)

We quickly found the Disney store and only picked up a few things for next Christmas.  PJs, and a jogging suit.  A few stores later and we ended up in the GAP.  Wanna guess how many fleece items they had in their clearance area?  Quite a few.  Speaking of warm weather wear, the Toad noticed today that people weren't wearing jackets.  Probably because it was close to 30C with the humidity.

We picked up some cute items at GAP, and found me some clip-on sunglasses and headed for lunch.  This was one of the challenging lunches.  How to deal with the 4 year old eating shrimp, while the 1 year old we haven't allowed to have shellfish sits on the other side of the table?  We kept them separated and hoped for the best.  And everyone washed their hands very, very well.  So far, no issues.

After lunch we picked up a few things in the gift shop, the Toad spent her money on a ride on a carosel, and bought some silly bands.

We hopped back on the MetroMover and headed back for dinner.  We did get a little lost and got on the wrong one, but a quick realization along with a Russian family who did the same thing, and we were back on route.  Traffic was much worse getting home, but the bus did drop us off a whole block from our hotel.

When we got back, we put the Turtle down for a nap, the Toad played with her Leapster and we had dinner.  After dinner, I took the Toad our for daily visit to the beach. 

The wind had been up all day, and had blown a lot of kelp into shore, and some interesting looking blue balloons.  I'm glad I spotted them before the Toad.  I was thinking I recognized them, and it turns out that I was right.  I pointed them out and asked her not to touch them, even if other adults/kids did.  They were Portugese Man O Wars.  Rather toxic.  Quite painful.  Never heard a warning about them though.  Again, glad I spotted them first.

The Toad was also amazed by the planes that lost their flags.  In translation, that would be planes towing advertising banners behind them.  And I was surprised by two things: how crowded the grocery store was at 9:00pm, and there is such a need for a kosher vodka that they have advertisements everywhere for L'Chaim Kosher Vodka.

We finished the night with the Turtle sleeping in the bathroom, and the Toad in the bed, and us flaked out watching some TV and sleeping on the uncomfortable pull-out bed.