20080605

Miami

Well, I survived 3.5 days in Miami with my family and my niece's wedding! I arrived disgustingly early Friday morning so I wouldn't miss the rehearsal dinner that night. When I walked into the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables somewhere around 6:30am, plunked down 4 huge bags filled with 2 months of junk, and started sifting through them and muttering to myself so I could drop off my bags and find somewhere to work until check-in time, the clerk very graciously allowed me to check in early, probably so he could get the muttering street urchin out of his lobby!

I walked into my room, a suite that does double duty as a conference conversion and was hit with a slight mildewy smell, probably due to the fact the bathroom fan was broken and I was in a hot, humid state. But I was exhausted and didn't care, so I climbed into the Murphy bed and zonked out for an hour or two. I worked a few hours that day and took the afternoon off to do the family thing, and then went to the rehearsal dinner that night.

Saturday I just relaxed and went for a little run, lifted some weights, got my nails done... and discovered my internet connection didn't work correctly -- I could send and receive plain text, but not hypertext. I spent over an hour on the phone with the hotel's computer support company, who concluded that everything was right on their side and the issue had to be my Macintosh. So I thought okay fine, I have to transmit paystubs anyway, I'll just use my Windows machine... except of course, it had the same problem! When I tried to get the support people back on the phone, they were gone for the day. Evil jerks.

My job on the day of the wedding was to keep my sister from stressing too much, because when she did, it stressed my niece. So I tried to keep things light and keep my sister distracted and help out when I could.

After hair and makeup, I looked at my niece and for the first time realized just how much like my sister she looked! My sister also had her hair done, pulled back into a loose bun that made her look like an asian Eva Peron. That's my sister and niece in the photo. My niece normally looks more like her biodad in terms of individual features. Go figure.

The ceremony was refreshingly short and the reception generous with the booze. It was fun! I met my niece's oboe teacher, snapped candid photos, did a little drunken dancing and of course, spent quality time with family, including my other niece I only see maybe once every few years (she lives in Puerto Rico and has a small child).

My flight from Miami to London wasn't until Monday evening, so I spent the day with family again. This time they wanted to take a bus tour of Miami and boat tour of "Millionaire Row," neither of which were really on my list of things I wanted to do before I die, but spending as much time as possible with family was, so I tagged along.

The tour people let us out of the bus in Little Havana and I ran away from the tour group to use the restroom at the McDonalds, then continued down the street to a little tienda to buy candy to bring on the plane with me. On the way back to the bus, a man on the street called me 'chinita,' and I gave my usual response to that remark, 'yo soy japonesa,' and the next thing I knew, the guy was walking back to the bus with me! His name is Santos, he's from Cuba and he thinks either Japanese women or my hair is pretty, or possibly both. That's about all I could get from the Spanish I know.

Our shuttle driver, Alfredo, dropped me off at a local hotel with a free shuttle to the airport (the Hyatt didn't have a free shuttle). Alfredo rocks! And the security people at MIA rock! Wow, they are so much nicer than the security people at SFO! Everyone was friendly and courteous, and because their attitude put the passengers at ease, they were also very efficient. Security agents at other airports should be trained by the folks at MIA.