Continued from here.
The next day morning dawned bright and clear. Actually, I am guessing on that. Of course, D and me were still fast asleep at dawn :-D. When the alarm rang at 8.20a, we both pretended to not hear it (it was just 5.20a for us west-coasters) and snuggled further into our respective comforters. D finally gave up the fight first and went off to shower - after all we had to get ready soon to be able to pick up S from the airport at 10.00a.
The outside was cloudy - but from even within the airconditioned comfort of our room, it looked hot outside. Stepping onto the balcony confirmed my doubts. Unfortunately, given my brilliant winter-clothes packing skills, I had no choice but to slip into my long-sleeved shirt and pants and shoes.
When D (dressed in jeans and a t-shirt and shoes) and me descended down to the hotel lobby, we stuck out like sore thumbs in a sea of people in bermuda shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops. Oh well, we had to show we are even more touristy than normal tourists, right!
After a fairly leisurely breakfast of cereals and coffee, D and me went to the parking lot. We were still walking around in circles, trying to locate our car in the spiral parking structure when my cell-phone rang. S' plane had just landed at the FLL airport - oh shucks!
Bucking up, we set off. The ride to the Fort Lauderdale city was fairly fast. But once we got into FLL airport, our nightmare started. Four lanes of jam packed vehicles greeted us. We inched forward millimetre by millimetre. After some 25 excruciating minutes inside the airport, we finally made it to terminal 3 (the journey from Miami to Fort Lauderdale city itself had taken only fifteen minutes) where S was waiting.
We spotted S - but of course, amidst all that chaos, the only car the airport officers could think of regulating was our poor car. A female officer kept banging on our car to move on even as we tried to tell her that S was right behind the car. Finally, in a thrilling sequence, S caught up with the car and jumped into the back seat with her suitcase and all even as D slowly maneuvered the car away from the kerb. Phew!
The third travelling musketeer had also arrived :-D!
On the way back from the airport, I called up M who lives in Miami for directions to her apartment - we were spending the day with her. Her husband A had politely declined our offer of chauffeuring us around (hehehehe, I bet he could have though of only about a gazillion better things than taking a bunch of giggling girls around downtown Miami).
As we made our way to M's place, like the cloudy skies of the morning had foretold, the heavens opened up into furious rain. We reached M's place in the pouring rain. M and A had gathered umbrellas and other rain paraphernalia to guide us to their apartment in a dry state. The moment we all safely reached inside the apartment, it stopped raining. Grr!
M commented on our (and specifically my) highly-religious-Arab-woman like clothing (hmph X-(- read postscript 3 below for explanation). However, S said that I had lost weight since the time I had met her in May - yipeeee (S, I love you gal :-D). S, D and me then eagerly pounced upon the fruitcake M and A served us. After some more chit-chat and snap-taking, it was time to set off to Bay Side.
Bay side is situated in downtown Miami and is something like Pier 39 in San Francisco. It has lots of restaurants and shops and is also the starting point of cruises around the Miami Bay. M confidently said that she would navigate us to the place. M displayed such excellent navigation skills that we drove right past Bay Side and realized that only a mile later. Finally we wound up parking our car about a mile away from Bay Side! But mercifully, it had stopped raining and we had a pleasant walk.
Ah, I must mention the weather! Forget about warm winter temperatures! The muggy and sunny weather could have easily rivalled some of the summer time temperatures of the California Bay Area! This is the first time in the US that I have been to such a warm place in winter and it was bliss :-)!
Once we reached Bay Side, D made a clothing stop at Guess while the rest of us wandered around and took enlightening pictures under a gigantic banyan tree. Oh, I should mention - the whole of Miami reminded me so much of Chennai! Both places enjoy tropical climate - hence the houses, trees, etc. seemed to look very similar.
The next stop was for lunch. A had told us about a Cuban place (we wanted to try Cuban food) - unfortunately they did not have veggie options (D and S are vegetarians). So we finally wound up at Hooter's restaurant instead - the choice had been between Chilis and Hooters - we chose the latter because we wanted to see what all the fuss was about ;-)!
Lunch done, we set off to buy tickets for the cruise around Miami Bay.
To be continued ...
1. Yes, I intend to make it a microscopically detailed "travelogue" - so please to have your popcorn and soda ready (I sure hope at least one soul reached till here *bambi eyes*).
2. I never realized extremely humid air could play so much havoc with hair (considering I am originally from super-humid Chennai). Within 2 hours of being outside in Florida, my poor hair's texture had reached that of coconut fibre and only using a hair-band stopped it from looking like a sparrow's nest. Hmph! So much for spending time straightening it before I left California X-(!
3. If you want to find out weather forecast for a place, find it on a weather website. Do not ask your friends who live in that place. When I had called M the previous week, she had told me that it was slightly chilly. I had done all my clothes packing based on that (agreed, I erred on the side of way too much caution). After being in Miami for only a couple of hours, I concluded that there was no way that the place could even get near chilly and M must have been hallucinating when she said the weather had been chilly - the last day of stay proved me wrong though! So lesson for the day is: check for weather forecasts on weather web-sites!