The day you never thought would arrive has finally arrived. This is abso-last-lutely the last part of the Florida trip. I thought I should complete what I started. Besides, on a more evil note, at least one of my readers has complained about being sick of this series and you know how much I hate cheating people of further annoyance X-).
Continued from these parts , , , ,  and . Okay, before you start really ruing the day I decided to make this trip to Florida, let me start!
Despite our best intentions, we were not too early in vacating the room the next morning. However, at long last, everything was packed and a final adieu to the room was bade. The checkout formalities were completed. We bought breakfast for the last time at the hotel cafe. D and me were feeling quite sad about the end of the vacation - both of us would be returning to work the next day. S though was more cheerful - she had something very nice to look forward to (which she will probably write about if she ever revives her blog) in a few days.
The plan that day was to do some kind of water-sports at the beach and then drop S off at the airport around 4.00p for her 6.00p flight. Well, that day turned out to be another one of those days where anything that could go wrong did.
We were supposed to go to Miami Beach (why Miami Beach and not South Beach? Search me - we just thought we should visit Miami Beach. Period.) We got directions from the hotel guide and he told us that we could go on Collins Ave (non-freeway route) all the way upto Fort Lauderdale. Well, we drove right past South Beach. Then we kept waiting for Miami Beach to show up and it never did (rather, we missed it).
The haphazard traffic on Collins Ave had a negative effect on driver me. Finally, as the clock ticked towards noon we were began to realize that there was no way we could do our water sports and get S back to the airport on time. So instead, we decided to focus on finding a quite beach to relax in. After a brief stop at a grocery store to buy snacks (once bitten, twice shy), we finally located parking in a strip mall (we would eat lunch there was our justification :-P) and walked to the beach.
As I have said before, the Atlantic has a lovely, lovely, lovely blue-green color to it. And, though the day was cloudy, the water was NOT cold. Now, this is a huge change from the Pacific near my place - which is always cold irrespective of weather (as far as I know, only the bay near Santa Cruz had even tolerably chilly water in summer). We were all so excited and jumped right in. We had to strive not to get too wet. Nevertheless, we had a wonderful time, walking, running and splashing in the water.
We could also see all these huge condos nearby. It would be super awesome to own one right by the beach. Anyone of you owning one has an open invitation to become my best friend :-P!
After an hour and a half, we had to get going because of our tight schedule. We reluctantly left the beach, making promises to ourselves to make a trip to Florida just to relax in the beach. Then it was lunch time. This time we went to a Peruvian restaurant called Pachamama (pacha+mama=green+earth - which is surprisingly close to the meaning of the word in Indian languages). The food was quite decent and we had a relaxing lunch.
Then it was time to get to the airport. We reached the airport quite early. So D and me dumped our initial plans of just whiling away time at the airport till our 8.00p and thereabouts flights. Instead we dropped S off and decided to go to Dana Beach, which was the beach nearest to the airport as far as we could see.
As we got off at Dana Beach, a really chilly wind had begun to blow. Finally I could feel what M had been trying to tell me about chilly weather! Finally we also found use for our jackets and snuggled comfily into it. Of course, in the beach, D and me were the only two souls doing any kind of comfily snuggling into jacket. Everybody else was still in swim-wear *sigh*. Anyways, we just sat on the sand by the water, watched the waves and enjoyed the serene scene.
About half an hour later, the cloudy day turned into a torrent of showers. D and me hurried under a thatched roof gazebo nearby. There we watched the rain and talked and talked. D is one of those friends with whom you can talk about anything at all - so I had a nice time yacking.
Finally it was time to bid adieu to Dana Beach too. The rain had stopped by then so we just spent some more time taking pictures and then proceeded back to the airport.
Afters some more minor adventures with the horrible traffic (phew - I think I have chopped at least six months off my life by driving in Miami), we were back at the airport for the final farewell - D and me were boarding at different terminals.
From then on, it was just a long blur of dinner, cat-naps, lots of flying time, a connection, a boarding-pass getting adventure in Las Vegas which almost resulted in me missing my flight and finally reaching a (oh, the irony) rainy Bay Area.
As me gushing about it for seven whole posts should have given you some clue, it was a lovely vacation and I had a super wonderful time :-)! Beaches of Miami, await my return :-D!
And yes, seriously yes! With this post, the Florida travelogue goes finis :-D!