Sunday August 26
Janet and I are in Miami Beach for our anniversary. We landed yesterday descending shakily from the very turbulent sky, down through the dark clouds to the tarmac below. Miami airport was deserted. The streets empty except for workers boarding up the storefronts. At our hotel, the Newport Beach Resort, the lobby was full of visitors, all packed up and ready to go, only all further Air Canada flights had been cancelled.
The rain falls sideways. The palms wave furiously to and fro in the 60 to 70 mph winds. The huge white wave crests are popular with surfers, but the riptide makes it far too dangerous to go for a swim. Not much sun either. Still, it's very hot.
We took a shuttle bus to Sawgrass Outlet Mall this morning. It closed early. The wind was so loud you couldn't hear yourself think, and that was inside the mall. It's the same in our room. The locals are very nonchalant, sort of like us up in Canada when we hear a bad snowstorm is on the way. When the eye of the tropical storm brushed Key West before heading out into the Gulf, nobody seemed too surprised. Perhaps one develops a six sense after awhile.
Tonight, as I look outside our window, all I can see is a wall of rain. Yes, it's blowing sideways. I don't think we could walk outside anymore without getting blown off our feet. Sometimes it's eerily calm and silent like it's over. Then the wind and rain return with a mad vengeance. Disappointing perhaps, but very exciting! Together, inside our suite with nothing we have to do, nowhere we have to go, is very romantic too. Love being with Janet and escaping the mad storm that rages around us. Very fitting, for our anniversary.
Monday August 27
It's sunny today in Miami, with strong winds and dark clouds suddenly blowing over every so often creating quite severe monsoon like bursts of rain, followed by flooding. I suspect the biggest storm of all though, is the fierce legislative winds and dark clouds gathering back home over Queen's Park! We have intermittent internet in our room, so it never seems be too far away, as I track it through the week, while Janet watches the satellite t.v.shows flick on and off.
The Newport Beach hotel and resort is quite moderately priced this time of year. Wonder why? Ha.
We were upgraded to a spacious two room suite with a kitchenette upon our arrival. The complimentary buffet is the morning is quite good, not merely continental fare, but with bacon, eggs, home fries, as well as the fresh kitchen made pastries and breads. The lobby is wide, spacious, with huge bird cages, overhead fans, and a comfy open bar, lounge area. The back windows look outside past the pool to the madly swaying palms and loud crashing surf on the storm tossed white sand beach.
The tropical storm broadsided Key West and spun back out into the gulf, the forecasts estimate it's headed for New Orleans. The fear is quite palpable. The t.v. coverage is gloomy at best as it picks up strength into a level one hurricane packing quite a punch and a lot more rain. The forecast for Miami is better. There's an eighty percent chance of continued strong winds here tomorrow. Janet and I spend another day indoors at Sawgrass Mall. It's huge, at least three times the size of our own Vaughan Mall north of Toronto. Tomorrow we plan to venture outside, hopefully along the beach, which is still off limits to the guests.
Tuesday August 28 The sun is beating down us on us full force. The winds are dieing down. Miami cleans up the downage and flooding messes, huge tractors combing the beach. We go for a refreshing walk in the white sand for quite a stretch. There's a great panorama of post modern condo and hotel towers, each with a very an art deco edge. They are lined up along the white sand beach and the turquoise ocean waters for as far as I can see. The waves today are great fun to leap into or body surf. No diving possible this trip but the reclining beach lounge chairs are back out. We work on our tan between frequent dips in the Atlantic, as the crowds return. A fabulous day at the beach! Finally!
The beach is back to normal, the resort in full swing. It's day two for Janet and I to swim and just lie on the lounge chairs reading our books. I feel like the man from Ipenema with my sunglasses on as the girls in their bikini's saunter by, but a comfortable married middle aged one at that. My only regret is that we missed the protest rally at Queen's Park. Janet and I are old[er] politicos. For us that can be fun and very exciting too. Ah, the stories I could tell. Oh well, enough of the old man act.
Last night we had a nice stroll along the Sunny Isle Collins Avenue strip where we are located. The Republican Convention was making for some very scary t.v. Angry leaders bust blood vessels shouting they will work with the teachers, and not their unions, who are apparantly responsible for destroying the US education system. Rabid, cheering crowds madly pumped their fists in the air, screaming their consent. Wow.
We will go to the Adventura Mall later today and plan to have dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. Our flight back to Toronto is tomorrow, but we can sleep in during the morning. There's less than a week of summer left. I am truly enjoying every last minute of it, feeling relaxed and great. There will without doubt be many big challenges ahead this fall. I'm ready, not riled up, even nonchalant. Let's go! Grrr. Ha.
Thursday August 30
Still some off and on black cloudy patches but mostly sunshine as we leave for our 2pm flight back to Toronto. Republican horror show reruns and rain drenched New Orleans footage dominate the t.v. news, as we turn off the set, and head downstairs with our bags. I started to get phone calls and texts regarding school and union biz back home again last night, after basically being incommunicado for the past few days.
At Miami International airport we meet Canadian travellers who have been stuck here since Monday! Our flight is on time and we fly home without incident. Janet packed us our own yummy snacks. We've got lots of happy anniversary memories. Nope. Being trapped together isn't necessarily a bad thing on your anniversary. I fall sleep most of the flight back home looking out at the billowy white clouds. Toronto is sunny but somewhat cooler. For us it feels like an air conditioned world!