Saturday, February 25, 2012

Babymoon Flashback, Part 4

The concluding segment of our babymoon story. (Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3)

Due to the way in which early events transpired on our vacation, Monday worked out to be the only true, full day we had in Miami. The forecast called for rain, and we'd decided our Plan B was to make the hour and a half drive to Biscayne National Park. However, having each spent some time in Central Florida, we thought that perhaps the rainstorms would be like the rainstorms in Orlando: pour violently for 20 minutes, then be sunny for 2 hours, and repeat.

Turns out rain in Miami is more like rain in Upstate New York (continuous and overcast for most of the day), but with more wind. We still gave the beach a shot, because we're tourists, but even going for a short walk wasn't particularly pleasant. We drove down to the park, hoping it might clear up by the time we got there. It didn't.

The visitor's center had a short, well-made informational video about all the things we would have seen had the weather been better. I knew from skimming the website that the islands were not accessible except by boat (and we weren't about to pay $70 for their boat tour in the rain), but the park also included several miles of coastline, so I figured we could drive around as we had in the Grand Canyon park on our August honeymoon when the heat started to get to us. I asked the employee in the visitors' center if there were any driving or walking trails around, and she curtly replied, "This is a marine park. It's 95% water." I guess in retrospect I'm not totally shocked that they didn't have roads, but I can't believe they only had one walking trail, that basically circled the visitors' center. That may have been just as well, though; the road leading to the park was not well-maintained, and I felt like we were going to be washed away when we exited due to the overflow from a small canal-like trench that ran parallel. I would like to go back sometime with a boat in better weather, though; the park looks like it's beautiful.

We didn't particularly have a Plan C, as the only other free, indoor things I found were art museums, which Liana doesn't care for (despite having once worked in one). We did have a Regal gift card, so we drove to the closest Regal, which was in the right direction anyway. However, the only thing playing Liana would have sat through was Percy Jackson, which I had roughly zero interest in, so we passed. It was in a mall, and we briefly considered hanging out there to kill time until dinner before realizing how pathetic that would be. We decided to head to the Hard Rock, where we'd decided to have dinner, early, in the hopes of beating rush hour traffic.

As it turns out, traffic doesn't seem to get much heavier or lighter at any time of day in Miami, so it was a fun/harrowing drive through downtown. The roads reminded me quite a bit of the tropical level in any real-world-inspired street racing video game I'd ever played. (Who needs to travel when you've got an Xbox?) We parked and walked over to an outdoor mall near the Heat's stadium in search of the Hark Rock, and found it right on the oceanfront. I was very impressed by the setup and, being from upstate New York, that some cities have managed to keep their downtown areas vibrant and safe.

We walked around a little bit after dinner and decided to head back to the hotel, figuring, if nothing else, we could relax in the room. It was still a bit too windy, but the rain had stopped, so we went to the hotel pool, which was heated to nearly the temperature of a hot tub. (It was lovely.)

The tub in our room was pretty sweet, too.

Fortunately, it was 81 and sunny on Tuesday, so although we had to leave around noon to catch our flight back, we got plenty of swimming and lounging on the beach in before we did leave. All in all, and despite everything else, I had a really enjoyable time, though I must admit that, if I had to do it again, I'd rather escape the cold weather in any other warm place I've ever been than Miami Beach (with the possible exception of Augusta, GA...I don't golf, so as far as I know there's not much for me there). They do allow tenting on the islands at Biscayne, however, which could be a great experience, provided the weather cooperates...

So there you have it. The craziness that was our babymoon. Did you take a vacation while pregnant with your first child? Was it anything like ours? :-)

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