Archive for August, 2014

South Beach Vacation 2014 – Day 2

Fun in the Sun

Fun in the Sun

Day 2 – SLEEP DEPRIVED is how we started this day. Romulus’ sister is a Atlanta resident who was kind enough to navigate us through the DANGERS and RIGOR of the city’s AM Rush to Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. Soon after we entered, we saw employees with recognizable faces, so we stopped them and asked, “hey, did you go to TSU”? Our suspicions were confirmed with an embracing “yes. Yes I did. I think I remember y’all from campus too”. Secretly, I think we all wanted to breakout to TSU Funk. But we calmed ourselves and keep it moving towards our departure gate. Besides, with all of the TSA – Homeland Security in the building, we deemed it best not to bring attention to ourselves. After surviving the long checkpoint lines, we made it to the boarding area where we ran into our brother from another mother, “WHATTAYAKNOWJOE” who was on his way to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. We fraternized for while as we waited to board our respective planes, had some Chic fil a biscuits and enjoyed the ATL airport “scenery”. 🙂 Our festive mood was briefly interrupted as Romulus and I were waiting to board our plane. A white lady who appeared to be 60ish shoved her way between the two of us and a black sister from NY. While doing so, no apology was offered. She only remark (in a nasty way) “let me through, I’m late”. Our chests swelled but we refrained from reacting because our NY sister reminded us that we were still black and TSA was everywhere. Right after that, we had a scare. Because we’d made the unwise decision of booking seats on the plane with a seat between us (we’re not exactly small guys), it appeared we were about to have a female undesirable seated between us. Thankfully, we were wrong. We had actually booked side by side seats instead. We joked on the plane that our air pilot should have been pulled over mid-air by a plane police. This is because we left ATL on-time but about 75% into the flight, we learned that we were 45 mins ahead of schedule. Our pilot was FLYING (literally and figuratively). [Sidebar: My phone will no longer charge my cell, but I refuse to file an insurance claim for another one because I’m eligible for an upgrade in September. So, I have a wall charger that externally charges the battery-ONLY]. My cell died on the plane ride from ATL to Ft. Lauderdale. I wanted to charge it at the Ft. Lauderdale airport, but it has distinctive lights and some blink. I felt would alert TSA, so I decided against it in the baggage claim area of the Ft. Lauderdale airport. Seriously, this wall charger looks like an electrical explosive of some kind. Initially, we were going to BALL OUT and rent a Benz for the weekend until a friend of Romulus’ talked us out of it. He’s a resident of Miami and strongly suggested we wouldn’t need a vehicle at all during our vacation. He talked us into catching the Tri Rail shuttle to the Tri Rail Station. This fine, Fine, FINE Latina chic asked to sit beside me on the shuttle to the station. You know this hurt my feelings, right? But, I was behaved. 😉 I simply enjoyed some humorous conversation with her. When we arrived at the Tri Rail station, we knew instantly that the train ride was a very good idea. Whites, Blacks, Haitians, Latinos, Errrbody started taking really good care of us. They weren’t employees, but normal/everyday residents of Ft. Lauderdale. Figuratively, they held our hands and told us everything there was to know about where and how to take the Tri Rail train. One of them even bought me a energy drink and stated, “you’re gonna need this if you’re going to South Beach for a few days”. 🙂 It simply made us feel welcomed and embraced (contrary to how we feel at home sometimes). The train ride was cool. We were afforded a pretty good look at the inner city of Ft. Lauderdale. When we arrived at the train station in Miami, a shuttle awaited to transport to Miami Airport. From there, we used the Uber app to take us to our lodging quarters. If you don’t have his app on your phone, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you get it. Our driver was from Venezuela. Very cool and informative guy. He also treated us very well. We have now arrived at our lodging quarters. BEHOLD! – The Conrad Miami. Ooooo WE! This place is INCREDIBLE! We pulled up at the front door and was immediately approached as if we were Jay-Z and Kanye or somebody. Really! It was like that. Romulus looked at me and I look at him. We said to each other, “who he “bleep” are we”??? 10-Star courtesies and pleasantries were extended by the bell hops, and the Concierge staff are platinum star professionals. Different from many places, the Concierge Desk is on the Ground floor while the Guest Services/Checkin desk is on the 25th. We were upgraded to Diamond status and given a room on the 22nd floor with an Ocean View (as in the Atlantic Ocean) of South Beach. The room is immaculate! <-- Nuff Said! I've had the fortune of lodging in even grander quarters, but this is pretty top notch. After we cleaned ourselves up, we visited the concierge for suggestions on where to eat and drink. We were given VIP passes to The Blue Martini Lounge (we haven’t made it there yet, but intend to) and directed to TRULUCK’S. The ambiance, service and food were Best In Class! We had REAL Oysters in a half shell, REAL Crabcake (no batter), Sauteed Chicken, Steak, and a recommended seafood melody (I can’t remember the name of it). There was live music featuring softer renditions of Lauryn Hill, Boyz II Men, Erykah Badu, Marvin Gaye, Babyface, Tony Braxton and other soulful artists. <-- THIS! I fell in love with. After dinner, we were referred to The Brickell District for live outdoor entertainment and a spirits store to purchase libations. 🙂 GJ and Henney on deck. After enjoying the district, we returned to our lodging quarters for drinks and laughter. We intended to go back out (possibly to The Blue Martini Lounge) but decided the next day would be the better time to engage there so we drank ourselves to sleep. Day 3 is when it started to get REALLY good. Stay tuned…..

South Beach Vacation 2014 – Day 1

Fun in the Sun

Fun in the Sun

Decided on a whim to vacation in South Beach Miami, FL for Labor Day weekend. Day 1 – Drove to Atlanta, GA from Nashville, TN with my friend Romulus for a networking affair for professionals. My business is my network, so I never stop working in that regard. One of the highlights of this 1 day stay was suppose to include a Lamb Burger from Cafe’ Circa. I LOVE THIS BURGER, but the restaurant is currently CLOSED for remodeling. Imagine my disappointment. So, we ended the evening on the roof top of STATS Restaurant and Sports Bar enjoying the company of a local resident and a good friend. She’s a great conversationalist, resourceful and a REALIST! We can all attest that the food and VIEW was AWESOME. We enjoyed ribs, sauteed steak tips, collard greens and chicken wraps. Because Romulus and I are Jack Daniels connoisseurs, we enjoyed a drink that included Jack as the primary liquor in a melody called, “RBI”. Flat Tire beer was at the table also. After hours of conversation and a little non-purpose driving around downtown Atlanta, we finally called it quits at approximately 2:00 AM. We knew that our “RUSH HOUR IN ATL TRAFFIC” commute to Hartsfield-Jackson Airport was swiftly approaching, so the night ended prematurely (for us). Four hours later, DAY 2 began. Stay tuned…..