Thursday, June 02, 2005


We were supposed to fly out of Nashville at 7:30am and get into Miami around 10:30am. This would correspond to the times that Rick's parents and brother, sis-in-law, and their children would be arriving. Then we would head over to the rental car place, hop in our cars, and be on the beach by noon. HA! So much for planning....

When we boarded the plane, they announced that while en route to Nashville, the plane hit a bird. I didn't think that was a big deal. I'm sure planes hit birds all the time. Well, I was wrong. This bird must have been pterodactyl-sized, because it dented the plane. Our flight was delayed. We then tried to get another flight into Miami. No luck. We were stuck. At 10:30am, they announced that our flight had been cancelled. Hummm....we're supposed to be IN Miami by now... We followed the mass of 140 people to the ticket counter, where we would all attempt to find other flights. Most people were able to catch a flight to Dallas, and then a connecting flight to Miami, which landed most of them in Miami at 7:30 that night. It's not 10:30am, but we would have taken it. We didn't make that flight. It filled up before our turn at the counter.

We ended up flying to Washington DC, where we would catch a connecting flight and be in Miami at around 9:30pm. The airline lady was nice enough to even give us a food voucher for dinner once we got into Dulles airport. We would have a couple hours to eat before we boarded the plane at 7:30pm. HA! Each time I walked by the board for departing flights, our departure time changed: 8pm. 8:30pm. 9pm. 9:40pm. 11pm. We (finally) departed for Miami at a little after midnight. We were in the hotel at 4am. We only lost 17 hours of our vacation.

Our hotel was on Miami Beach, which was nice. The beach wasn't very crowded at all and the weather was perfect. That is where we spent all day Friday. On Saturday, we decided to take a trip to famous South Beach. I had heard all kinds of stories about it, but nothing could prepare me for what we saw.

I knew there would be a lot of homosexuals in SoBe. I can deal with that. I don't approve of the life style, but I've had friends who are homosexual. Once we found our spot on the beach, I sat in my lounger listening in to those around me (it was very, very crowded). I was amazed at the number of homosexuals on the beach. Not in a "ohmygosh, I can't stand this" kind of way, just amazed in the sense that I had never been a minority as a heterosexual. I was talking with the rest of my family and making comments like, "I bet 99% of the people on this beach are homosexual." Someone made the comment about some of the topless girls hitting on Rick and I said, "I'd be more worried about the guys..." My mom-in-law was beginning to get offended by the men offering each other pecks on the cheek and rubbing lotion on each other. I just sat back and observed the culture of it all. I feel asleep in my lounger a while later, and was awakened by my bro-in-law, "Amanda! You know all of those little comments you've been making today about our, um, situation? Do you THINK it could be because we're in between two rainbow flags!?!" hahahahaha. We had no idea where we had parked ourselves.

Rick and I then decided to walk on down the beach and see what else was going on. For those of you thinking of going to Miami, let me offer you a tidbit of advice: NEVER go on Memorial Day weekend (that is, unless you are a member of the "hip hop" crowd and like lots of rap music, drinking, and drugs....then, go, have fun). I am not prejudiced, but neither could I ever pass for someone who's into hip hop and rap and that whole culture. As we walked on down the beach away from the "gay-friendly" area, the color changed. I looked up a couple of minutes later and we were the only white people on the beach. Again, I find myself a minority. We saw a very large crowd of people, including professional camera crews cheering and laughing about something that was going on in the water. Rick and I broke through the crowd enough to see and what did we find but a game of "strip football" going on in the water. It took me a couple of minutes to realize what was going on. Guys vs. Girls. If the girls caught the ball, the guys took their swim trunks off. If the guys caught the ball, the girls had to take either their tops or their bottoms off, depending on which the guys wanted. I tried to keep my chin off of the sand and my eyes in my head. I couldn't believe it. We decided to keep walking and came upon a couple of 18 or 19 year old girls building a sand castle. Awwww.... I thought, now that looks like fun... When we got close enough to see what they were building, we realized that it wasn't a sand castle at all, but, um, certain body parts. We decided at that point to turn around and walk back to our "gay friendly" zone. I think my mom-in-law should be happy that that's where we ended up.....

We weren't able to do anything that "normal" tourists would get to do when they visit Miami because of the hip hop crowd. Turns out their in Miami every Mem. Day weekend. Walking up and down the streets were people drinking, liter all over the place, and even people smoking pot. The really cool restaurants in SoBe were either closed, or not at all like what they would normally be had the hip hop crowd not been there. We actually ended up spending nearly all of our time in Miami Beach and even Ft. Lauderdale. Rick and I might have braved it one night and tried to go out to SoBe, but there is no way that with my 60 yr old in-laws, and my bro- and sis-in-law's 3 and 5 year olds that we even could have faked being hip hop fans.

Anyway, I guess it was an ok-time. I did really enjoy Friday when we stayed on Miami Beach all day. I love all of my in-laws, but being around them for so long without a break kind of stressed me out, but I guess that's just because I'm not used to being around them so much since they live in Minnesota and we're in Nashville. I don't think I would call our trip a "vacation," though. More like a "we're going to the beach but we're not really going to get to relax and do what we want to do" kind of trip. Ahhh, yes. But we weren't able to leave until we all decided that this is a "vacation" that we need to make as a family every year. Yikes. I guess I've got a year to prepare. :oP


At 8:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incredible trip! Thanks for sharing your experience. I'll be looking forward to hearing what happens on this family trip next year.....

At 5:13 AM, Blogger Tony Arnold said...

Kris had no chance at completely describing your trip, but he did a pretty good job.

When I have found myself in situations that differed greatly from my morals and ethics, I did not really feel judgmental. I felt two emotions: peace and sadness.

I feel peace in realizing how free I am as a Christian from the emptiness and pain of the lifestyles I observed. They are working so hard to have fun and the outward appearance is of happiness, but you can almost feel the emptiness. Really look at peoples' eyes in those situations, watch their subtle body language.

And that is where I start feeling sadness. I feel sad for them and for my inability (or lack of willingness, not sure which at times) to reach these people.

I would have expected to fight judgmental behavior, but it doesn't really occur for me.



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