Saturday, January 26, 2013

TCM Cruise Trip Day Seven: Miami Tour And Totem

Since we had to be off the ship pretty early this morning I was naturally up and down several times with sinus drainage, just because nothing's ever easy. The wife and I ended up grabbing a bit of breakfast at the buffet just to be doing it, then started making our way down to the theater area where we to wait until we could leave the ship. We ran across the In-Laws along the way, who were just milling in the hallway as if they thought the theater was full, but we went ahead and made our way inside, where seating was plentiful. After chit-chatting with our seat mates for a bit our number was called and we made our way off the ship, only to get bound up again for another 30+ minutes as we got to customs for reasons unknown, just some kinda issue with folks ahead of us. We sort of wondered after the In-Laws, though I kind of suspected that they'd finagled their way off the ship earlier than they were scheduled to, since the Mother In Law's hip can be played up when convenient to get quicker access to this or that.

Once we finally got through customs with our luggage I wasn't surprised to find the In-Laws waiting for us on the other side, having already collected their luggage and located Janey, our driver. I kidded the MIL about bullying her way to the front, but as it turned out they'd simply heard the announcement about people having all their luggage being able to disembark and had made for the shore. Granted, they only had one of their three bags with them, but I suppose that's a reasonable excuse. I was very amused that the MIL kept being offended by my comments that she might bully her way into things, because she happily accepts preferential treatment if it's available, and that hip definitely flares up at...convenient times, let's just say.


Janey fought her way through traffic (the fallout from some half-marathon that was run this morning) until we finally made it back to the Four Seasons. We'd arrived before the rooms were ready, so we had brunch at Edge, the restaurant in the hotel where the wife and I had lunch on the way out last Sunday. When they finally got a room ready we chilled there for a bit, then the wife and I went to the lobby to secure a tour of Miami and a driver for the evening, as we had plans 'off-campus'.

I ended up claiming the room as our own by grabbing a shower just to freshen up a bit, then the wife and I got ready for the tour and got the In-Laws squared away in their room, just to see of it was any different than ours; see how the other half lives. Once we were convinced that all rooms were created equal we headed downstairs to meet David del Rio, who runs All About Miami Tours, a service that offers a semi-private tour of the city in a nice size Mercedes van. There were only three other passengers  a man by himself and another couple who were killing time before their cruise ship departed on Sunday.

Biltmore Hotel.
The tour proper began with Key Biscane, then we made our way around the entirety of the area, including Coral Gables, then stopped briefly for a wander through the Biltmore Hotel, where the wife and I will definitely be staying should we find ourselves in Miami again, because it was simply gorgeous.  We took another short break for a prowl through a cigar shop in Little Havana, then cruised through the touristy nightmare that South Beach apparently has become before wending our way through downtown, where we finally deposited our fellow tourists back at their respective hotels, with the wife and I dropped off last since we'd been picked up last.

It was a great tour and David was a helluva lot of fun, giving equal parts dishy gossip as well as history of the city on the fly, which made things really interesting. We'd definitely suggest booking a tour if you have the chance, it was well worth it.

Cirque Du Soleil Tent. Being
Under The Big Top Was A
Nice Surprise.
We checked in with the In-Laws back at the hotel and related the details of our afternoon outing, then got ready for the evening out. We were met downstairs by a driver and ushered into a Mercedes sedan, which took us to Sun Life Stadium to see Cirque du Soleil's Totem, which was something the wife threw together at the last minute before we left just to give she and I a little 'date night' experience out before heading home.
The only tickets she could score were part of a VIP package that actually worked out well, offering a little lounge area as well as complimentary snacks and drinks before the show and during the 30 minute intermission. The really interesting twist this time around was that the event took place under an actual tent, so not being familiar with the local geography I was left to assume that the tent was actually pitched in the parking lot of the stadium? I honestly never saw anything resembling a sports arena, so who knows? We also ended up with some free swag out of the deal, but the best bit honestly had to be the stunning show. It's crazy to see how they continue to be amazing no matter what crazy shit they throw into the mix. This production featured both Tron-esque characters glowing in the dark while doing acrobatics as well as Native American inspired roller-boogie number which featured tricks on top of a giant drum. Simply amazing stuff.

Our driver was where he said he'd be and ran us back to the hotel, where we both showered or grabbed a bath, then ordered in a late room service dinner before calling it a night. The wife crashed fast while I flipped channels for a bit before turning out the lights, working on the notes for the past few days to be sure I wasn't losing details.

I'm out kids.

Be seeing you.


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