February 17, 2019

Our Vacation to Miami, Florida

Our Vacation to Miami, Florida
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for February 17, 2019

We flew to sunny Miami, Florida this week for a vacation.  The weather has been horrible in Minnesota for the last month with snowstorm after snowstorm and temperatures staying well below zero for weeks.  Some 70 degree weather was just what we needed!

Miss Sheri and I were celebrating the 25th anniversary for our wedding on February 12.  She's put up with me for a long time.  I like telling people that she is repenting for sins from a previous life while I must have done something pretty special to receive such blessings!

We actually hijacked the vacation idea from our good friends, Karl & Tina Zitzewitz.  They came down to Miami last year for the boat show and had told us they were going down again.  We said let's do it!

We rented a condo from Air BNB together which had a pool on the roof.  Unfortunately it wasn't heated so I was the only one actually willing to get in the pool.  The rest of the condo was pretty nice, though, so it all worked out for the best.

And yes, I know I have very beautiful cleavage when I fold my arms in like this.  Note to self:  I should probably stand up straight when posing for pictures while in the pool.

Our condo was really close to Ocean Drive in South Beach so we spent almost every day down in this neighborhood.  It's kind of a crazy area.

We enjoyed taking walks down to the beach.  We were surprised when we stumbled upon an actual Beach Bunny.  I always thought those were a myth.

One day we rented bicycles to cruise around South Beach.  I was proud of my fancy looking basket, but Miss Sheri told me it wasn't making me look nearly as attractive as I believed it was.  

We saw a couple of huge iguanas during our ride.  People say these are invasive species, but they seem pretty cute and friendly to me so who wouldn't want them around?  I say let them take over and be everywhere.  

Our Lyft driver was from Cuba and he told us to visit Havana 1957 for some good authentic Cuban food.  I had a Cuban sandwich which I really enjoyed, but honestly I couldn't tell if it was authentic or not.  They could have slipped me a forged Cuban Sandwich and I'd have never know the difference.

We went to Cibo wine bar to enjoy some Italian cuisine for the night of our anniversary party.  Tina won the contest for selecting the best looking item off the menu when she bought some kind of whitefish that came complete with his original head.  Tina entertained us all at the end of the meal by performing a little ventriloquist routine using that same head to express some witty banter.  Way to go, Tina!

On Wednesday it rained which killed our plans to go kayaking with the manatees, so we had to scramble to find some indoor activities to enjoy.  We discovered the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science which boasts a planetarium, an aquarium, and a Science Museum.  Sounded good to us!

It was a really fun way to spend the day.  We saw sharks, alligators, stingrays, and a bunch of other critters.  We learned about a program the museum is supporting to replace coral reef that is being killed off and we saw an exhibit that showed how the feathers of dinosaurs somehow could be associated with the future of flight by man.  Not sure how those two were related, but I'm certain it made sense if I would have only had the patience to read more about the exhibit while I was in there.

Best of all, they had a really angry looking owl.  I'm not sure what the person did who pissed him off, but I wouldn't want to be around when he gets his vengeance.

I loved the movie we saw in the planetarium.  First of all, the screen was amazing occupying the domed roof of a sizable building attached to the museum.  Then Whoopi Goldberg started speaking and we saw how stars are born which was illustrated by the birth of our very own sun.  That universe out there is pretty big.

I've always been a fan of shark tanks and theirs is quite unique with viewing areas across multiple floors and through this amazing 31 foot Oculus lens at the bottom of the tank.  It's really a fascinating portal into the world of marine life.  

Here's a video that shows how the Oculus Lens was added to the tank:

On Thursday, we boarded a water taxi to make the journey over to the island that was hosting the Miami Boat Show.  I love traveling on the ocean because you just never know what you are going to encounter.

We weren't disappointed when about 5 minutes into the trip, the captain announced that he saw dolphins off in the distance.  We were excited to watch them for the few minutes they swam near us.

We also saw some pelicans sitting on part of the bridge.  These are fun birds to watch when they are diving into the water to catch fish with their big beaks. 

Karl made the observation to me during our trip that I'm more of a dog and he's more of a cat.  I didn't know what he meant by that so he explained I tend to be friendly and go up and talk to anybody while he remains more reserved and needs to observe people before deciding to engage.  I wasn't sure if I should believe that, but then I saw this picture and thought that maybe he does have a point.

Eventually we arrived at the Miami Boat Show and spent the day walking down piers and visiting all sorts of incredible, multi-million dollar boats.  With more than 1400 boats on display, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Jeep was there and had a massive sandcastle being made in their area.  I offered to help, but they said they had it covered.  I'm sure it was pretty incredible by the time it was completed.

All in all, we had a great time crashing the vacation of Captain Karl and Tina!

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