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Archive for "Travel"

Representing Wichita

Posted on August 12, 2018 by under Travel, Zumba.    

While we didn’t get our favorite room this year (22638), we did make the best of it. We hung our flag up and made it feel like home.

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Here’s a close up.

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Brian also did his fair share of pimping the Wichita flag by wearing it.

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Here here is, walking from our hotel room to the convention kickoff.

Here are a few photos of Joel and Brian while we were waiting in line for the fitness-concert event.

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Joel always makes everyone look so diminutive.

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Here’s Brian showing off his flag cape.

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I really regret not having photos of me with the flag. This one was so big though. I couldn’t wear it as a cape because it would drag on the floor when I did. I didn’t really want to carry it around either. I may need to get a smaller, more portable flag (perhaps one on a stick) for next year.

The one benefit of the flag is that it helped Bobbie find me during kickoff. And, it was a great conversation starter because people would inevitably ask, “What country is this?” and we would have a good laugh about it being a city flag rather than a country flag.

That’s all for now. Check back soon for more ZINCON recap. GNG!

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Arrival in Orlando

Posted on August 7, 2018 by under Travel, Zumba.    

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Here’s a selfie of us aboard the plane enroute to Orlando (above) and then upon arriving at MCO, here’s a picture of Brian getting in the car (below).

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I didn’t take pictures of the hotel lobby and our hotel room this time for a couple of reasons. First, we were in a bit of a rush. I wasn’t sure what the line at convention check-in/registration would be like and I didn’t want to be late for my Zumba Wear Insider 3 Star early shopping experience. Second, we didn’t get our favorite room this year so there really wasn’t anything exciting to write home about room-wise. Someone else was staying in 22638 until Thursday so they couldn’t give it to us. Such a bummer! Oh, well. I didn’t really have status this year since I barely stayed at Hyatt properties so I didn’t expect any special treatment.

Since we weren’t going to get our favorite room anyway, I wanted to try something different and stay in tower 1 this time instead of staying in tower 2, where we normally stay. I figured it would be closer to everything, which would mean less walking. Brian absolutely hated the room that we got so he went back and asked for the original room that they were going to put us in back in tower 2. The room wasn’t fabulous but it was an improvement.

Hopefully, I’ll be a Globalist next year and we’ll be back in room 22638 again.

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While Brian was dealing with the room situation, I went to registration to get my name tag which is required before I could go to the special Zumba Wear Insider shopping thing. Thankfully, the registration line wasn’t too long and moved pretty quickly. It looks long in the picture but I’ve actually seen it longer.

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Quick selfie at registration just for fun.

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Of course, I had to take a picture of my first ZINCON badge as a 3 Star Zumba Wear Insider. One of the perks is being able to shop the Zumba Wear Store at ZINCON before the store actually opens. Insiders got to shop with the Zumba Education Specialists, Jammers, and other presenters at noon. The store didn’t officially open until 2 PM so we got a two-hour head start, which I really appreciated. In previous years, I was always too busy to go to the store on the first day and, even when I did, the line was always so long. By the time I got in there, everything I wanted was sold out of my size. This year, I actually got to be one of the people to get first dibs on everything. I must say, I felt pretty special.

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I got to selfie with Erick Santana while we were waiting to get in. I could have selfied with a bunch more people (because everyone was there waiting to get in to the store) but I behaved myself. LOL.

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When I say everyone, I really mean EVERYONE — including Marcie and Loretta, and Benjamin and Rodrigo, and Lars, and Barb, and Nick and his wife…

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If you are a ZIN who regularly keeps up with the ZIN volumes, you’ll recognize many of the faces below.

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In this video you’ll see Cat and Ecem, among others…

Here’s a walking selfie with George.

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Here’s a walking video of Cat and Loretta.

They basically had us meet at South Hall B so we wouldn’t be in the massive Zumba Wear Store line at South Hall A. Then we walked to South Hall A from the lower level to get in to the store early, unbeknownst to all the people who had been waiting in line for hours for the store to open at 2 PM.

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Pictures of the awesome new line.

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I almost got these sweatpants. I really wanted one of everything but I had to restrain myself. I had to get only the things that I absolutely had to have now and reminded myself that these will eventually go online and go on sale. So no need to go bat shit crazy shopping and buying everything in sight.

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My biggest regret is not getting these fringe leggings because they look so awesome when you’re dancing. Now I have to wait until they’re available online.

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Here’s the front of that halter tank.

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Cool camo patterns.

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I did get this rose and camo print sports bra and leggings. There’s also a matching headband which I did not get.

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I also got this whole outfit (right) — the black shirt with gold print and the camo leggings with the gold foil accents.

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This is the special Swarovski crystals area. It’s so exclusive that they only let so many people in there at a time. There’s a separate bouncer guarding the entrance. And, they put a limit on how many of each item you can buy (only one per person).

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I got a pair of leggings with Swarovski crystals.

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And, a lace-up tank with Swarovski crystals. These were the only things I could afford in there. Most of the the items were over $100.

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Here are the sports bras I got.

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I really didn’t need to buy the sports bras but they matched some of the outfits I got so I had to get them too.

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Same sports bra with a different tank.

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Same sports bra with the same tank above except in black.

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Here’s that cute rose and camo print outfit.

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Incidentally, the two new tanks also look great with the rose and camo outfit.

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I also got the camo leggings with the gold foil. This was on a follow up trip to the store, when I could bring Brian with me.

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I also got the yellow tank with the eyelets in the back on this follow up shopping trip. I didn’t want it at first but changed my mind after seeing it on other people.

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Brian got some sweatpants and a new STRONG shirt.

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My ZINCON 2018 exclusive tank.

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Brian’s ZINCON 2018 exclusive shirt, which I’m now regretting not getting one for myself. The shirt is just a basic shirt, which didn’t seem special because EVERYONE was wearing them while we were at ZINCON (including the servers at the B-Line restaurant). However, now that we are away from it all, the shirt seems pretty special. I wish I would have bought one for myself too.

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One of the improvements they made to the shopping experience this year is now you get credit for items purchase at ZINCON. I really didn’t want to shop at the Zumba Wear Store before I wouldn’t get credit towards my Zumba Wear Insider status. But now you can get credit for it, which is really cool. I’m super happy about that change. It fixes my dilemma of not wanting to shop at ZINCON because of the whole credit thing.

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I also got these body sprays for free. I was happy I got them for free but at the same time, I wished that they were selling them again this year like last year, because I wanted to stock up.

Anyway, I’m getting really sleepy. Until next time. GNG!

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Journey to #ZINCON 2018

Posted on August 5, 2018 by under Travel, Zumba.    

Brian got to relish an “I told you so” moment on our way to Orlando. We decided to fly out of Kansas City this year to save money. It’s been a while since we’d done that (the last time was 2011 when we traveled to the East Coast with the Dills). We have a very nice airport in Wichita now and there are usually good flight options (granted, not as many as the Kansas City airport, but it’s better than it has been); however, the flights were super expensive for some reason. I wanted to pay around $330, which is what we have paid to travel to Orlando in the past, but this time the prices were hovering around $400 per person. So Brian and I decided to pull the trigger and fly out of Kansas City instead. Our airfare ended up being about $200 per person but it was a direct flight from Kansas City to Orlando (so we wouldn’t have to mess with connecting) and it’s through Southwest so there aren’t any check-in luggage fees. Plus, since there’s no connection, we would arrive in Orlando around 9:00 am which is plenty of time for my 11:45 am Zumba Wear Insider shopping appointment.

I couldn’t believe that in 2018 we managed to find ourselves driving three hours out for a flight but, once I accepted it, I actually began to look forward to spending the night in Kansas City. I had all of these ideas. We would go out to dinner at one of my favorite places and hang out and have some pre-ZINCON fun before hopping on the plane to Orlando the next day.

Well, the best laid plans are often foiled. Or so is the case in my world. Instead of leaving work at 4:00 pm on Tuesday like I wanted, I ended up leaving closer to 5:00 pm. That meant we didn’t make it to Kansas City until after 8:00 pm. I really should have taken Tuesday off too but I ended up with a few meetings and the day proved to be super busy so by the time I thought to add Tuesday (I had put my ZINCON vacation on the calendar months ago but not Tuesday) it was too late. There were already meetings on the calendar. I probably could have gotten out of them but I hate missing things. I’m the kind of person who answers my desk phone as I’m leaving the office because I can’t leave knowing that I have voicemail that hasn’t been listened to yet. I also always respond to emails — though, sometimes too hastily. Bottom line, it would have been better had I taken Tuesday off (because Brian was smart enough to take that day off) and we could have gone up to Kansas City early in the day and actually done stuff. But I didn’t. I worked the full day instead and so that’s what happened.

We arrived at the hotel too late and didn’t really feel like doing anything. We did get there with enough light to check out how to get to the airport from the hotel. Yes, I know. The Kansas City Airport Marriott is like two minutes from the terminal but we are nerdy and didn’t want to get confused, specially since we will be navigating it in the dark the next day. It was actually really confusing (because there’s all sorts of different parking options and the one that Brian insisted on was the garage parking — the most expensive option obviously, that’s Brian for you) so I’m glad we did a trial run of sorts. It made finding the parking garage easier the next day.

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In the meantime, we hadn’t had dinner yet so we decided to just eat that the restaurant inside the hotel, KC Tap & Table. It wasn’t fabulous but it wasn’t terrible either. The crab cakes didn’t look like much but they were actually pretty good.

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The flat bread pizza was just okay.

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Take the food review with a grain of salt, though. I may be a bit salty over the fact that we could have eaten for free had we arrived just a few minutes earlier. There was free food in the club lounge for elite rewards members until a certain time. When we got there, they had packed everything up except for the dessert.

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All that was left were some fresh fruit and crème brûlée. But it was free so I had some. LOL. However, the sugar got me amped so, instead of going to bed early like we were supposed to, we ended up staying up and catching up on some Netflix.

The next morning, we both got up pretty early but we weren’t in any particular hurry because we were pretty much at the airport already. We were parked and in the door by 4:00 am for our 5:20 am flight. You would think that would be enough time but NOOOO! If you were not checking any bags in, I guess that was fine. The line for the Southwest check in counter was insanely long!

It was almost 5:00 am by the time we got to the counter. And, of course, since it’s less than 45 minutes before our flight, they couldn’t guarantee that our bags would make it. Brian was a little bit freaked out about that, which in turn made me worry as well. And then she tells us to run to our gate.

In our panic, we went the wrong way — in the opposite direction of the TSA Precheck security line. So then we had to start running back the other way because there was no way we were going to quickly make it through the regular security line. I get through security but Brian gets hung up because he’s randomly selected for an additional screening. I’m on one side through security and he’s on the other side. He’s like, “Just run to the gate so you can make out flight. If I don’t make it, I’ll catch the next flight!” This shit just got serious.

Anyway, I make it aboard the plane and I tell the flight attendant that my husband got stuck at security and he’s coming and she’s like, “If he makes it, he makes it. Nothing we can do about it.”

I call Brian in a panic to find out where he is and he tells me that he’s in the jet bridge getting ready to board. Jane is with him too. Whew!

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Oh, yeah. This is Jane, a Zumba instructor (ZIN) based out of Overland Park. That was the silver lining in all of this. We met Jane while waiting in the long check in line and we got to visit with her a bit. She was also going to ZINCON. So at least I made a new friend.

All three of us made it, as did our bags. Here’s a video of us arriving at the airport in Orlando with our fancy, schmancy customized ZINCON suitcases.

BTW, Brian, who likes to be at the airport three hours early, never let me forget that the whole debacle of almost missing our flight was my fault because I hate getting to the airport too early. But we made it so I can’t say I learned my lesson. However, I will be less likely to complain about going to the airport too early next time.

That’s all for now. Check back in a couple of days for a recap of the rest of our ZINCON adventure. GNG!

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Our Final Day in Miami

Posted on May 12, 2018 by under Travel.    

We took advantage of our final day in Miami to do some exploring. And, because I’m always curious about public transportation, we had to check it out. In Miami they have this thing called Metromover and it’s completely free. It reminds me of the KC Streetcar but with a greater reach.

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We got instructions from the concierge on how to use it to get to Bayside Marketplace and so we embarked on our little sightseeing adventure.

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On our way to the Metro station, we walked by Trinity Cathedral, a beautiful church next to our hotel. It is the oldest church in the original city limits of Miami.

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I thought it was a Catholic church at first because of its look and name, but it’s actually Episcopalian. The two are very similar and I didn’t know the difference and so I honestly had to look it up.

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This is the Adrienne Arsht Center Metromover station, which is the closest station to our hotel. I took a picture because I’m use to trains being on street-level or underground. I guess the LRT in Manila is also elevated but I don’t remember ever taking it. This is the first one on an elevated platform that I recall ever taking.

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Brian is very anti public transportation so he was kind of cranky at me for making us take the Metro. As payback, he made us take the steep stairs instead of using the elevator. The stairs reminded me of the stairs at the Downtown YMCA. It was a workout and I remember thinking to myself, no wonder all the people we’ve seen in Miami are fit! You’d have to be in order to use the public transportation.

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This pretty much sums up Brian’s attitude toward taking the Metro. I considered it an adventure that didn’t cost us anything.

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The trolley is another free way to get around. It runs Monday through Saturday from 6:30 AM to 11:00 PM. We didn’t get to check it out though.

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After getting off at the station closest to Bayside Marketplace, it’s still a bit of a hike. Not too far, though. The walk was doable and gave us the opportunity to take some fun photos along the way like this one.

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These next few photos were taken at Bayside Marketplace.

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We walked around a bit before deciding on a place to eat.

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There were lots of options and some with great views.

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There was even a Hard Rock Cafe nearby.

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After walking throughout the place, we settled on Bubba Gump Shrimp Company which was actually the first restaurant we came across before exploring the marketplace. The restaurant, which is now an international franchise, was originally inspired by the movie Forrest Gump.

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Here are some pictures from inside the Bayside Marketplace location.

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Here are some pictures of Brian perusing the menus.

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You use these signs to signal to your server.

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Here are some pictures of our food.

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Leave it to Brian to order a “chicken” sandwich at a seafood place.

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I found something with rice and immediately knew that’s what I wanted.

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We opted to skip dessert at the restaurant so we could get the Belgian chocolate shake at the Haagen-Dazs next door. It proved to be a wise choice because this was the smoothest, most delicious chocolate shake I’d ever had. It kind of made me wish there was a Haagen-Dazs shop nearby.

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Brian gave the chocolate shake his seal of approval.

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We decided to hang around Bayside Marketplace to finish our chocolate shake but then it was time to make our way back to our hotel. The transit system was simple enough to navigate that I managed to talk Brian into taking it again. Plus, it’s kind of tricky to find a good spot for a Lyft or Uber pick up and the Metro is free so it was kind of a no-brainer. Anyway, it allowed us to take in more of the sights like this awesome urban graffiti wall.

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Once we were back at our hotel, we discovered this small shopping center next door which is sandwiched in between our hotel and the DoubleTree.

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There were several restaurants in there so we really didn’t have to venture far for food. I wish we would have known this when we first arrived. Although, we did want to hit South Beach and do some exploring. I think Brian would have been perfectly happy eating in one of the restaurants next door, though.

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Speaking of exploring, I managed to convince Brian to walk down to the marina at sunset to check out some boats.

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As nice as the marina is, it’s actually even more spectacular at sunrise.

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Here’s the view of the port from our hotel room on checkout day. There were more cruise ships docked and ready to take on new passengers on their adventures.

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That pretty much sums up this recap of the 2018 Zumba cruise. Until next year — when we hope to do it all over again. GNG.

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Debarkation Day

Posted on May 11, 2018 by under Travel, Zumba.    

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Alas, all good things must come to an end. We woke up on Friday morning and it was time to get off the ship. We didn’t have to fly home until the next day though, so we were able to take our time and not have to rush to the airport. The only downside is that, even though we weren’t in a hurry, they still kicked us out of our cabins by 8:30 am because they wanted to clean and prep it for the next passengers.

Speaking of our cabin, this is kind of embarrassing, but I didn’t find the hair dryer until the night before. I guess there was a drawer in the makeup vanity but the chair, which we were using to hang my dirty workout clothes, was always there and so I didn’t ever realize that drawer was there. Brian found it while checking all of the storage places when we were packing the night before.

It’s not like I had time to dry my hair, anyway. I barely had enough time to shower before dinner on most nights. LOL.

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I took a picture of our SeaPass cards for the sake of memories. The DX sticker on Brian’s card signifies the deluxe drink package, which meant that he could drink an unlimited number of drinks each day. It’s a privilege that didn’t come cheaply (about $60 a day before the required gratuities). However, if you consider that drinks are about $15 each on average, then it makes sense to get the all-you-can-drink package. To save money, we didn’t get the same drink package for me. I got the next package down which got me unlimited coffee, soda, and smoothies.

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Here’s a photo of me with some new friends we made from the Zumbaholics Facebook group. We were trying to find our designated staging area.

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This is a summary of the artists who performed on the cruise this year. Many of them are unknown to most people who are not in the Zumba community. Heck, I didn’t know about Fuse ODG until this trip!

I heard this song for the first time during the sail away party and I immediately fell in love with it. It’s now my current pre-cooldown song.

Anyway, the debarkation process went pretty smoothly and we were back at the Marriott before long. I think the trickiest part was making sure that our Lyft driver could spot us and could find a reasonably safe spot nearby to load. The Port of Miami is pretty crazy. It’s very busy and, because people load and unload in the middle of the street, traffic barely moves.

I was getting stressed out as the passenger. I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like to drive in that mayhem. I was very grateful that neither Brian nor I had to do it. We were so thankful that the Lyft driver got us out of there and delivered us safely to our hotel that we tipped him $5 for a $7 ride. He earned every bit of that fare and tip, as far as Brian and I were concerned.

Check back tomorrow for how we spent our final day in Miami. Until then, GNG.

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