There’s nothing like 79 degree weather, a sandy beach, and drinks with little umbrellas to recharge your batteries. The wife, the kid and I split town for the weekend and went to Florida. It was awesome overall, but I was disappointed at times and pleasantly surprised at others.
Our hotel in Key West was awesome. They were still repairing hurricane damage, and we checked in on the second day after their reopening. There was a lot of construction going on, but we never heard it. Our room was phenomenal and featured a 42-in plasma TV, marble shower enclosure with dual shower heads, and a patio overlooking the pool and gardens.
Key West was kind of a let down. It was far more commercial than I expected. I guess that happens when anything becomes a tourist trap. Duval Street was an enjoyable walk on Saturday, but Friday night (even very early in the evening) was a drunken mob. If you’re looking for a fun tropical getaway, head to an island, rather than Key West. You’ll get all of the fun of a paradise vacation without the alcoholics.
We decided to cut our Key West trip short and hop the plane back to Miami for a couple of days. Miami was awesome. South Beach is great if you’re looking to do the single, trendy thing. With a family, however, I suggest you go further north. We stayed at the Sonesta in Sunny Isles. It has a nice clean beach, and all the amenities you can stand.
The only thing I found annoying is the typical beach complaint – people camping beach chairs at 7 am that they don’t plan to occupy until after noon. The wife and I took the little man to the pool early in the morning, but discovered the real estate was already packed with placeholders.
The only other real serious complaint I had is with the sorry state of air travel in this country. We missed our Friday AM flight because DCA was inadequately staffed with only two people checking IDs for six lanes of traffic. The bottleneck at security caused a lot of people to miss flights and there were a lot of unhappy campers at the airport.
Our flight from Key West to Miami was delayed an hour because the plane was “unflyable”. They eventually loaded us onto the plane’s twin (which was parked next to ours). It’s never a good feeling to get on an exact duplicate of a plane that is unflyable. It also didn’t ease my concerns when I saw Doogie Howser take the controls.
I guess every pilot has to cut his hours somewhere, and what better way to get time than flying a little Buddy Holly killing plane over the completely inaccessible Florida everglades. It reminded me of the ValuJet crash and a comment an old boss made at the time, “Crocodiles gotta eat to.”
Oh well, I guess I shouldn’t complain… It’s not like we’ve sold all of our airports to the Saudis… Yet…