Tag Archives: Miami

Tending to family and footsies

My second day in Miami, I had a few errands to run, like buying flip flops (seriously, I forgot these????), some cat supplies, and some food for my upcoming Belize adventure.

Snacks that aren't easily available (or crazy expensive) on tiny tropical island.

Snacks and essentials that aren’t easily available (or crazy expensive) on tiny tropical island.

Hmmm, I never really explained the whole cat traveling thing.  Well, I am not the only ecologist in the family that is traveling the whole summer.  My husband is too.  My kitty (named Gaia) is staying with me rather than my husband, as he has more legs on his trips than me.  While I am in Belize, however, Gaia has stay in Miami with my parents.

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Gaia, my rescue Bengal kitty

I digress…. the rest of my second day in Miami I hung out with my family (with the exception of one, they all live in South Florida).  We got group manicures and pedicures.  I guess that a family that grooms together stays together!  We dined further north in Broward County at a place called Big Bear Brewing Company.  The food was great (ribs and a beer-cheese soup).  But in my humble opinion, their beer didn’t hold a candle to our great Cleveland breweries (shout out to Great Lakes Brewing).  CLE +1.

My third and final day in Miami was spent largely helping out my family.  Ever looking forward to the cuisine of my hometown, though, I had to first brunch at my favorite hole-in-the wall Cuban bakery.  I had a lovely sugar rush from a café con leche and sugar encrusted pastelitos con carne (with meat) and con guayaba (with guava and cheese).

My cafe con leche and pastelitos.

My cafe con leche and pastelitos.

Then I headed home to try and fix my father’s ailing 9 year old computer.  No such luck.  Needless to say, I spent the rest of the afternoon setting up a brand new computer for him.  From there I helped out my brother’s girlfriend with her dental school applications.  See the professor hat is usually not far off, even on vacation.

About 10pm I started packing for Belize.  Since I am traveling through the country like most Belizeans – via bus – I had to adjust my luggage.  Here is a travel tip: rolling luggage does not travel well on the streets and buses of Belize (and other Central American countries).  So I packed up my trusty backpack and prepared for the next leg of my adventure.

First trip in Belize - touring Mayan Ruins

First trip in Belize – touring Mayan Ruins

 

Nothing like the sun in Miami

I left Cleveland on an evening flight, after a long day of work.  It makes for efficient, yet exhausting travel.  Luckily I had a direct flight to Miami.

 

Crandon Park Beach - not a bad way to spend the first day of vacation!

Crandon Park Beach – not a bad way to spend the first day of vacation!

The next morning was my beach day.  My mom and I slathered on some sunscreen and headed out to the beaches.  We didn’t go to South Beach, like I originally planned because Memorial Day weekend is Urban Beach festival, which means the streets were shut down and set up with multiple police check point stations.  All in all, it was too much of a headache that I preferred to avoid.  So we went to Crandon Park instead, which was relatively empty.

Relaxing under the palms

Relaxing under the palms

 

We settled under a palm tree for some partial shade and then basked in the bathwater temperature Atlantic ocean.  The continental shelf is further out in this section of South Florida, so it is shallow for really a long stretch.  There are also lots of seagrass beds, which are home to bottom dwelling marine creatures, like crabs and clams, and juvenile fish.  Once the fish grow up they head out to the coral reefs.

Exposed sea grass beds during low tide

Exposed sea grass beds during low tide

 

When the tide rolled out, the beds were exposed, prompting seagulls, anhinga birds, and pelicans to feast on the exposed fish and invertebrates.  Some of the exposed creatures included pink marine worms that truthfully looked like pink condoms. Some teens were freaking out about them, thinking they were jellyfish they would be stung from.  I assured them that there weren’t.  They delighted in touching the worms.

 

Intrigued by the exposed marine life

Intrigued by the exposed marine life

Marine tube worm exposed during low tide

Marine tube worm exposed during low tide

I strolled out to check out the beach dunes, which highly protected ecosystems.  The plants have really deep roots that function to prevent the sand from eroding away into the water.  They also are home to sea turtle nests!  I really couldn’t have asked for a better lazy beach day!

 

Beach dune ecosystem

Beach dune ecosystem

I ended the day with an early dinner at Tarpon Bend in Coral Gables.  Their mojitos and calamari are to die for.  I also splurged on some oysters and a shrimp sandwich.  Let’s just say that I am happy I do not have a shellfish allergy.  I love them way too much. YUM!

My favorite: raw oysters on a half shell

My favorite: raw oysters on a half shell

Mojito!!!!

Mojito!!!!