I was thoroughly ready to jet off to Florida and soak up some sun. Like many in Wisconsin, my Vitamin D levels are dangerously low this time of year and I needed some of those sweet, sweet UV rays.
The most disturbing part of my morning took place while I was aimlessly wandering to find caffeine near my gate when a much older man, who looked normal enough, leered at me loudly in front of a family, ‘Whoa! Nice body!' It took me a moment to realize this had indeed just taken place. I turned around and, though my brain was coming up with a few comebacks, my mouth was stuck in the ‘WTF!?' position. So I shot him a look that implied I'd just thrown up in my mouth a bit and he thought better of coming any closer. Getting catcalls from an unattractive man old enough to be my father's older brother while in the airport concourse is not my idea of a confidence booster. It just feels gross. But this is a topic for another time.
My flight down was delayed but I managed to make my connection (barely) and arrived in Fort Lauderdale in time for Mojitos, dinner and some bachelorette games. The next morning after the six of us had showered and packed enough clothing for a month, we took the quick half hour trip to Miami Beach. I had been preparing myself for weeks to be inundated with overly tanned, huge fake-breasted anorexics in Miami, but my fears were way off. Other than the fact that it was a very fun and diverse crowd of mostly Spanish speakers and a few noticeably svelte bodies, this could have easily been Bradford Beach on a hot day. Again, this was Miami Beach, not South Beach, so perhaps that is the distinguishing line.
I hadn't seen, smelled or been in the ocean in years and I felt it was time to rekindle our relationship. I adore the ocean, but I also fear and respect it. I'm not happy unless, after every wave, my feet hit solid sand again and yes, if a piece of seaweed comes within ten yards of me I do scream like I'm six and take off like a bat out of hell. It's such an entirely different world, just three hours on a plane and here we were, sun bathing, jumping through ocean waves and paying out the nose for the same alcohol they serve up North.
After a few hours I was pink from head to toe, my eyes and throat burned from the salt and I really could've gone for a cold drink and a nap. But our time here was limited and we didn't make the trip just to spend the night sleeping. So once again, after the rotating shower door had rinsed us of sand and sunscreen and we were all dolled up in our outfits, we headed out to spend some serious money (for girls in their twenties still paying off school and car loans). I had been warned that Miami was unreasonably expensive, but I had no idea. I typically reserve my beer intake for tailgating and day drinking, so I tried to stick to my usual vodka and seltzer, which ran me a cool $15-$18 bucks a pop. Without a sugar daddy down here it would be impossible to get a buzz without going bankrupt.
We started out the night at MaiTardi (beware, if you click on this at work. Loud music accompanies the site.), an outdoor restaurant in Miami's Design District. The food was amazing but incredibly rich and carb laden and though I could've eaten more I didn't want to end up in a food coma fifteen minutes later. After dinner we headed to Grass Lounge a Tiki hut inspired, dark, outdoorsy place with the most delicious fruity martinis I've ever had ($14). The bathroom stalls were completely lined with Astroturf, giving a slightly claustrophobic, buried alive experience, but overall a very trendy, young, cool place with open air breezing through.
Jasmine covers many of the walls of the artfully landscaped bars and restaurants and we walked through many clouds of fragrance as we passed from place to place. We taxied to The Delano, which had a velvet rope and a mean looking doorman, but no line and no argument about entrance. Most of the bartenders were clearly gay and it took anyone with breasts a long wait to get a high-priced drink. The indoor section is something out of a Lady Gaga video, huge white pillars line the middle of the room and the bar area is tiny, making it that much harder to weasel up to get a drink from Ricky Martin.
The outside, however, was a completely different animal, huge pools with little bungalow beds on each side, flowering trees and DJ booth. It was Alice in Wonderland meets a hit of ecstasy. We wasted no time jumping into the shallow end of the pool to dance and cool our aching feet. We didn't even need another drink here; the atmosphere was intoxicating enough.
From here the bachelorette made her executive decision that we were going to a small upstairs bar called Buck 15. An endless walk through some sketchy looking alleys and we were in line to get into the smallest bar I imagine anywhere near Miami. Once you get through the line and past the gigantic doorman, you climb newspaper covered stairs and find yourself in what can best be described as a house party with a liquor license. No glitz, no glamour, but some of the best dance party music to which I've made a fool of myself in a long time and the most realistic drink prices we'd seen all night. We made a pile of purses in the middle of the packed dance floor (so our hands were free for some serious ‘vogueing') and danced around it like it was a bonfire.
Back to Eden Roc Hotel with our hilariously intoxicated bride and we were finally asleep at 4. The next ‘morning' we had brunch at the hotel. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try a Bloody Mary for the sake of comparison. It wasn't bad, but it didn't hold a candle to Comet's, and didn't come with a chaser, (which I'm now realizing is a Wisconsin thing). Plus, it was $12. We packed up our month's worth of clothes and beach accessories and hit the road back to Fort Lauderdale, sunburned and hungover, another successful bach party.
The next morning the two of us from out of state found ourselves on the way to the airport with lightning and thunder circling above us. I was four hours ahead of time for my flight so I was feeling pretty confident that the storms would be long gone before my departure. Turns out my assumption couldn't have been more wrong as I was met with the unfortunate news that my flight would be delayed at least three hours.
For those that haven't had the pleasure of spending a long day in the Delta terminal in Fort Lauderdale, let me give you a visual. After you get through security, you are left to wander through what can best be described as a 1970's bus terminal. Your food options are limited to Dunkin Donuts and Nathan's hotdogs, the intercom system clearly has a major malfunction considering half the time it comes through sounding like Charlie Brown's parents and it seems to be resting on a couple 2 x 4s because the entire place shakes when thunder claps within a hundred miles.
I was discouraged with the delay but happy I was not one of the passengers stuck on a plane out on the tarmac. (By the way the new rule just went into effect that airlines cannot keep passengers on the tarmac for more than 3 hours or suffer a $27,000 per person fine! How could it take to 2010 for this to happen?) At least inside I could mosey about freely and continue conducting my study of human behavior in public places.
People in airports seem to be under the impression that they are in fact within the confines and privacy of their own living rooms or bathrooms. The common courtesy of covering one's mouth when coughing, sneezing or burping for that matter goes right out the window. People feel absolutely within their rights to let their children run willy-nilly and talk on their phones for hours at a time about absolutely nothing at volumes that could wake a hibernating, hard of hearing bear. I cannot for the life of me understand what it is about this setting that makes humans feel like no one else exists.
After some prompting from my brilliant tech savvy mother, I made the call to switch my flight in the hopes of getting back a few hours sooner than I would on my now much delayed flight which destroyed any hope of making my connection in Cincinnati. To my delight, I was able to get a ticket and a connection for an earlier flight. However almost instantly after printing out my new boarding pass, I realized that flight was now running two hours late. Oh well, not much you can do about mother nature, and I wasn't that eager to be in the air during a thunderstorm anyway (especially not after my friend whom had flown out earlier reported back that her flight was so bumpy that passengers were actually screaming. I'll pass.)
I boarded my flight and was thrilled to find the unexpectedly pleasant Delta agent on the phone had bumped me to first class without my even asking. Can anyone say free drinks? I knew you could. At this pace, I'd make my connection in Atlanta with time to spare. I sat back and enjoyed some vodka (in actual glassware).
As we made our descent, the pilot announced something had gone wrong on the runway and we needed to go back up to a holding pattern until it was safe to land. I watched as the minutes ticked away to my connecting flight and my heart sank when, after running at top speed to my gate, (Delta, I'd like the piece of my foot I lost during this point of my trip to be reimbursed to me in the form of two free tickets anywhere in the world. Thanks.) I was told my flight back to Milwaukee was long gone and I'd be on the flight three hours later. ‘But I have really good seats at the Brewers game tonight!' The gate attendant was sympathetic but obviously she was helpless to do anything more for me. I drown my sorrows in more airport food, which I think might still be lodged somewhere in my small intestine. Finally my departure time rolled around and after the U.S. soldier boarded, it was every man for himself. I was not missing this flight. Finally I was home... my luggage however was not so lucky.
Needless to say, I'm becoming more than a little nervous about my trip out to California next week.
No, the OnMilwaukee.com sex columnist's real name is not Sarah Foster. (Foster is the model/actress that played an ex-lover of Vincent Chase in the first season of "Entourage.") In reality, our sex columnist is a Wisconsin native with a degree in journalism and a knack for getting people to talk to her.
Sarah never considered herself an "above average" listener. Others, however, seem to think differently. Perhaps she has a sympathetic tone or expression that compels people to share their lives and secrets with her despite how little they know her. Everyone from the girl that does her hair to people in line at the grocery store routinely spill the details of their lives and relationships to Sarah, unprompted but typically not unwanted. It’s strange to her that people would do this, but she doesn’t mind. Sarah likes that she can give advice even if it is to complete strangers.
So why the pseudonym? Simple. People tell Sarah these things because for some reason they trust her. They believe she cares and therefore will keep their secrets in a locked vault the same way a best friend or therapist would. Sarah won't name names, but that vault is now unlocked.