Wednesday, October 22, 2008

MIA: We're on Our Way (9/27-9/28)

I am always a nervous traveler: once I get to destination I'm fine, but getting there is a bit of a mess. The hardest part is the fact that the older I get, the more afraid I am of flying, then pair that with leaving little Harry: we have such a routine together that I miss him terribly when I'm away. Usually on travel day, I wake up early feeling as though someone has beaten me in the stomach. This morning was no different: I woke up early, feeling horrible, only to find an unwelcome visitor in my pool:

Yes, I know, he barley looks larger than a worm, but it's still a snake. All of this seemed to unlikely to be a coincidence, and I was certain that it was a sign that we shouldn't travel.

Luckily, we had a fantastic driver on the way to TPA, who recommended a place to eat in Miami to help pass some of our 4 hour + lay over. By the time we got to MIA, I was absolutely drooling for some Cuban food and set off to find La Carreta. Our driver had really talked it up, so I was completely disappointed when I saw that it was a cafeteria style diner and not the luxurious, sit down establishment that I had envisioned. Once over my disappointment and the slightly off putting photos on the wall of their menu, we pressed on. First glimpse of their ropa vieja and all prejudice had vanished: it looked divine! It is honestly one of my favorite dishes and La Carreta certainly did it proud. The place was absolutely packed with what appeared to be locals and several pilots and flight crew - which is always a good sign. The staff were friendly and I will look forward to the opportunity to have another extended visit to MIA. The portions were huge, so it was lucky that J had only ordered a Cuban Sandwich and was able to help out...

After returning home, a friend at work who is from Miami said that La Carreta is actually a popular restaurant, with several locations around Miami.

With lovely food filled bellies, we headed back to our terminal for a few pre-flight-nerve-calming drinks. Just after the security check was part of the AIDS quilt. I had never seen it in person before, but it was quite profound. The most overwhelming square that caught my eye was all brown with a black and white framed photo of a dog in the center. It was a photo of the man-that-died's dog that he had left behind. Strangely enough I didn't get a photo of that square, but here is a glimpse of what I did see:
After that, we moved on to the Sam Adams Brewhouse and heard that sad news that Paul Newman had passed away. Sadly, I'm more familiar with his food products than I am his work in films. Several excellent Gin and Tonics later - and one spotting of a woman who looked very much like the lady in the 1997 BT advert whom cheerfully squealed "we're going to Mex-EEE-co" - i was ready to take on that horrendous flight.

Horrendous it was, and I will spare you the details but it was all worthwhile as I was in FRANCE! My favorite place in the world - and I was going to experience different parts that I had never been to before.

Our first official day consisted of a 6 hour drive to Annecy, stopping for a cheerful lunch at the Autogrill. The long, uncomfortable flight was completely worth it once I laid eyes on this automotive gem:

Yes, my friends, you are seeing this correctly: it is a Bon Jovi addition VW! I have heard of their existence, my sister-in-law had one (not by choice, might I stress) in the late '90s. This spotting made my trip worthwhile on day one. I had seen all I needed to see and didn't mind if my trip had to end. That was until we got to our gite and I saw the view:


Jane King said...

Hello!! Now i understand the aids quilt reference in your message! I thought you were pissed on the pre flight drinks. I have never heard about it before. The square with the dog is really sad i often worry what would happen to George if i died..horrible i know. I want a Bon Jovi VW!!! How uber cool is that?! i have never heaqrd of them. Must have one! This is only your first post about holiday so will read oN! Perrier mente sounds nice!! Would it be a nice mixer? The views look amazing!

Jane King said...

PS what is that food you were eating?! i cant make out what it is at all other than rice?! :-)

Amy Jemima said...

I was totally pissed on pre-flight cocktails, but yes, there was a quilt. What did I say? I don't remember that at all. That square was so sad, I though sobering at the time, but apparently not :-) It is a sad thought though. Apparently the Bon Jovi VW has their signature inside the car too. Your life will never be the same, huh? The Perrier mente would make a nice mixer, rum maybe? Might have to try that! Ropa Vieja is a cuban dish where you slow cook beef in tomatoes, onion, and peppers then shred it. It is so yum! Then there were black beans on the rice.