You’re a freshman in college. It’s December and all your friends are talking spring break already. You spend much of your time caccooned in your bed, fighting the urge to order Domino’s and you’re thinking to yourself, “Spring break? People actually do that?”. You get a text from your friend, and future roommate, asking if you’d like to come to cabin for a few days over spring break. You suddenly get excited, until you learn that you got invited to a cabin for spring break…with four couples. That’s right. Ninth wheeling. That has to be a record right?
That was my situation. I was eighteen years old. I was a freshman. And I wanted an amazing spring break. The only problem was that spending my week of freedom with eight people making googly eyes at each other every day while I sit there sipping shitty beer and sleeping on the couch while everyone is sucking face in the next room, wasn’t my idea of fun. So what do I do? I call my best friend.
“Hey Garret. I’ve got a problem.”
“Oh God. What did you do.” (Yes I get this a lot)
“What? No. I’m fine. Spring break. I want to do something…adventurous. A beach maybe.”
“Well. Let’s go.”
One short week later, and a few long phone calls with my parents, we were in possession of a pair of plane tickets to Miami Beach, Florida.
Now, we faced a few challenges. The first being that neither of us have ever done something like this without, say, adults. The second, we had no idea what to do. After much research I had a few things in mind. One of which was a bus tour to Key West, and the second, skydiving. Now, I know many people want to go skydiving, until they are presented with the opportunity to actually go skydiving, but I’m one of those people that are crazy enough to do it. Garret on the other hand wasn’t into it. Of course, after some very, very, intensive convincing, we were going skydiving.
We managed to score a week in Miami for $600: flights and hotel a block from the beach included. The months passed, but not fast enough. Finally the day arrived and we couldn’t wait to get away from North Dakota. Garret drove the four hours to Fargo from Bismarck, North Dakota, and we stayed the night at a friends house so we could make the drive to Minneapolis in the morning. Flying out of a larger airport is ten times cheaper then from a small one, or, any airport in North Dakota to be exact. Now you see why we were so excited to leave?
I made Garret drive for two reasons. One was because it was his vehicle. Two was because I endanger any life that gets into a car with me, especially in the cities, and Garret did not want to die before he saw the ocean. The road trip wasn’t bad. It was about four hours long. We spent it singing our hearts out to The Fray and purchasing Minnesota’s fun scratch-off lottery tickets. Garret won three bucks, while I of course, I won zip.
We arrived in the beautiful St. Paul area and drove through to Apple Valley to drop off our car at my sister’s brother-in-law’s house, who then, drove us to the airport. Within hours we were in the air. After a short stop in Charleston, we got off the plane, found our luggage, took our first steps into Miami’s air.
It was dark. It was humid. And there were fifty taxis surrounded by hundreds of people in front of us. Talk about a culture shock. In North Dakota, you’re lucky to ever find yourself in a traffic jam.
We had no idea how to get a taxi, and one of the drivers must have noticed because he stopped in front of us and mumbled something in a language I didn’t understand. So of course, we through our bags in his car and hop in. In the next fifteen minutes, I realized a lot of things: Miami is full of terrible drivers and 98% if them are taxi drivers. I was petrified. We were swerving through buses and mustangs, over bridges and under overpasses. After the longest ride of my life, we stopped in front of our hotel. I had no idea how to use the card thing on the back of the head rest, and when I tried to ask the driver, I’m pretty sure he mumbled something along the lines of, “Stupid people don’t know how use machines. Cash.” So I gave him the wad of cash in my pocket and we went inside.
The lobby was just like the pictures: silver animal statues, beautiful black pillars, and pictures of Marilyn Monroe filling the walls. We got checked in and walked to our rooms. We opened the doors and immediately began to laugh. Our rooms were anything but glamorous. Two twin beds with the hardest, scratchiest, blankets in the world, a TV the size of a magazine hanging from the wall, and a broken sink. Well the sink wasn’t broken until I touched it, but it was close to it.
Right at that minute, what we were sleeping in didn’t matter. We threw our stuff down and ran down the block and over the board walk. Finally we saw it: the ocean.
We took off our shoes and let our toes sink into the sand, still warm from the sun, but colder as our feet dug deeper from the pressure as we walked. We didn’t even notice he humidity on our skin anymore. The breeze off the ocean took every care away. We walked in the dark along the ocean for about an hour. That hour, I can honestly say, was the most serene and peaceful I have ever been in my life. There was not a soul touching the sand for miles other than our four feet. If you have never seen the ocean, or even if you have, it is different in the dark. It is so mysterious and looks so much bigger when your vision is unclear. I can still picture it, and I often do when I’m stressed. The smell, the sound, the feeling, all of it is so crystal clear. The feeling of the water brushing back and forth over my feet, it felt like a dream.
It was almost midnight and we decided to get some sleep. Only after walking back did we notice the sign that read: Beach closed to public after 10:00 p.m.. That didn’t really stop us the rest of the week.
We retired to our crappy hotel room for the night and fell asleep to the sound of the ocean still in our ears, excited for what tomorrow would bring.
(After, of course, I broke the toilet seat too.)
More Miami Adventures Coming Soon-