Miami- 1, Meredith- 0.5, Uber Driver- 0

Miami is a world of its own. I grew up in the South and I have lived all over the country. Typically, cities have a few things in common to bring the American City feel out, but Miami simply doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong Miami Lovers, this is not a bad thing. It’s simply an observation: Miami is different y’all.

I have been there several times with no bloggable moments; however, when it rains it pours. I was headed down from Atlanta for a quick in and out meeting. I had planned to arrive around dinner time on Tuesday and leave around dinner time on Wednesday. Easy peasy I thought.

Let’s start at the beginning of the 24-hour debacle. Flight went as normal. Easy on, easy off, limited turbulence, one wine. I was starting off on what I thought looked like a non-eventful trip but when I landed this started to go sideways – fast!  I made my way from the gate to the baggage claim on the world’s bounciest moving sidewalk.  Anyone else know what I am talking about?  For some reason the walking sidewalk feels like a padded trampoline.  If it wouldn’t have taken me 90 minutes to get from one side of the airport to the other, I would have tried to avoid it; however, I am impatient and always in an unnecessary hurry, so I opted in so bouncing along I went.

As the end of the World’s Softest transportation facilitator, I ordered an Uber. I consider myself a pretty competent traveler. Last year, I spent the better part of 140 nights in hotels. Since moving from the medium enterprise space (shorter sales cycles and more frequency) to the large enterprise space (longer cycles and less frequency), I have gotten rusty. As I looked down to my phone to find the hotel I booked, I noticed that I hadn’t booked a hotel. Ugh! I am notorious for booking hotels in the wrong city or for the wrong night, but simply not booking one at all is new to me.  I jumped on my SPG app and booked what looked like a swanky and trendy Courtyard called Element. I locked it in just in time. Confirmation received and Uber arrived all at once. It was like clockwork and I was back in my groove. I loaded my bag into the trunk of the Uber and slipped into the back seat. As I always do, I turned on my map to my hotel and I realized was 13 minutes from my destination. I took a deep breath to relieve myself of the last 11 minutes of anxiety (sure do wish there was wine in Ubers) and I popped in my Airpods to call my bud who is always willing to chit chat while I commute. As I was chit chatting I was also watching the map. It was rush hour and I was 3 straight ahead minutes from my hotel when my driver looked in the rear-view to see if I was paying attention and cut across 3 lanes of manic Miami traffic to get on the wrong highway and rack up his bill. Immediately my map went from 3 minutes of green roads to 17 minutes of red road gridlock.

“Hold on one second.” I said to my bud on the phone.

“Excuse me sir, what the hell are you doing? Wait. Don’t answer that, I know exactly what you are doing. You think I am not listening or aware of the situation and you are trying to take advantage of me and my company’s dollars. You know damn well we were one mile from the hotel and you whipped across three lanes to increase your bottom line.”

“Um, uh, um, I don’t understand. You say you go to airport, right?” he mumbled in his fearful tone.

“Dude you just picked me up FROM the airport, why would I go there? I know what you are doing. I am smarter than I am tall.  How long to get me back to the airport?  Take me back there so I can get a new Uber.” I demanded.

“12 minutes” he trembled.

“Drop me off now. Here. Right here. Pull over.” I screamed.

“We are on the middle of a busy highway” he said. All the sudden he spoke perfectly fine, coherent and correct English.

“I don’t care. Stop.”

He dropped me and my little baby suitcase and backpack off right on the highway. I was wearing business attire and it was 88 degrees which in Miami’s humidity is equivalent to 137 degrees.  With instant monsoon sweat flood gates opened and no regard for what area of Miami I was demanding to be deposited, I didn’t think twice about this course of action.  Proving my point was more important than anything else.

As I got out of the Uber and grabbed my suitcase, I opened the passenger door and said, “Sir, you messed with the wrong blonde girl. You poorly stereotyped me and this will come back to bite you. This is not the end of this.” I slammed the door and found myself on the side of a busy highway. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Within 15 minutes, I was able to wrangle in another Uber. That was just the beginning of my adventure.

After a collective 90 minutes from airport to swankyish, Courtyard-esque SPG property, I got out and looked forward to a nice wine at a quiet bar with my laptop and headphones. Then I walked in the hotel door…

I am a Marriott-First girl, so said hotel was new for me. Upon entry, at 4:30 pm, I walk into a sea of men.  I am talking 50-60 of them, in suits with Stellas or trendy whiskies in hand.  What are they drinking these days Buffalo Trace? Monkey Shoulder? Some kind of ‘Rye’? It’s like “Gamification” of drinks. Whatever happened to the days of just ordering the most obscure and bitter IPA beers?  Anyway, I looked and tried to eye a seat where I could fire up my laptop, slap some headphones in and chit chat and have a high maintenance dinner order. It was at that moment that I realized, this dream was fiction if I stayed here. What did I do? I bailed. Literally!  New Uber, new hotel, new dinner. I waited 10 minutes for an Uber to cart me to my comfortable, yet also extra average but familiar airport Marriott.  Yep, I ended up back at the airport!

By the time I checked in I was hungry, wiped out and a tad bit grumpy. I ordered a salmon meal – clean- no butter or oil, just clean salmon and veggies. The food came smothered in butter and oil – oh and with some creamy sauce on the fish. Gross!  I’m a purist and, at that moment especially needed such some purity, as so far my trip was laden with greasiness.  Knowing I am a pain in the ass, I just broke it up and pushed it around in order to not make a scene. Well, the bartender was smarter than that. He knew I didn’t like it. Much to my dismay, he removed the food from my countertop and my bill, causing a bit of a spectacle. The gentleman next to me, we will call him Manny Soto, was interested in what was wrong with my meal. I explained to him that it was me, not the salmon.  It’s always “it’s me not you” with me.  After hearing about my salmon plight and this day, which kept getting not so good, 75 year old Manny and I decided to hit up a high class, well-known nearby restaurant that was recommended by a friend.  Place is an institution – predictable and quality.  How could this go wrong?  For those who know me and dine with me they know that I have to scope the scene before committing.

At this point, I am done with Uber, so I asked the valet if there is a shuttle. They tell me no, not for where I am going, but a cool $40 in cash convinced him otherwise. Bad, bad, bad financial decision. The driver pulled into the parking lot and Manny  instinctively knew to take charge on the restaurant recon mission so as soon as the car stopped he hoped out to scope the joint out.  I feel like Manny and I have known each other forever!  When he returned to the car he said “Smells good, nice and dark, good bar to use a laptop, 3 people in the bar, no one sitting AT the bar.” Nope. We are out! We buckle right back into the insanely overpriced shuttle ride and head back to the hotel.  When we returned, I ordered the same meal, from the same bartender, with the same specifications and this time, at 11pm, something was finally right with this trip.  Manny and I had a good laugh and a few wines while I scarfed down my food and then I looked at Manny, thanked him for the company and went to bed in my comfortable little Miami Airport Marriott.  As Will Smith said; “Welcome to Miami




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