As I type, my husband and I are on vacation near Miami. My brother and sister-in-law have been with us for the past few days, but they left this evening. We didn’t bring our daughter, and they didn’t bring kids either. We have relaxed. Sure, we’ve had some fun too, but we have relaxed much more than I normally do on vacation.
I never take a “relaxing” vacation. I’m usually more interested in an adventure or exploring a new city, but this time, we have relaxed, and I will admit, I’ve enjoyed it. I don’t want to take a “relaxing” vacation all the time, but once a year might not be bad.
From the resort where we are staying, there are lots of different vantage points. On one side is the Atlantic Ocean…beautiful. On another side, there is a shipping channel…cargo ships and cruise ships come and go all day. On yet another side, we have a beautiful view of downtown Miami and the Port of Miami. We have taken advantage of all of them…entertaining ourselves with different views throughout our stay. Watching a gigantic cargo ship being loaded and unloaded is actually quite relaxing. We’ve done a lot of that.
Interestingly, I’ve become obsessed with the ships that have come and gone. For example, one was named AS Fabiana. I put the name in Google, and I discovered there are several websites through which you can get information on vessels and track their movements. One is called marinetraffic.com. You can see the information on any ship out there. To see the most recent information on AS Fabiana, click here. There is another site called vesselfinder.com that gives good information as well. A cargo ship named Northern Julie is in the Port of Miami as I type, and we checked it out at vesselfinder here. The ships became even more fascinating to us once we had more information about the size of the ships, where they had been, and where they are going.
By the same token, I’ve been entertained by an aviation app that tracks airline flights. Since we live in Charlotte, an airline hub, I’ve used the app before, but it became more fascinating here in Miami, as the flights seem to be going to more exotic locales. There are several apps that track flights, but the one I found easiest to use is called FlightAware. You can track by flight number, airline, airport, or even track flights as they fly overhead. I took great pleasure in seeing which flights were flying over us while we were out by the pool in the afternoons, and while my brother made fun of me for it, he eventually started asking, “Where is that one going?” Download the FlightAware app to your phone from the App Store. The icon looks like this:
When my brother and his wife left this evening, using the FlightAware app, I was able to see when their flight took off, and I even saw their plane from our resort. Because I could find it based on the positioning shown on the app, I took a picture of it as the plane soared over Miami:
We’ve enjoyed using an app called SkyGuide, as well. I’ve talked about it before. It is a great app for identifying constellations, satellites, stars, and planets. Just tonight, my husband and I were sitting out by the jetty, and he asked me, “What is that orange light in the sky over there?” I had no idea, but told him I had an app for that! Before I could get the app open, he said, “I bet it’s Mars.” He was right! And then, using the app, we were able to find Saturn and Jupiter too! There was too much light from the city of Miami for us to see any satellites, but we were thrilled to see three planets! The son of my friend, Mary Ann, told me about the app when we were at the Virginia Creeper Trail last year, and it is a favorite. You can download it from the App Store, and the icon looks like this:
While these apps have added another dimension to our relaxation, we’ve done lots of other fun things. I’m not going to pretend to be a Miami expert. I’m not. Our resort is not in Miami proper, so we have spent very little time in Miami. We did have a great Cuban dinner in Miami Beach last night, and we had a lot of fun people-watching a couple of nights there too. And it was some good people-watching. Whew! I love how our world is made up of so many different types of people. No two are alike. And that is exactly what makes Miami Beach (and the world) an interesting place. We weren’t “judging;” we were amazed, impressed, and entertained.
Our Cuban dinner last night was a highlight of the trip: Lechon Asado; Ropa Vieja; Jamon Croquettas; Frijoles Negros; Tostones; Yuca Con Mojos…all delicious. I love all sorts of Caribbean food. My husband is not an adventurous eater, so I think he was a little apprehensive, but he was pleasantly surprised to find out just how good Cuban food is. And who doesn’t love a good Cuban mojito?! I opted for a passionfruit mojito…muy delicioso!
Aside from that, we’ve spent a lot of time in the sun, hanging out in the pool, having cocktails on the patio, walking around the island, golf-carting around the resort, and laughing…laughing a lot. My brother and my sister-in-law are two of the funniest people I know, so I have laughed a lot. My husband and I find laughter very relaxing…so we have relaxed a lot with those two! I’ve loved every minute, and I’m shocked that I’ve been able to just relax. I usually hit the ground running on vacation, but it has been refreshing.
Clearly, when I say we’ve had a relaxing vacation, there are lots of reasons. Yesterday, from the pool, we watched a Celebrity cruise ship leave port. We also watched a peacock try to impress another one with his gigantic tail fan. We floated in the pool. We people-watched. We’ve walked, and we’ve treaded water quite a bit, so we have exerted some energy, I guess. It has just been so beautiful outside that any exercise didn’t feel like exercise! Lazy days have been the rule during the vacation.
After we get home from this trip, our daughter will return soon thereafter from Iceland, and then we are off on another adventure with my sis-in-law, her son, my friend (Angela), and her daughter. There won’t be much laziness on that vacation, so I’m storing up my energy. My daughter will likely be exhausted after her Iceland trip, so she will have to rest up in the three days we are home before the next trip. That will be a more active vacation…one in which I will say many times, “Let’s get moving! We can sleep at home!”