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Week 31 Third Leg - Miami
Written by Tina Sibley in August 2019

The third leg of my journey takes me from Kent to Miami - finally arriving on Sunday night in Quito, Ecuador.

Monday 29th July

Today we took a trip to Brighton to visit an elderly Aunt. 

We went by train and wandered around the lanes and the sea front, so got a tiny bit of walking in.

Then we had lunch, which was spectacular! And I had the BEST dessert I’ve ever had in my life! And I’ve had a long life – with many, many desserts! It was hot banana cake, with caramelised banana on top, served with vanilla ice cream, white chocolate gravel, caramel sauce, dried banana chips and a little orange fruit thing and edible flowers. It was absolutely divine!

It was lovely to see my Aunt, but I have to say I hate visiting care homes – it’s a stark reminder of the way our bodies and minds can deteriorate with age. I lost my other Aunt last year, having watched her deteriorate through dementia and disease – and visiting the same home was a horrid reminder.

That said, it’s what motivated me to stop putting my dreams in the future and make them happen now. To do things before it becomes too late.

It was a long and tiring day, and my cough started to develop and my chest started to feel very tight.

Tuesday 30th July

My chest was hurting today and it was pouring with rain, so it was a day in focusing on work. I got loads done!

The evening was yet another meal out to celebrate the wedding anniversary of my sister and her husband. I took them out to an incredible Italian restaurant in Tenterden and it was another spectacular meal. And Italian Tiramisu for dessert – what more can I say?!

I can honestly say that I’ve eaten out more in the past 2 weeks than I have in the past 7 months since moving to Spain! And I’ve eaten for England since landing on British soil – I’m surprised that I haven’t put 2 stones back on!!

Went for a walk with my sister late afternoon around the track and lanes – not too far, but enough to get some fresh air in my lungs and get moving.

Wednesday 31st July

OMG! It’s tomorrow!! I leave tomorrow!!

So today has been finishing off as much work as possible and then packing. I also went for a walk into town to pick up some final bits and pieces for my journey and more fresh air and exercise.

And I got a ‘lucky dip’ present from Linda and Keith which had loads of useful little things for my journey as well. Things like a small first aid kit, travel bottles, wipes, a padlock set (great since I lost mine), a waterproof phone holder and lots of mentos! You can never have too many mentos! It was so thoughtful.

As the day progressed, my excitement mounted – and I also began to feel a little nervous! Have I done enough to prepare for the Inca Trail? Will my chest get better or make me more susceptible to altitude sickness? Will I acclimatise OK? 

But the excitement of my challenge finally being here is keeping the nerves in check.

Thursday 1st August

It’s here! The day that my BIG TRIP begins.
Up early to leave for the airport at 8.15. Trains went smoothly and I have to say that people are so nice and helpful – there are still some real gentlemen left in the world. On two occasions, when faced with flights of stairs on the underground, different guys offered to help me and took my case down the stairs for me. Chivalry is still alive! 

Got to the airport and through security without a hitch and went for something to eat. Sadly there wasn’t anything light on offer – I chose the wrong place – so I ended up having a large full English breakfast. And then I realised that I only had about half an hour before I needed to go to the gate, so I had to rush it and then ended up feeling uncomfortable. 

And I needn’t have bothered rushing! Once we got through the gate, there was an hour delay in boarding – with nowhere to get water or go to the toilet! Hey ho! The joys of flying. 

We eventually boarded and got on our way. Man I couldn’t wait for the service where I could get my hands on a drink of water!  

It was a pretty good flight, and I got absolutely HEAPS of work done.  Wrote for my blog and also wrote 15 articles to schedule on social media :-) 

Arrived in Miami around an hour late and I was dreading immigration - I'd heard that it was taking people hours to get through.  But it took absolutely no time at all.  

Having eventually collected my baggage and got through customs, I tried to connect to Uber, but couldn't get it working on my phone so I looked for a taxi - there were none.  Eventually a guy asked me if I was looking for a taxi and led me to a car.  Once I got in, I realised this was not a regular taxi :-O  Scenes from the movie 'Taken' crossed my mind - but I was too tired, and I'm fortunately too old to be a target for the sex slave trade LOL.  We seemed to be going in the right direction so I hung in there.  But I was ripped off by the price - he charged me $65 - I think it should have been at least half that!

I checked in and got to bed, but couldn't sleep - I still had that airborne sensation and then at 4am we had the loudest thunderstorm ever!

Friday 2nd August

I was tired from not much sleep, but went off in search of breakfast and coffee.  I found the local supermarket and Starbucks and got a few supplies.  Then I went exploring Miami Beach.

Miami Beach is HUGE!  I soon abandoned the idea of walking all around it and hopped on a bus to South Beach.  I explored for a while then it started to rain, so I had an early dinner at a restaurant before setting out again.  I went to the pier and then started making my way back, evenually hopping on the free trolley bus. 

In the evening, I checked out the local salsa scene and went dancing at a place called Frankey's Sports Bar.  It was really good - lots of people and I danced Bachata with the instructor who gave me loads of compliments! :-) 

Saturday 3rd August

The weather forecast was rain and thunder most of the day, so I headed out farily early to explore as much as possible before it began.  I went to Calle Ocho, Little Havana to experience the Cuban vibes.  It was awesome!  

I took an Uber and then walked all along Calle Ocho, exploring Domino Park and the Walk of Fame.  The vibes were great - salsa music coming from everywhere and I had a great time.  I had a coffee and cake and chilled out before exploring some more.  Then I went for one of their famous ice-creams - just as the heavens opened and it began pouring.  

After the rain subsided, I walked downtown and then was picked up by a Facebook friend who gave me an awesome tour of the Downtown Miami area, Biscayne Key and Coconut grove before taking me back to North Beach. 

I chilled out for the evening at the hotel, had something to eat at the cafe overlooking the beach area and then began packing!  

Sunday 4th August

My last day in Miami!  I showered and then did some more work and finished packing.

Then, having checked out, and stowed my suitcase, I went to the lobby and did some more work.  Then I went to Starbucks for something to eat - I had three and a half hours to kill before going to the airport. 

As I write this in the lobby, I am SO excited about going to Ecuador - I wish my fight was earlier - I just want to get going!  I can't wait for my trip to Papallacta Hot Springs tomorrow - that is going to be unlike anything I've ever done before and total paradise!

Health Overview

My cold and chest is still hanging around a little but not developing any worse, so that's good.  As I write this on Sunday, I can believe that it's going to disappear!  Especially when I hit those healing hot springs at Papallacta tomorrow. 

Preparation This Week 

Steps:  No consistent recording of steps, but I've done a LOT of walking in Miami.  I know I did over 20,000 steps on Friday and over 10,000 yesterday. 

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