Friday, February 24, 2012

Journey to the Kingdom of Florida (Final part)

We stayed in another Holiday Inn in Miami. 

This hotel was not as good as the Orlando one but it was descent for the price that we paid. The Miami that I had imagined from watching all the Miami vices(TV series) was nothing like that. It actually looked quite nice, green with all kind of tropical trees including large mango trees, something that I saw first time since entering Florida. This gave me immense joy as I have very fond memories of my grandparents mango garden from my childhood years.

We went to visit Marco island next day. This was sort of off the way but considering the day was in
the colder side there wasn't much we could do in Miami. It wouldn’t be a great day to be outdoor.
However, in Marco Island, an island city about 200 miles away from Miami was slightly warmer. It had
one of the finest beaches in Florida famous for its shells. My kids had always wanted to collect
shells from a sea beach. This was their opportunity to do so. Even though it was sort of windy and
perhaps a little uncomfortable temperature wise we still spent hours collecting all kind of shells.
It was a gorgeous day with sun shining over our head. We wished the wind was weaker, so that it
wouldn't feel so cold.


 The one reason why trip to Marco Island was so memorable is that we happened
to see real and live alligators lying down by the canals that went along the road in some areas.
There were wooden barriers in some parts of the road and many warning signs to warn the visitors not
to go too close. There were several occasion when many visitors had stopped by the road and
photographed those amazingly peaceful looking animals. Honestly, as far as I am concerned, that was
the high point of my Florida trip. 

Next day we went to see the coral reef close to the Keys. This is the only continuous coral reef in
the continental USA that is located so close to the main land. We went to Key Largo to take a glass
bottom boat. I had called them up from Canada and reserved our places. Weather is always a concern
for these type of trips. During bad weather the boat authority usually have to cancel such trips.
Fortunately, the weather was great on this day and we were quite eagerly looking forward to this
trip. The boat filled out rather quickly with mostly families with kids. The center of the bottom of
the medium sized boat was built of thick clear glass allowing onlookers a relatively good glimpse at
the bottom below.

It took us about 40 minutes to reach the shallow points where the coral reef ws
located. Even though the wind was slightly stronger than we expected making the water relatively
murky we still had a reasonable view of the reef. In summer people come here for snorkeling (scuba
diving). Whatever we were getting in December was more than one could expect. The best part was the
kids really enjoyed it. They actually took sincere effort to see the corals and the fishes that hung
out there. 

On our way back from there I thought of driving all the way to Key West- the southernmost point of
Florida Key where the famous writer Ernest Hemingway had lived several years. However, the traffic
was horrible and I turned around going only few kilometers. I did not want to waste several hours on
the road, not when the kids were tired and wanted to go back to the hotel.

                                                          Hemingway's House in Key West

On our way back to the hotel we stopped at Crandon beach. This was a wonderful beach with white sand
and coconut trees. There weren’t a whole lot of people but the view was absolutely beautiful. The day
was quite warm and the kids played with the sand for a little while. Mili was feeling a little cold
and stayed mostly in the car while I and the kids spent considerable amount of time playing on the
beach and collecting fallen immature coconuts.

We returned to our hotel in the late afternoon. Washed up and had dinner in the near by Cuban
restaurant. Miami is the home of many Cubans and it seemed like the right thing to do. The dinner was
very good. With it our Florida trip concluded.

Next morning we checked out and started back. We had a long way to go. We stayed overnight in two places including Washington DC before reaching New Haven, Connecticut to see my parents and sister's family.

Overall a great trip! I wanted to do this for a while and it was every bit of what I hoped it would
Next? - Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, San Francisco. When? No clue. Whenever it is I'll keep my readers

[Read the author's current book - Kicking in Toronto. Get it from


Abdullah mohibuddin said...

Write up by Shuja is worth reading.
It took us to Florida without even going there.
Perhaps all our Excadets put up fund to buy one common resort. It is cheaper now and it will be a great investment later on.
Thanks to Suja.

Abdullah Mohibuddin
Waterloo, Canada

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