Oh, Miami. I fucking miss you already. The memories that were made there are some for the books – completely & utterly unforgettable.
After a morning full of tropical smoothie, last-minute packing & Snapchat spamming, my dad drove my best friend Rachel & I to the airport to catch our 4pm flight. Our excitement could not be contained. We sat down at our terminal, bought Starbucks like the white chicks we are, & trolled a bit at the airport until Southwest called our boarding position (A, cos ya girl bought that early-check in). Southwest was pretty cool though. There's no assigned seating, so scooping early check in was definitely mad help. I grabbed the window seat & turned on the tunes until we hit our layover in Atlanta.
THAT LAYOVER LIFE
So Rachel works at Starbucks, right? So she had her partner numbers & I had a Starbucks gift card to hook us up the entire trip. Well, since every Starbucks decided they WEREN'T ABLE TO ACCEPT PARTNER NUMBERS OR GIFT CARDS, we ended up paying for majority of our much-needed fancy drinks. blah.
LANDING IN FORT. LAUDERDALE
ANYWAY, a layover is a layover -- flight is a flight. It's a little after 10:30pm & we finally land in Fort Lauderdale, FL. We took carry-on only, so we didn't have to check bags, wait & all that BS. We got outside & BOOM. That Florida humidity hit us like a fucking train. Wearing hats didn't help either to be frank; it only gave us have hat-haired afros. So then we called an Uber. First off, this was the best Uber driver I've ever had. He was telling us about all the rad spots, best clubs, mini tour of where's what & we had a good laugh about this place called Mangos. Our ETA to Miami: 25 minutes.
ARRIVING AT THE COURTYARD CADILLAC MARRIOTT
In a nutshell, Rachel's dad is the bomb.com. He seriously hooked us up this trip! He basically gave the GM his job there, so the room we got that was originally $300+ a night, we got for only $99. YUHH YEET.
Upon entry to the room, our jaws dropped straight to the floor. The bathroom was huge, with a giant mirror & vanity. The shower was all glass & could fit a solid three to four people comfortably. The walls in the room were all white, along with this dope blue-streaked wall that reminded me of @fuckjerry's profile photo of that cup from the 90s. And the best part; it was oceanfront. After jumping on the beds, dancing like dingi (plural of dingus lol), we hit sleep for some much-needed Z's. As I closed my eyes to drift off into a dreamy-haze, I remember my last thought, 'This trip is going to be incredible'.
So at this point, we literally jumped out of bed. I've never woken up at 6:30 so easily before in my life. For some reason, I decided on grabbing the GoPro instead of my Nikon. Mainly, because we were mermaid-ing around in the sea foam. But this morning was magical xx.
The Starbucks said it was only a little under a mile away so we decided on walking. Rachel pulled out her maps on her iPhone. Now Rachel is a bit direction-ally challenged, okay? We ended up walking past the Starbucks, until we later found out it was in the Nobu / Edon Roc Hotel. We walked past the front desk down the hallway to the south and ended up in the middle of a Jewish bar mitzvah. We awkwardly turned around and headed back towards the lobby. We walked down another promising hallway in the east side of the building. Again, lost af. Finally, we asked some rand-o's who told us it was in the front of the building to the right. We walked down ANOTHER HALLWAY that was wrong, until a guy pushing a stroller said, "..Starbucks? Follow me".
..And guess what they weren't accepting; STARBUCKS GIFT CARDS & PARTNER NUMBERS. Ugh. Still that Mango Black Tea Lemonade was worth it.
RACHELS MAJOR F*** UP 😅
On the way back to the hotel, we found this really cool little spot that had a gorgeous fountain. We chilled on the wall a bit and took some photos. It was at this moment Rachel finally convinced me on seeing Marshmello that night. Mainly for the fact it was at LIV (the night club that I thought would be the most lit). And you know.. because she said she'd buy my ticket.
The ticket price jumped from $60 the other day, to $90. I looked at Rachel and said, "Yo, don't buy them yet. Let me see if they'd give us free tickets for a Instagram promotion". Yah, I literally tried this 😂. I said, "give it until we get back to the hotel, see if they reply, if not scoop them".
We got back to the hotel, and she did just that. Later on that day, we found out the GM of our hotel could've gotten us ON THE LIST. Like, we probably could've not only had gotten in free, but got a sweet table & bottles. Not kidding. But hindsight, I'm glad we didn't 😏
Our hotel has this really sweet infinity pool. We put our stuff on some chairs, and went right in. There was this huge group of people, probably mid-late twenties, drunk af & having a good time. All of a sudden, we hear "JMU" and Rachel & I look at each other like, 'yo what, that's near us'. A couple of them came over to us, and we found out they're from Northern VA also. Some of them legit lived 30 minutes from us. It was hilarious.
After washing the salt & chlorine off, I wrap my towel around my body & hear a knock on the door. I open the door to a clean-cut guy with a room service cart. His face turned bright red when I answered and I signaled him in. To be honest, I totally forgot I just got out of the shower with a towel wrapped around me. But he brought us a bottle of champagne, orange juice, and the best part.. SNACKS. After he left, I asked Rachel, "should we have mimosas now or tomorrow morning?". Next thing you know, we're on the balcony popping a bottle.
DINNER AT TALDE
Rachel & I went to the hotel next door to this really rad restaurant owned by a famous Asian American chef. They sat us next to this group of like 8 rowdy 13 year old Jewish boys (I think the ones having the bar mitzvah we walked in on lol). Mid-way through my bowl of wonton ramen, Rachel yells at them "EXCUSE ME DO YOU MIND KEEPING IT DOWN? OTHER PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO EAT HERE". I busted out laughing and the boys shut down hella quick. Then this dude with a man bun came over and gave us free prosecco for the 'inconvenience'. We didn't really care about the kids, we were now just stoked on free drankkkk ayyy.
Also, for some reason I went into troll-ass Gabs mode & left my number on the receipt. Still haven't gotten a call. REALLY GLAD I HAVEN'T. 😂
We walked into the Fontainebleau at 10:30 waiting for LIV to open. Inside there was this rad blue/pink lit up bar. In between the entrance and the bar, there were tables and huge half-circle couches. We first sat down and chilled until we saw some sort of lines form.
Not even 5 minutes into us sitting on the couches, a guy comes over trying to be all smooth and says, 'Hey do you mind if my friend and I sit here? The people over there *points to his couch* are really annoying. We won't talk to you or anything". I said 'sure, whatever'. I looked at Rachel after he went to get his friend and said, 'these mother fuckers are going to try to talk to us'. Ya girl was right..
After awkward & blunt small talk, because lets face it, if I want you to go the fuck away, I'm kind of a dick (sorry, not sorry). But mainly because I know how guys are at clubs, Rachel didn't. This guy than pulls out this Altoids-looking metal container and opens it revealing this small rectangular mirror and little pill pockets. He looks at us and asks, 'what do you think this is?', and Rachel said 'cocaine'. He said 'no', looks down then creepily smiles at us, '..want a mint?'. I was like, 'uh fuck no. Rachel come to the bathroom with me' and we got the fuck out of there.
Anyway, after waiting in the wrong line for 30-40 minutes for people who didn't even have tickets, we waited some more in the one we were supposed to be in. By the time we get into LIV, we were hype. This club was pretty fucking awesome. Rachel saw this area where you take photos with your friends and really wanted to do it. I was hesitant because I didn't want to wait in another line. Well I'm glad she convinced me because the cutest guy started talking to me. He was half Italian and Taiwanese, lived in California and he was visiting Miami with a group of his friends. He was extremely cute though, and I was dead-ass nervous. I see Rachel out of the corner of my eye looking at me smiling because she had this 'found you a hot asian guy, Gabs' look on her face. Anyway, we split separate ways and Rachel and I headed down to the dance floor. We got margaritas on the rocks and chilled behind a table in the back, danced to the DJ that was on and patiently awaited Marshmello. OK, maybe not patiently, because every 5 seconds we'd be like "OMFG MARSHMELLO THO".
Almost 2A.M. and we finally hear the music and we lose our shit. We gravitated to the dance floor which had become so packed, you couldn't even move -- But nobody cared because it was that amazing. Eventually we were like, 'okay fuck this let's go upstairs'. We found a rad spot on the main staircase right behind Marshmello, facing the crowd, it was pretty awesome. I look to my left & BOOM. Hot asian guy is legit right there and talking to me again. I almost melted. We danced and kissed the rest of the night; feeling the passion & the music through every bone in our bodies. We were so in sync with each other, we forgot anyone else was around. He was literally like Christian Gray.. but asian so that made it even better. Rachel called him 'Crasian Gray'. We exchanged numbers and for a straight day he was in my phone as "Hot Asian Guy From Liv". 4A.M. came along and we left without saying goodbye. Even though we had each others numbers, I never thought I'd see him again.
FREE CABANA.. & SNACKS
Waking up after feeling like last night was a dream, we hit the beach & pool for another beautiful day and photo shoot. Some of the homies we met from NoVa were still hanging around. Since they were kind of douche bags the day before, we wanted to show off and be super cool. Like how petty though, but why the fuck not hehe. I went inside to find John, head of breakfast, who had hooked us up with the champagne earlier and asked him if we could have another bottle & some snacks. We told him we were out by the pool and he said 'I'll have it to you right away'. Not only did he bring us pre-made mimosas in venti Starbucks cups, but he also gave us a plate of strawberries & a voucher for the cabana & free drinks. Oh. Fuck. Yes.
CRASHING THE CONFIDANTE'S POOL-PARTY
After realizing, 'hey these guys aren't douche bags, just drunk', we hung out with 2 of them. The pool next door to us had music bumping all weekend, so all decided we were going to crash it. I lead the way and told them, 'follow me and look like you know where you're going'. It always works. We got in and this pool had a DJ, people our age, hot girls on a giant floaty for a photoshoot, it was just dope.
BODEGA'S DOPE TACOS
We were tipped off by one of the managers of our hotel that this place had pretty good vibes & yummy tacos. Her word did not let us down.
After Bodega's we walked around Miami a bit more. We had no clue where we were or where we were going; we were just aimlessly wandering. Next thing you know, we're in this giant mall that goes down a street. We walked half of it and went into Victorias Secret. Inside, everything felt kinda like a dream; as if we weren't really there. We both felt like we were still on a elevator, and I started to get a headache. It took us a minute to realize, 'oh fuck, we've only been day drinking all day'. So we grabbed an Uber and went back to the hotel for the night.
CRASIAN GRAY RETURNS
After talking a couple of hours and (finding out his name is Michael), I invited him over to hang at our hotel around the pool with Rachel and I. We meet him in the lobby and hung out by the pool, only to be kicked out by the security guard. Lame. Rachel was tired, so she went up to bed & I got to hang out with him for some one-on-one time. We sat on the stairs by the pool area as we got to know each other; our fears, goals & dreams. It was a really passionate talk and I found out we had a lot in common. We held each other and simply talked; no one expecting anything to happen from it. We drifted to the beach and talked about how how beautiful the sunrise would be. He grabbed my face and asked me to watch the sunrise with him the next morning. I didn't think much of it, because I figured we'd both over-sleep.
He walked me back to my hotel lobby down the side street, after being locked out for not having a key. He mentioned his foot started to hurt, so I looked at him and said, "do you want me to give you a piggy back?" He said, "I was actually going to offer to give you one if my foot didn't hurt". I said, "common, I gotchu". He laughed and said "I'm like 180lbs, we'd go down". I started singing The Chainsmokers song Paris, 'If we go down,' he joined in, 'then we go down together'. And we both started to laugh. He stopped me and said I shouldn't be walking around without my shoes on here. He sat me down and wiped the sand from my legs and feet then I put my shoes on. We got to the front of my hotel, and he grabbed my face and we kissed very intensely. As we walked away, he turned and said, "I'll be here at 6:30 in your lobby for sunrise" and we said our good nights.
It's 6A.M. and he calls me saying, "I'll be there in 30 minutes, get ready. I have breakfast for you". I meet him in the lobby and our excitement got the best of us as we hugged. We walked out to the beach and awaited the sun to peak through the clouds across the horizon. I went to lay down and he took off his jacket for me to lay on. I remember thinking, 'I can't believe this guy I found. We meet at a club. How can this be anything more? Why does this feel so right?'. A few more people walked onto the beach for the sunrise, but they didn't phase us. We talked and we kissed so lustfully as if no one was around. I then told him of the name Rachel & I came up for him, Crasian Gray because he's like an Asian Christian Gray. He said, 'I'm extremely flattered' as he laughed. I went into a bit of detail for why I moved away from Ocean City and back to my parents and told him about my ex. He looked at me and said, "A girl like you never deserves to be in a relationship like that". At this point, I'm swooned off my ass -- the butterflies are real. About two or three hours later, the sun really started to brighten up, so he walked me back to the lobby again. I asked him, 'when will I get to see you again'. He looked into my eyes and said, 'I'll make it my absolute intent to see you before you leave'.
Later that day, Rachel & I took an Uber to South Beach. We went to DASH (of course) and didn't buy a single thing because it's all fucking expensive. But it was cool to actually be there. We then went to the concrete strand by the beach to walk around and take photos. I wanted to get a photo of a palm tree leafs shadow aligned up with my spine as I lay on the ground. When I layed down, Rachel starts to laugh and I look up and see a women right next to me looking at me on the bench. I look to my left and there's a giant camera in my face. I stood up and they started to explain they are filming a TV show for a German TV station and are modeling scouting trendy Americans. I don't think they had very much interest in me after I started to speak strictly German with them. But that was a very awkward model scouting 😂. Then a homeless guy stopped me and said, 'hey... you Brittney Spears?". Rachel and I almost lost our shit laughing.
We walked all the way to the SLS to see if they were having a pool party, it was lame and nothing was going on (of course because it was a Monday) so we grabbed an Uber and went back to the hotel.
When we got back to the hotel, we had our final photo shoot for some of the brands I needed to take photos for as well as creative photos for Instagram.
After literally talking all day, I finally get a ETA on when we could see each other before I left. I told him I had to pull an all-nighter because my dumb-ass booked Rachel & I 6A.M. flights. Normally that wouldn't be so bad, but we were flying through Fort Lauderdale, not Miami. So on top of getting there a hour and a half early, we had to take driving time into consideration.
I caught an Uber to his hotel, The Mondrian in South Beach a little after midnight after sharing my location with Rachel. We hung out by the pool the entire time where we learned even more about one another, laughing as we held each other. I've never met someone I actually liked to cuddle with. Nonetheless someone I felt an immediate trust and connection with. The fact that he conveyed my feelings but more detailed proved that I wasn't the only one thinking this. We were a little scared by how quickly we caught feelings -- literally within 3 days. When I get nervous, I get stupid and dorky.. so I mentioned a gif about a girl feeling down a waterfall with rocks captioned 'WHEN YOU CATCH FEELINGS' and we had a good laugh over it because he knew what I was talking about. The best part was we were on the same page with each other in terms for where this would go. We didn't want to rush into anything but we didn't want this to just be a fling. We both agreed to just see where life takes us; and I couldn't agree more.
THERE & BACK AGAIN, A HOBBITS TALE BY GABS BAGGINS
First off, everything that could go right on this trip exceeded our expectations. This is the year I begin putting travel blogging into full effect. A new found sense of freedom that I’ve been longing for. Starting my journey into finding out how to live a life I don’t need a vacation from will be timely at first, but the reward will be so worth it. The knowledge you gain from traveling is so much more than anything you can learn about in a classroom. I want to be a creative. I want to inspire people all over the world. And someday teach society that working a 9-5 for a living doesn’t have to be the ‘normal’. Your life is what you make of it. You can be ANYTHING you inspire to be if you really put your heart, body & soul all in.
...and who knows, maybe Michael & I will cross paths again.
Until my next adventure,