Thursday, September 10, 2009
After days (as opposed to weeks, months, or even years) of careful planning, Jason and I joined David & Paula on a couples get-away to the Florida Keys. At seven o'clock Friday morning, we pulled our luggage out to the driveway and sat in our camp chairs until the Biffles pulled up. We chucked the luggage in the back of the truck, then we were off! We made great time to Tulsa and were all settled in on our first flight before we knew it. We had a three hour layover in Dallas which was going to put us into Miami later than we had hoped to be there, but all of our flights were great. The "fun" began in Miami airport.
If you've never been in Miami International, count your blessings. Not only is MIA huge and crowded, but it is also filthy and an completely un-user friendly. In order to get to baggage claim, we walked approximately two miles, then stood for twenty minutes or so waiting for our bags to arrive via carousel. Thankfully they were there! Of course, our "on site" rental car agency wasn't actually at the airport, so we stood outside with our bags and waited and waited and waited for the Thrifty shuttle to collect us. Meanwhile, four (count them, FOUR) Enterprise shuttles, Two Hertz shuttles, and Two Budget Shuttles passed by before our ship came in. We loaded in and prayed all the way to the rental car agency as our driver ignored both traffic laws and common sense during the ten minute drive.
I don't know why this is, but renting a car is never painless. It is a ridiculously laborious process, even when everything goes smoothly. Which, in our case, it did not. The three seats located inside the shop were filthy and occupied, so we stood as Jason stood in the long and impossibly slow moving line. By the time he reached the counter I had actually secured one of the disgusting chairs and had plopped my exhausted self in it. He seemed to be haggling at the counter even longer than one usually does when renting a car, so I moseyed on up to check on his progress. I arrived at the counter just in time to hear the sale's person tell Jason that the only car she had available was going to run $62 a day. Knowing that our reservation was for a car that would cost $22 a day, I butted in. Apparently, they couldn't find our reservation. I insisted that we had a reservation and a confirmation number. Regardless, she kicked us out of line. I called Hannah and had her open my email in search of the confirmation. She found it...with Enterprise. Enterprise! Enterprise which we could no longer get to. Crap! We called the reservation desk and secured a reservation for a car (that would run between $22/day and $62/day, but beggars can't be choosers and all that). Then, Jason spent another 30 minutes in line. We finally pulled out of Thrifty in our Journey near 10:30 p.m. We still had a three hour drive ahead of us.
We arrived in Key West at just after two a.m. and checked our bleary eyed selves into the surprisingly nice hotel. We decided to sleep in the next morning and parted ways. Jason and I tromped up to our room, slid the key into the slot and...nothing. If at first you don't succeed...slid the key into the slot and...nothing. J wearily hiked back down to the front desk and the night manager re-coded the keys. He returned ten minutes later, slid the key into the slot and...nothing. You've got to be kidding me! He crawled back downstairs and returned (after another ten minutes) with the night manager who unlocked our door with his master key. He explained that the lock must be low on batteries and assured us that they would be replaced in the morning. We were in! We slung ourselves onto the bed and remained unconscious until our alarms rudely woke us up at nine. We were still tired, it was pouring rain, but we were in Key West!