Miami Spring Break (And I ran...)By Brian Loux
EDITOR IN CHIEF
One of my tongue-in-cheek lenton vows this year was to have a “real” spring break, this year being my last real chance to do so. My trip to Miami was an attempt to have just that. I failed. But, amidst the sun, the sand, and the anachronistic feel of the 1980s, I did get a lot of stories.
After a short drive from Ft. Lauderdale, we arrive at our Miami hotel late in the day. We decide to take it easy tonight and just soak in the scenery and warm temperatures from the cars. We aim for dinner in little Havana.
About five minutes onto the road, I realize that this plan is doomed because nobody knows where little Havana is. And so, in under four or five hours of arrival, tensions begin to rise as our crew hastily barks orders as to where to turn. This eventually leads the driver to ask for directions in a local neighborhood we stumbled into. As he talks to an older black woman about getting to little Havana, I quickly pick up on her accent and the surrounding location. We are in little Haiti. If you know your GTA: Vice City like I do, you’ll understand what happens next. I hide in my seat and pray to god. It turns out that there is no race war, and the lady’s Cuban neighbor gives us proper directions. We still get lost anyway, and end up eating at a place that at least looked authentically Cuban.
Our first official carefree day at the beach. I actually make the mistake of not putting on sunscreen. This traditionally hasn’t been a problem; I occasionally forgot to use sunscreen in Honduras without repercussion. So when when my friends begin to yell at me to get going, I figure I can afford to skip it for a day.
For that I become the trip’s joke. I am not just red, I am red like that character in the movie “Hellboy.” My sunglasses leave me with a very well defined raccoon-like band around my eyes. All that I can do is wear sunglasses for the entire day and night, dress in red shirts so the burn blends in, and take the frequent stares and giggles from people on the street.
Saturday also marks the first day to go to clubs. It turns out, however, that one of our group members already made plans to go to the CroBar with a group of girls from McCormick Hall that also happened to journey to Miami. Biting my lip to suppress my anger, I don a nice pair of khakis and get into a cab. I flew 1500 miles to party with more MIT people? I can already see how this night is going to go.
The first confirmation that I’m in hell is a 40-year old gentleman in a Marilyn Monroe dress welcoming us to the club. Conjuring up ways to better my situation, I suddenly realize that I have left my ID back in the hotel room, and am forced to make a 26 block dash northward.
I call up my friend once I reach the hotel. “I’m back in the room. But is it worth the trip back?” I ask.
“Bloux,” he says with a deliberate and exasperated three-second pause, “It’s not worth it.” Knew it.
I watch the NCAA tournament until I pass out.
Unfortunately, the sunburn sapped so much of my energy that I am not able to get out of bed until 4 p.m. On the plus side, I get to watch my NCAA bracket suffer a fate that would make Custer cringe all from the comfort of my hotel bed. I begin to worry that I’m slipping back into my MIT sleeping habits after that night.
While I sleep however, the turning point of the trip occurs. One friend has been fortunate enough to meet (read: be pursued by) a girl at the CroBar the night before. They exchange phone numbers and her entourage of three meet up at the beach today with everyone but myself. The original pair decide that they should all meet for dinner.
My friend now needs three wingmen. This is, of course, where I come in.
I think I do a wonderful wingman job. I make pleasant conversation, work the table, joke around politely, and praise my friend. I even share a spark with one of the girl’s friends. The only problem is my friend has lost interest in the girl he met. She is visibly depressed, and he is visibly focused on his steak. The two reluctantly fake like they are having a good time and say that we should all go to a club, which we do.
After a few minutes of sitting on the reserved beach outside the club, my friend tells me that he’s done for the night. He wants no more. Clearly, there must be some civilized, mature way to deal this situation. He can talk to his date and part as friends, while I can still smooth things over with my date and continue on as if nothing has happened. This can be done.
We tell them we’ll be back soon. He hops into a cab; I run onto the beach and dash 36 blocks back to the hotel.
(Honestly, I probably got a good 15 miles of running done over a period of four days. Boston marathon, here we come.)
As punishment for my sins, my sunburn begins shedding. Because the sunburn is all over my body, I leave a damn dustcloud wherever I go.
While carousing the streets, I buy my only souvenir of the trip: a large Scarface poster. Nothing says Miami like Tony Montana.
Later that night, the same friend from before tries his luck with the ladies again at a different club. I turn down another wingman offer, only to see him successfully hit on two attractive dancers with another buddy. I soon prove to be the luckier of the two, however, as another patron tries to start a fight with my friend over the girls. Poor guy just can’t win.
Today I declare war on Lil’ Jon, Usher, and J-Kwon. Ludacris misses the cut because he does not appear in the beginning of the song “Yeah.” You cannot go five minutes without hearing “Yeah” or “Tipsy” on one channel or another. And even if you shut your own radio off, you’ll end up next to some other car full of stupid white people nodding their heads and singing along. So you go to the beach, because you think that is a safe haven. Yet some beachfaring youth has brought a cooler full of beer and a boombox to blast out the same five songs all throughout the sandy shores. You are then doubleteamed by the radios from the shoreside hotels and restaurants blasting the same exact tunes in an attempt to entice beachgoers to stop on by, but all it really leads to is a giant cacophony of “YEAH ... OHHH-KAYYIE!” This is how I felt when 14 of the 16 LAMP channels were devoted to the Ben Folds Five and Coldplay albums.
We head to a local casino that night and I try to best the grandmas at bingo. When that fails, I try seven card stud. When that doesn’t work, I figure I’ll just quit and let the old bastards bleed me slowly through social security taxes.
We drive to the everglades to see the beauty of untouched wildlife, through the Keys to watch the sun play along the water, then eat at Arby’s for the $1.99 beef n’ cheddar. Gotta save money somewhere.
Ending the trip in a fashion truly befitting of MIT; we spend our final free hours at a combination go-kart / arcade.
And with that, I board a plane bound for colder climates with nothing to show for it but pinker skin and a 6 by 4' poster. Sure, the spring break wasn’t as “real” as I had hoped, and a lot of things could have been done better, but the only thing I regret is not partaking in the Miami tradition of building your own criminal empire. It’s spring break, man. You’re not supposed to have goals.