Thursday, October 27, 2011

Miami, USA 9 – 10 Oct 2011

This is my second entry to US, slightly more excited than the last time because it is the famous Miami Beach. This time is an overnight stay so I get to step out of the airport. I booked myself a cheap hostel at Miami Beach-Hollywood Beach Hostel @ US$27 per night for a dorm bed! Cheapest I could find!

My flight touches down at 5pm but it took me 1.5 hours to get thru the custom and checkpoint. Another hour to take the bus to the hostel and by the time I arrived at the hostel, it’s already night. I was happy to get the dorm for myself, with aircon and hot shower, at least it’s well worth paying that much. After dropping my bag I head to the beach straight, in the dark with some street lights, I can imagine the beach just like in CSI Miami. During the day time, there must be many sun tanners and bikini babes lying on the beach, a beach volleyball net all set for some hunks to show off their skill and a life guard house with hunky life guard, a no ending cycling path and running path… Just like in the movie. I have to leave early the next day to catch a 10:30am flight out to Bogotá, taking a bus to save cost means I have to leave early at 7am. The sunrise is around 6:30am which means I have a slight chance to see the beach. So I woke up at 6am, went to the beach, there are some who jog and cycle. Unfortunately no sunrise, it was cloudy. L

I arrived at the airport 2 hours before departure, at the counter the Spirit Air staff asked me to show her a ticket or proof of me leaving Colombia. I told her I am leaving via land by local bus, there is no way I can buy a bus ticket from internet. After about 10 minutes of escalation, she was told to send an email to the backend office to see if I can go without an exit ticket. Then I was asked to wait and I waited for 1 hour. While I was standing at the counter, I saw many people having the same problem, some are going for business, some are going home, 2 gals going backpacking just like me etc. The 2 gals who are going backpacking decided to take the offer to be a volunteer for a day with Spirit Air so they get 1 night free stay and free flight to Bogotá the next day, I asked them why? they said they will take the time to sort out their exit ticket. Well, good luck! I stayed in front of the counter insisting I want to fly off. At the last 45 minutes, I urged to the staff again that time is running out, I need to go on this flight. She still has not received any reply from the back office. I have politely asked her to check with her supervisor. At that moment I saw her getting an ok signal from the supervisor, she run back and issued me a boarding pass. I was relief! As you can imagine, I run, taking off my shoes along the way and cutting queue…to make it to the gate just in time for boarding. Now fingers cross that my backpack will make it! J

I felt like the flight company is taking an advantage over us, many people are forced to buy a ticket with them just to be able catch their flight out. Some are able to use the tickets some are not. Lucky for me the staff is very helpful. I knew 3 other travelers who paid over US$200 for a return ticket that they will never use.

Miami – Hollywood Beach Hostel ( )– US$27 for a dorm room with aircon, hot shower and WIFI available

Bus from Fort Lauderdale, FL / Miami airport to Hostel – US$1.70 x 2 buses
Bus from Hostel to Fort Lauderdale, FL / Miami airport – US$1.70 x 2 buses
SpiritAir from Miami to Bogotá incl 1 checked in and 1 hand carry luggage– US$175


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