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Ana Marie Cox's Girlfriend Getaway to South Beach

Day one: Five sunscreens, four hairbrushes, seven bathing suits.

6:50 A.M.
When the alarm went off at 5 A.M., the husband and the dog were still asleep. I reminded self that the ungodly hour is saving Kate and me money, and maximizing the three days we're spending in sunny Miami. Debated showering and decided not to. First text message from Kate: "Ugh." We arranged to meet at the American Airlines ticket counter, where we were presented with a difficult choice: First-class upgrade? Commit to budget travel? It was only a hundred dollars. We're worth it, right? I swiped the card.

On the plane, we discover that, together, we have packed:

  • Five sunscreens (ranging from SPF 8 to 45; the might-as-well-wear-a-burka variety is for me, the chalky redhead with multiple birthmarks)
  • Seven different types of moisturizers (including aloe in gel and cream form, a sunless tanner, and shea butter)
  • 15 magazines, none with a reading level above eighth grade (Vogue may cater to expensive tastes, but the syllable count is still pretty low), most with a reading level of about "Jessica Simpson." (She's in a lot of them, too.)
  • Four hairbrushes
  • Five pairs of shoes (a new low!)
  • Seven bathing suits (they're pretty much the only thing we plan on wearing)

10:30 A.M.
A long, muggy ride from the airport deposits us at the Key Biscayne Ritz-Carlton. I dispatch Kate to work her amazing upgrade karma at the front desk while I try to ignore the dozens and dozens of children in the lobby. Marble is pretty but shrieks echo. The idea of waiting until 11--just 30 more minutes--for oceanfront drink service to commence becomes increasingly unlikely. It appears we have arrived smackdab in the middle of some kind of Very Loud Children Weekend. Kate returns with room keys--no upgrade, but checking in at 10:30 seems to validate her good luck. Until we get to the room.

The room faces the street, and there's no view of the ocean, which is the very thing we have come to see. This alone would not be so bad but for the room's other, exponentially more depressing feature: a kitchenette. First with the screaming children, now a kitchenette. We go on vacation to escape these things. Kate hits the mark: "We don't cook at home! Why would we cook here?"

Note: This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.



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