November 17, 2011 – Miami, Florida

The last time I was in the Miami Airport was…. a long time ago.

I recall it as a horrendously long schlep at a half-run from Point A to Point WTFAMIGOING. Across plywood ramps, through caution tape, under scaffolding. Perhaps I was just in the wrong place. After all, it is me.

But today? Today, I was pleasantly surprised. Perhaps this was what all that plywood and drywall dust was leading up to.  You come into Terminal D here and now, you just can’t help it — you’re fabulous.

From the swanky Cuban restaurants…

Swanky Cuba...ok, that's not really the name of the restaurant.

to the inlaid shell icons on the marblesque floors…

Is that a seashell that I see?

to the suck-you-up-to-the-top wind tunnel- looking tower a la Charlie and the Chocolate Factory…

Am I about to be raptured?

it’s a transformation to end all transformations.

I had a four-hour layover here before my flight to St Thomas. I marvelled at the gleaming automated doors at the end of the moving walkway, at the bookstore

OMG!! It's Boo's book!! We're Facebook friends, you know...

well-stocked with Moleskines and gourmet cupcakes,

Nom. Nom. Nommy. Nom.

at  the jack-your-child-up-on-sugar shop across from Gate 20.

Sugar is the new South Beach diet. Or maybe it's just eating yourself sick.

Yes, I paid for wifi so I could finish up some work, but hey, I guess you can’t have everything, at least not for free. Oh wait, nothing is free. Except air. Unless you need to put it in your tires. Never mind.

The Island Grill accommodated me with a lovely mango-pecan-feta salad

And now for a completely different deliciousness...

and two extremely affordable and extremely dry glasses of champagne

Two of these, only because my co-workers insisted by email..

in a private turquoise booth with a perfect view of planes soaring off to their next destination.

Bye. Thank you. Good-bye. Buh bye now.

The overhead announcements kept up the exotic chatter, announcing destinations in Panama, Mexico, Costa Rica, anywhere warm and beachy that three-quarters of the travellers here now are trying to escape to at the start of this less-than-bitter winter.

Different languages abound. German was spoken next to me. A Prince lookalike was talking to himself or his iPod across from me.  I thought maybe he was on the phone, but seeing as how he started singing to himself, I think he actually was talking to his iPod.

The Wannabe Artist Formerly Known As An Unpronounceable Symbol.

Kids were laughing across from me, making other soon-to-be passengers –  more of those with grandchildren than children – smile.

This is the first tropical trip that I’ve taken definitively alone since 2008 – a long time for me. I’d forgotten how deep a requirement of my soul it is to have singular decompression time. I suspect this trip might be a bit long for a solo trip – you know how strange the passage of time can be on an island – drawn out yet abbreviated.

But I am ready to embrace it with all that is being lovingly nutured within me these days.

Miami is just the jumping off point, from now on to be fondly remembered.