First off… Who is Molly?
I’m going to be condensing my days in Miami prior to the cruise as it wasn’t cruise related and quite honestly, was not a good time.
In a nutshell, it was all wrong from the beginning. I traveled with 3 others who we’re all each other’s cousins. Since they were family, they kind of went on their own as far as flights went. I had booked with JetBlue months in advance to get a decent flight/rate. They later booked with American at a much earlier time than me (6am). They also didn’t sleep the night before because they’re not easy flyers. They would get there 3 hours before me and due to the hotel policy, they couldn’t actually have access to the room until I got there was was able to check in. I really wanted to get there and let them in so they could sleep.
Noon comes around and I touch down at Ft. Lauderdale (on time). Getting off the plane was easy, I was one of the first people to get my bag, and I was off in a taxi in a hurry. Its not often I tell a cabbie to “step on it”, but this was one of those occurrences. It was all for nothing though, as I hit construction and accident traffic, not once, twice, but 3 times. It took an hour to get to the DoubleTree in Miami from FLL. I felt so bad, but there wasn’t much I could do. As soon as I pulled up, I met up with them and we checked in.
Our reservation was for the 2-bedroom condo suite. When we opened the door, it was quite a surprise.
View from massive balcony across from the door.
One dude packed all these shoes!
I don’t have any other photos of the hotel unfortunately. So I will describe it to you. The Double Tree in Miami is sort-or a resident hotel so to speak. While in the elevator we bumped into a lot of people who actually lived there in the condos. I didn’t dare ask really because being in pretty-much downtown Miami, I’m sure its expensive. We paid roughly $2,000 for the room for 3.5 days and split it 4 ways. It was also more expensive that usual because of the events that week
The condo unit we booked had all the things you could ask for in one. A kitchen, 2 full baths (one with a jet tub), 2 bedrooms, a dining room, and a spacious living room. The living room and bedrooms had wall-to-wall windows and sliding doors, that led out to a balcony overlooking the northern part of Miami. The wall behind the couch/lounge was mirrored. In the living room, there was a large flat screen TV and stereo. Each of the bedrooms had their own TVs, all hooked up to cable.
The condition of the condo could have been a little better. A couple of sockets were pulled out of walls (behind the couch and behind a bed), the legs on the chaise lounge had collapsed, the headboards of all the beds were loose, and some walls had been marked-up. Also the hot water didn’t really work until I paid a visit to the front desk, bringing it to their attention.
Ultra Music Festival didn’t start until 5, so we all kind of took it easy and rested before we’d head over. We wound up waiting even later though as we weren’t too interested in the opening acts and we knew there would be a lot of crowding. We had no clue.
We got out to Ultra Music Festival about 6pm to catch an act we all wanted to see. When we got there though, it was absolute chaos. People were everywhere and this was before we even got inside the park. The entrance gates were closed apparently to ease congestion. Once they started letting people through, it didn’t get much better.
Adding to that, somebody used a low voltage taser on one of my friends causing some temporary pain. We never found out who did it though as the crowd was ridiculous. After a little over an hour and no security pat-downs we finally made our way inside to catch the very end of Zedd’s set. Because we had been waiting in line for so long, we had to use the bathroom and then waited 30 mins to use an outhouse. While waiting for that and walking around, we we’re approached numerous times by kids asking if we had “Molly” (pretty much ecstasy). So much of the place smelled of weed. I kind-of expected that, but there were pre-teens in there smoking it. Things were looking pretty bad. Things looked even worse when we found out about the person getting trampled. The music and visuals though. Wow! There were so many good acts with good sets playing that the event almost redeemed itself. Scared of what else might happen and dead tired, we retreated to hotel the first night after getting back we all sat around the table eating a pretty good pizza. It was still Friday and the guys who came with me were under Lent (a Catholic tradition of not eating meat on Fridays, among other things), so thats all they really could eat at that time. I LOL’d my way to bed because they had really had a rough start to their trip.
The 2nd day we all woke up around noon. We grabbed some lunch and I went to Ultra while the other guys stayed in the condo and watched soccer. I bought a couple t-shirts and watched a few sets. I grabbed a smoothie from a vendor (mistake) and proceeded to find my way out and meet up with the other guys. It was crazy though. Nobody knew where the exit was and everyone I asked kept sending me back and forth. After looking for a way out for 45 mins, I jumped the fence. Some dude shouted at me and I just took off running, haha! THANK GOD I didn’t get caught. After the shows, I had heard about so many people jumping the fences to get in and out of the place. With so many people there, I was surprised they were able to control it as much as they did.
I made it back to the condo. For a while we chilled and watched some more of the performances from iPads, and a laptop that we hooked up to the TV. It was almost better than being there in person. After a while the guys were talking about going out, getting some dinner, and then hitting up South Beach. We had steaks in the restaurant at the hotel, got dressed nice, and went out looking for some fun. Mango’s was a place of interest and some of the other bars were looking like fun. There was huge line to get into the place. Some other places were looking pretty good too! After cruising the strip though, it got frustrating really quick. We all got too picky when we should have just parked the damn car and walked to the clubs. Instead people were bitching about the long lines to get in, some of the places looked “dead” when they weren’t. All I wanted to do was get to Mango’s. We decided to head back over to Miami (city) and drove down to 5th St. While approaching the intersection of 5th, there cops coming from everywhere with lights all over the place. Turns out somebody had possibly been killed and we saw the dude laying face down in the street! CRAZY! We we’re all like LETS DIP! NOW! We high-tailed it across the bay and sat down for a couple drinks. It was at this point, I started feeling ill, so I went back to the condo. Frustrated with the lack of good time they were having my friends started making plans to bail since they weren’t coming along on the cruise. A couple of them headed back out in search of a place to chill for a bit. They started off at Club E11even but the place wanted a $160 cover charge (WHAT?!), then they went to another nightclub where they better success. 3am rolls around and my friend tells me they’re driving back home in the afternoon after getting some good sleep. I drank some pepto bismol and went to bed, bumming that they’d be leaving. The other guys showed-up a little before 5am.
The next day, noon came around. I woke up feeling a little better but decided to walk around for a while and see if I could work up an appetite. I walked over to Bayside Market, enjoying the nice weather, and looked around some of the stores. Walking back to the hotel, I got a text from my friends saying they were up and we should get a nice lunch and chill for a little bit before they rolled out. That way we could end their stay on a good note. We grabbed some lunch at the City Diner (GREAT PLACE!). I asked if they could take me to South Beach before they rolled-out at 4. I wanted to see the ships sail out and hit up the Big Pink for a nice dinner and drink or two.
We headed back to the hotel and one of them gave me a ride to South Beach. We started across the causeway at roughly 4. If you ever watch the webcam you know the NCL ships leave pretty promptly then. I caught the Norwegian Epic as it was starting to leave. Fortunately I was able to catch it and a few others before they passed the park. I wished my friend a safe trip back he rolled-out to meet up with the others while I enjoyed the scenery and sail-aways.
Here are a few of the ships leaving. Disney Magic, Carnival Glory, Carnival Conquest. (NCL Epic, not pictured)
After the watching the ships leave, I had a nice dinner and caught a cab back over to Miami. I found my way back to Ultra to watch David Guetta’s set for a little while and then crashed for the night. Ready for my cruise the following morning.
I’d like to apologize for not having many photos of Ultra Music Festival. I do have some movies that came out so-so.
I don’t think you can understand how crowded and ridiculous it was there unless you were there. The music was great, but I doubt I’ll make it to another one. Even the City of Miami was at great odds deciding whether or not to terminate UMF’s contract to host at Bayside Park.