You may be wondering why we are still in Florida, as it certainly wasn’t our plan to be here more than a couple weeks. A month ago Jim had a routine physical and the doctor was concerned about what he heard through the stethoscope. We decided to pause and figure out the issue. A few weeks, multiple tests, and doctor visits later, we know that Jim’s mitral valve in his heart is not working properly. All the doctors we’ve consulted with believe that treatment is necessary and should be completed soon. We’re taking their advice and Jim is scheduled to have heart surgery next week. With today’s advances in modern medicine, a surgeon is able to complete this routine valve fix through a few small incisions and expects that Jim will only need about two weeks to be back to normal! The hospital where they will do this is less than a mile from where we are staying. The best news of all, is that Jim is mostly asymptomatic and feels normal. We appreciate the support of friends and family; continue to send your happy healing vibes this way.
In the midst of all this, we continue to explore and enjoy our surroundings. We’ve visited art museums, street fairs, farmers’ markets, local restaurants, and aquariums. We swim almost every day and regularly walk on the beach. We’ve also rented SUPs for an afternoon, whacked balls at the driving range, and body surfed in the Atlantic. We’ve given up our rental car and are getting around on foot and public transportation.
One of our most interesting adventures was a trip to Kennedy Space Center. This is where NASA used to launch rockets and space shuttles. There is an elaborate museum and we easily spent a full day learning. There are multiple pictures in the photo gallery that you access through the “Pictures” tab at the top of this page. We got to see the launch pads, the humongous assembly building, multiple generations of rockets, a couple great iMax documentaries, artifacts, and footage from many past events.
With a month in Florida, we decided that we needed to check out the infamous South Beach of Miami and spent a night down there. It was a surprising place: very fun, affordable, and the most livable community we’ve seen yet in Florida. A local bus makes a big loop through the lower end of Miami Beach and only costs a quarter. More often than not we heard people speaking a language other than English, which is probably due to both the tourists and the diversity of locals. The food was great. The people watching was glorious.
Looking for a new experience to fill the upcoming weekend, Megan came across a steep discount for a 3-day cruise to the Bahamas. We jumped on it. It was an enormous ship: 880 feet long, 2500 guests, almost 900 staff, 14 stories, 2 swimming pools, and 9 bars and restaurants. We spent one day in Nassau where we visited something called the Cloisters. It is the ruins of a convent built in France during the thirteenth century, bought by William Randolph Hurst, and then reconstructed in the 1960s in the Bahamas. The grounds included a series of terraces with sculpture, rock walls, gardens, pools, a gazebo and the central structure with double arched hallways. You can see more pictures in the photo gallery. On this day, it rained very heavily on us with passing thunderstorms. We were in a swimming pool during one shower and couldn’t help but laugh at how much wetter we seemed with the downpour and the splash back from each drop. Our second day was spent on Coco Cay, a small cay owned by the cruise ship company. We spent the day snorkeling. The highlight of our snorkel was seeing four rays. Three were very large spotted eagle rays, with about 10-foot wingspans; nose to tail they were 15 feet long. In addition, we saw a lot of our favorite fish but many were significantly larger than we have seen before. Overall, we enjoyed the change of scene and being on the sea. We were fascinated to see the mechanics of such a large boat docking, steering, and anchoring. Jim caught a great video of the pilots leaving the cruise ship to head back into Miami.
We plan to stay here for a few more weeks until Jim is recuperated.