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When A Couple’s Vacation Goes Bad

Have you ever had a terrible, horrible, very bad vacation?
May 01, 2009 By Matt Meltzer in Miami: Travel News  | 4 Comments


Vacations are supposed to be the highlights of relationships. A time when you and your significant other get to leave the stresses of everyday life behind and just be with each other in a romantic, fun setting. But what happens when the people running that setting are completely incompetent, and add more stress to your life than your boss, your kids and your dogs combined?

This weekend, we are showcasing a collection of peoples’ vacations gone horribly, horribly wrong from some of the few writers I’ve met my age who I think deserve to be put in the same story as me. The first tale is mine, but the rest are much better. Those of you who read all four, please let us know in the comments section which one you liked best. We have a running bet….

How A Sightseeing Tour Ruined My Relationship

By Matt

Valentine’s Day, unfortunately, fell on the day before the Daytona 500 this year. And as luck would have it, one of my good friends had offered me a ticket to the Redneck Super Bowl just after I had planned a weekend trip to Miami with my girlfriend Anna. This, of course, meant that we’d have to drive 5 hours back to Gainesville on Valentine’s night and then make dinner for my roommate and his girlfriend, but both being experienced cooks we figured this would not be a big deal.

This Doesn’t Happen on Every Tour, I Swear


For some reason, we had decided to take the City Tour that day, which I had been meaning to do since I had worked on the script a year or so earlier. My girlfriend hated sightseeing, but agreed to go anyway.

Now, Gus had told me that the tour would take 3 and a half hours. For some reason, I had decided to shave an hour off this time and told Anna it was actually only 2 and a half,  meaning she thought we would be done by 1 at the latest, getting to Gainesville with enough time to do a good grocery shopping, make dinner, and be eat by 8. The following is what you get when you don’t listen to the tour operators.

Somehow, we had managed to end up on the first ever sold-out tour in the history of Miami Tour Company, which also happened to be running on the same day as the Miami Boat Show and the Coconut Grove Arts Festival. For those not familiar with Miami, this ensures gridlock throughout every part of the city a tour bus might want to go.

This Had to Be Some Sort of Psychological Experiment

The bus was crowded, and despite the air conditioning’s best efforts could not keep either of us cool. We crept through traffic as the sun mercilessly pounded in through the windows. It was an hour and we weren’t even off the beach.


As the bus crawled into Coconut Grove, we made the requisite stop at Fresh Market, where we got out to use the bathroom. Of course, the bathroom there is a single-stall, meaning the line for the women’s room stretched to somewhere in the vicinity of CocoWalk. Somehow, my girlfriend didn’t find this to be a selling point of the tour.

The heat kept pounding, the bus wasn’t moving, the A/C was failing and Anna was freaking out because it was 2 and we hadn’t even gotten to the stop at Bayside yet.  At 2:45 the tour ended, meaning we had spent 5 hours in the bus. Somehow I don’t think she had learned much about our great city or its history.

Out of the Fire and Into the Frying Pan


We began the drive back to Gainesville, which would have been nice had we not been in her car. Which was black, with leather interior and, oh yeah, no air conditioning. We had to roll with the windows down, creating a lot of noise and not allowing for any conversation other than “Have you called your roommate to ask him if it’s ok if we eat at midnight?” Or “Why does the Turnpike charge so damn much to drive it? or “What on Earth am I going to make for dessert? You don’t have a mixer! Why didn’t you tell me you didn’t have a mixer?!”  And strangely, the only thing that got cooler as we drove north were the attitudes.

We finally got to Gainesville and I stopped at an ATM to get cash to pay for the dinner food, and we proceeded to argue about paying with cash vs. paying with Debit Cards. We looked for ingredients and I became so picky about which ones I wanted we had to leave our cart in the store and go to another Publix. We tried making dinner together and neither one of us could do anything right as far as the other one was concerned. My roommate and his girlfriend tried to watch us and keep us company, but they sensed the tension, wised up, and waited on the balcony. Actually, I think I just told them to get the hell out of the kitchen.

Saved by The Green Flag

After dinner and cleanup, we got back to my room and she said, “You’re going to be mad at me, but I think I should probably go home.”

“No shit,” I said, “You’ve been nothing but a bitch to me all day.” This exchange set off a 2 hour argument that only ended because I had to get up early and go to Daytona the next day. It was our first fight, and led to our eventual breakup.

I guess if you put 2 people in un-air conditioned vehicles for 10 hours, you can’t really expect them not to hate each other by the end of the day. It’s kinda like one of those lab rat experiments, except instead of killing a rat, it killed our relationship. This is not to say not to take our wonderful city tour, I would just advise against doing it right before a 5 hour drive in a car with no A/C. Or at least, not on Valentine’s Day.

This article is from Miami Beach 411’s Vacation Horror Stories Weekend. Up next: Stephanie spends a Spring Training game crying in the women’s room in Hell is for Mets Fans

Related Categories: Miami: Travel News,

About the Author: Matt Meltzer is a featured columnist at Miami Beach 411.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer

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4 Comments on

"When A Couple’s Vacation Goes Bad"

Michelle says:

Matt, I’m sorry to hear it didn’t work out with your girlfriend. I guess it wouldn’t be considered much of a horror story if it ended well wink

I knew it wouldn’t be a good idea for you to take the tour that weekend - boat show and Valentine’s Day. As a local, you should know better than to go out on that weekend (too many people, and too much traffic).

Anyway, we learned a valuable lesson, thanks to you. We decided to not sell out our buses as we care about people’s comfort level.

Posted on 05/02/2009 at 8:55 AM

Carlos Miller says:

So why did you have to cook dinner for your roommate and his girlfriend?

Was that part of the deal for the tickets?

Posted on 05/02/2009 at 11:32 PM

Matt Meltzer says:

I’m not sure why we HAD to do that, Carlos. We’re both really good cooks and so we kind of decided on doing that as a cheaper/more fun alternative to going out to dinner. But now that I think about it, Trevor definitely owes me one for that.

And I’m glad some good came of all this Michelle, thank you.

Posted on 05/04/2009 at 10:50 PM

Sungal says:

Hey Matt,
You did promise her a romantic weekend and you didn’t deliver. You should’ve skipped the car race, and then you would’ve avoided the 5 hr drive in her hot car. As soon as you felt uncomfortable on the City Tour, or realized it was a bad idea that day, you should have asked the driver to stop and let you out. You could’ve then taxi’d home. And then you should’ve just relaxed over a romantic dinner and maybe taken a nice stroll on the beach.
Sometimes you have to say no to things-no to car race, no to city tour, and no to dinner with rommates. And then say yes to what she wants to do. You could’ve always done those things another time.

If that were my Valentine’s day I would’ve been annoyed too.

Posted on 05/11/2009 at 3:50 PM

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