Miami Beach Adventure Apr. 21 - 25, 2008
Miami Beach Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
On Miami Beach blue skies, parks, palm trees, colorful street life and art deco buildings combine with a tourist phenomenon that is, as best as I can describe it, Vegas, beach side. Ocean Drive, with its traffic of convertibles and hummer limousines is lined with such a plethora of bars harboring semi clad dancing girls and bikini contests that one begins to ruminate at length on the very likely existence of a vast behind the scenes infrastructure of Scarface style gangsters engaged in less than friendly relations.
Miami is precisely what I expected Los Angeles to be like - full of beautiful, tanned, fashionable people. The weather is gorgeous. The women here definitely know how to work it - they strut down the streets in impossible high heels, perfectly groomed, wearing designer figure-hugging clothes, really showing their stuff.
The city of Miami is actually separate from the area where visitors spend most of their time, which is Miami Beach (4 miles away and on a separate 'island', joined to downtown by a couple of main roads). My conference happened to be here in Miami Beach this trip.
I only took a handful of photos of Miami this time around (as opposed to the at least 100+ I usually capture every trip I take). For one, I've taken so many before and really didn't find much new (in terms of structure, attractions, or physical surroundings) to photograph, minus my diving experience. Secondly, it's difficult to take photos that capture the place properly.
Miami is classy and quite understated really. The white coral beach is fronted by (mainly white) hotels that are either not named on the beach side or done so discreetly. There are no tacky tourist shops lining the beach, neon signs or people selling stuff on the beach. Even the bars on the beach are just simple, unlabeled straw huts. Just gorgeous people everywhere. I took my book to the beach but didn't read a page - I just love staring at people. And they love to be stared at!
Miami Beach is not a quiet place in any way. But even this 24/7 place has some spots you can find peace and quiet in. I found my serenity in the beach - just lying around on the sand warming up, breathing the ocean.
One side note for this trip (and the twist I mentioned in my intro): I found a surf shop on Washington Ave. that takes you for dives in one of the Florida Keys. Since I have no qualification for diving, I took the introduction dive. They take you to a pool, give you all the basics, how to use your equipment, how to signal and everything, you practice a little in the pool and then you head off with the rest of the (qualified) guys. This is something I had been longing to do for most of my life. So I grabbed an underwater camera and off we went to Key Biscayne, which is the first of the Keys I think. The dive itself was breathtaking - lots of fish, corals, sun (don't forget your sunscreen) and decent people.
Anyway, the club scene here is massive. Planes fly over the shore line pulling banners advertising top DJ acts on that night. Clubbing is a bit pricey though; you often have to book in advance, and dress for it in my opinion. I don't think sandals would make the cut.
There was a nice Irish Pub on Lincoln Rd I found though - a nice street by itself, always full of people, stores and of course, sunshine. It's a small world - I bumped into someone I knew from the North East in this pub. We had a few brews there and caught up on life (as well as a buzz) and then headed back to the beach to check out the scenery. Afterwards we ended up going to a Miami Heat game that evening at the American Airlines Arena and then played a few games of pool the rest of the night.
To take the last of it all in before my departure the next day, we stopped at a very nice, though expensive and slightly ritzy, beachside cafe/restaurant with alfresco seating from which vantage point we could people watch. And of course, at this time it became increasingly apparent (again) that the very wealthy and beautiful members of the Miami Beach community are all very much inclined to display it. Convertibles cruised by, hoods down, revealing perfectly proportioned blond beauties, their heads held with an air of disinterest, sporting sunglasses to hide what I, being inclined to clichéd thought, assumed could only be dark windows on to very shallow souls.
Anyway, as you can probably tell, I've got surprisingly little to say, considering the fact I was there for 4 days...again. But I've done Miami (and FLA altogether - East, West, Central, Southern, and Northern) a few times over, it was for another work conference and I'm rather bored w/it. I basically hung around, enjoyed some half-decent meals and cocktails.....and watched people. Although the dive was most definitely the highlight of my trip. That's about it. I caught a nice bit of color and just relaxed in my spare time. Spent a bit more money here than elsewhere - it's hard not to really. But it was on my employer's dime, so it was all good. This place would be paradise if you've got a serious amount of money to spend.