Our final little jaunt was to Miami – South Beach to be exact, Essex House Hotel.
We’d booked the hotel around Christmastime using Hotwire. Instead of $300ish a night it was $80 – pretty sweet saving! I had been looking forward to a bit of luxury, but really it just boils down to a nice carpet, air con, lots of channels on TV, 6 hangers in the wardrobe and two bedside tables. Oh, and a decent breakfast – although just fruit, bread and nice danish on offer. I wouldn’t want to pay $300 a night for it, but it was nice to end with a decent hotel.
Our final days were based around:
- sit & read by pool
- decide what we fancied for “Dunch” (lunch/dinner) (Sandwicherie, My Ceviche and 5 Guys Burger all excellent)
- sleep nice and early
… apart from our last day when we went to watch the Opening Game for the Marlins. Glorified rounders. No sooner had we arrived than the Heavens opened and the players ran off. “The English are here!” They did eventually return, but played a terrible game, shame. Still, nice to soak up a bit of American culture for an afternoon – enormous light beers, hot dogs, cheerleaders etc.
We walked to Little Havana afterwards to check out Calle Ocho and have a mojito. If you go to Miami, I wouldn’t bother. $15 for a small drink. Christ! Expect only worth it when the entertainments are on.
We much preferred a dive bar called Mack Club Deuce. It <apparently> has a Bourdin bar which snakes and curves around enabling everyone to sit actually at the bar. And MUCH cheaper drinks. So much so that we got a little merry and then decided to also check out the Clevelander (a famous party joint that backed on to our hotel). Our final day, needless to say, was a wipe out. Didn’t move until around 3pm.
I wasn’t too upset by the lack of final day action, I have to say. The day prior featured something that horrified me so much I couldn’t go back to the pool (which is what I had been planning to do). Jim and I were sitting reading when a chap walked in fairly confidently, rolled up his jeans, took off his shoes and socks and dipped his feet in the pool. OK, bit weird, so on we watched. Then he started picking at his feet. Now fully staring at him, I’m checking out his clothes and demeanour to work out if he’s staying at the hotel or if I can chase him away. Nothing ostensibly too bad, so on we stare, wondering whether to express my discontent at his behaviour. And then he got a hotel towel to dry his feet… and they were RANCID! Diseased, disfigured feet. At that moment a security guard came out and questioned him, ushering him out of the door and saying “Just take the towel with you” (a fitting indictment). I feel bad to deny a man a bit of water to wash his diseased feet, but take them 300 yards to the sea and salt water – I mean come ON!
Anyway, that the was pool out. And the beach is not great. Yes, OK, it is very long, very wide, with white sand and turquoise water – but it is also heaving, and bit scuzzy. It was Easter weekend, so perhaps that accounts for traffic. Oh, and we have been to places like Tulum and the San Blas islands so I think (more to the point) perhaps have been spoiled by more than one pristine paradise.
But Miami itself… YES! I like it much more than I can account for. South Beach is pretty much an art deco museum, there are so many fabulous buildings that you could be forgiven for thinking it is a theme park. The sky is normally clear and brilliant blue. The sunsets can be spectacular. Lots of super cars and hot bods on display. And the streets are lined with palm trees and restaurants. Oh, and it’s wonderfully warm. Lovely to wander around and people watch. What’s not to like? Apart from the price of, well, EVERYTHING! Not a place we could afford to stay longer than a few days in. Our BRRR has gone through the roof!
Walking past a Tarot Card Reader’s:
“I do an impression of a tarot card reader. ‘Hello. I have read the cards. I saw you coming.’”
“We’ve had too much Crockett and now we’re Tubbs”
“Who are they?”
“I’m too young for that sh*t”
“Well…. Grow up!!”
A phrase I have actually uttered, for real, in Miami:
“Ah great, my Aston Martin DBS Volante is on its way”
And then… it was time to go. Beautiful sunset on our way to the airport to bid us farewell from our American Adventure.
Woke up back in Blighty, with a sky covered in cloud (which we haven’t seen for as long as we’ve been travelling) but sun somehow filtering through. We ubered back to Tooting and got around the table for a good ol’ cuppa and a custard donut with Marie. Yum!
Next habit we faithfully returned to was the take-out Curry, not great but a taste of naga chilli was ace.
A great night’s sleep, a trip to clear out our storage unit and a picnic and shepherd’s pie later… we’re at home in Hertfordshire reading papers and watching the Masters. No chance to reflect too much on anything yet – just nice to catch up. Although it’s fairly telling – in decanting our belongings our first thought was to shed what we can. To Mother, the charity shop, the recycling, or the bin. If we don’t need it, it’s going. Strange how we immediately got stuck into this, without a discussion. More on that later….