’07 South Beach

Service, sights, fine food & wine plus real [tourist] shops.

Dinah had been through here a week earlier and had hit the major Shopping Mall for the gear that is so essential but limited in Bermuda… so I got to miss the “SHOPPING”.
OK; start at the beginning. One day I’ll be able to travel in a relaxed state; I’m not there yet as I didn’t sleep the night before I flew over to join Dinah – though I slept the whole flight through, which I gather was a rough flight. I do seem to remember the plane swaying from wing tip to wing tip while it was on Bermuda tarmac; so the Bermuda Cricket team’s sigh of relief when we landed was possibly justified. It was bleak and miserable in Bermuda when I left and to land in Miami warmth was wonderful. Having missed the landing info regarding where my luggage would be, I took sight on a tall red-shirted bloke off the plane and followed him up hill and down dale through the maze that is Miami International Airport – it seemed like I’d hiked about 2 mile [3 km] before I saw the backpack on the carousel. After the usual fag outside, I had a look round to work out whether to catch a local bus, taxi or shuttle service into South Miami… the shuttle service won. I must have been getting a little Island stir crazy as it was a touch un-nerving to be in a vehicle travelling faster than 35kph – we flew down the freeway at about 120-140 kph.
Atlantica Hotel, though moderately priced lived up to its Art Deco period. Drop the bag and off to look around [Dinah arrives the next day]; After finding the major tourist strip it was only a matter of time to locate a Guinness and Hamburger. What can I say but Miami is pretty much as expected – touch of Miami Vice in style. Most of the tourists were from WINTER climes of the US. Saw quite a few Harley Davidson’s around and a fair number had Canadian plates – Dinah & I agreed to differ on what constitutes a good looking HOG. The missed photo opportunity is the USD$99,000 limited edition HD on show – it was in a glass case and the reflection killed the shot. Anyway enough dreaming..
Simply put we had a ball together: weather was great, food healthy!, cheaper wines predominantly Australian, the service was to kill for… I reckon a few Cafes back home would do well to come and observe. Breakfast at Delano’s: this was a must do from our reading of the Lonely Planet – I mean to say Madonna’s Miami Hotel!! Yep, that’s what the book said; research showed that they have their own ‘cool listening’ CD – this we have got to get after we tried unsuccessfully to buy via the net… So we caught the local loop bus service and travelled the length of Miami Beach to Delano’s The entry is shrouded by 3-4 m hedge, guarded by the bellhops who we just walked past we’re guests of course Ok, so we don’t go gasp! just saunter through the foyer which has probably
5-6 m ceilings with ceiling to floor drapes flowing across the polished floorboards. I missed a lot as I was trying not to gasp – I’m told that there are various pieces of objet d’art set between each set of drapes. The Foyer opens out onto a balcony restaurant overlooking a treed courtyard which backs onto the hotel pool [and incumbent tourists]. The coffee was excellent, O.J. freshly squeezed real Oranges, Eggs Benedict sat about 4.7 on ┬áthe Richter Scale – what more needs to be said? Except that we were about 3 km away post breakfast when we realised that we had no CD!!! Ah well… There’s far more here to see and do than my 4 days allowed. Espanola Way just south of the Washington Mall is historically Spanish in flavour and character. The Cafe we dined at a lot of the
chairs are antique and bolted to the floor [guess they have had the odd light-fingered Ozzie here]. Which leads to the other areas – Little Havana which we didn’t get to, museums, art galleries, Macy’s [we nearly missed our flight back when we saw Macy’s]
So we walked the streets and avenues past swanky shops [Armani, Sephora, Saks, Gucci, Versace] a myriad of cafes, Art Deco Hotels, Yacht marina’s [b’all Catamarans], watch the traffic hooting down the right hand side which made it fun to “look to the left, look to the right” before we crossed. Aside from the obvious Xwalks, some street blocks are signposted for “pedestrian X’ing” meaning that we the walker have right of way for that block… cool! Tried ‘Starbucks’ coffee; twas OK but glad to make my own back home. The Cafe strip Espresso coffees were b’great though… On the alcohol front Mojito’s reigned supreme – thank goodness for the cocktail book back in Bermuda… and my preconception that being in the US would drive me mad surrounded by ‘Yanks’ wasn’t
realised. Overall, like everywhere else, people are just as nice out as at home.

Bit hard to fill this in any further as this jaunt was a break from Bermuda and what is known as Island Fever…