Out on the Razzle in America

United Kingdom
Freelance writer, literary graduate and minor lad. In America for pleasure, not business. I've never been before, so I thought I should. Should I have done it all at once? Can it all be done at once? Only one way to find out...

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Miami and the Everglades

I arrived in Miami to blue skys and bright sunshine that skipped off the water. Don't believe me? Look at the pictures. No, seriously, look at them. Miami is a fantastically visual city, everything has been engineered to impress, from the brilliant white fa├žades of the Art Deco district to the staunchly immovable breasts attached to the bathers on South Beach. If it didn't put you in such a good mood, it would all be a bit much really.

Only one thing disappointed me about Miami - the size of the original Miami Ink. It is very small, easily missed, and surrounded by competition. I don't know why I was disappointed; perhaps I wanted Darren Brass dancing outside. Nevertheless, it didn't make for a good photo with the bear, so I left. Everything else about South Beach is fantastic, from the near (but not quite) unpleasantness of the mid-thirties temperature to the turquoise water of the sea, from the hidden bars serving one-dollar beers to the flashiness of the rest of the scene, white trousers and all. I had heard that Miami was exclusive, prohibitively expensive and hard to fit into. With South Beach essentially totally open to the public though, and with clubs on Ocean Drive that allow mid-week t-shirts and trainers, you can't feel too hard done by. Grab a cocktail and a sun-lounger, and make like Tony Montana.

On that note, I did see the house that starred in Scarface. Nearby was P. Diddy's yacht and Julio Iglesias' speedboat. I also took a wander into Little Havana and stopped in a Cuban bakery, to sweat more than buy baked goods, and I must confess it was here that I decided to stop sightseeing. Although I had Little Haiti, the upmarket zone of Coral Gables and numerous other stops to tick off, it was too hot, I was too tired, and after ordering una bottella d'agua y dos tortillas I dragged myself home. Miami is fantastic, just don't try and walk it in late summer.

The rest of my Miami experience was confined to South Beach, hurrying from shade to shade, avoiding the small electric humvees for rent and trying not to notice the pink walrus in the pool and his ineffective advances on the succession of females that dipped in and out. That, and the little Cuban lady who sat in the lobby, listening to Spanish-language radio and occasionally complimenting ladies on their tans. Therefore, just take my word for it that it doesn't take an in depth study to work out that Miami is very hot, full of nice beaches, people speaking Spanish, and home to many businesses operating out of South America, legally or not.

In fact, the only touristy thing I did do, apart from sunbathing, was to visit the Everglades. In amongst all the alligators were some fun little factoids: it is all actually a river almost totally shallow enough to walk in; all water flows one way; it is full of Sawgrass blades/glades that go on for Ever. I also had an immense airboat ride and got a free pair of earplugs. I suppose that counts as tourism, so, in the mode of Gordon Ramsay we can say: Miami, Florida. Done. Not that it's really true.

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