Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Will Smith said it was good, so we went.

Party in the city when the heat is on, all night in the street til the break of dawn. I'm going to Miami. Welcome to Miami.

Whether it was the driving, the near constant rain, humidity or all of the above - the Boyfriend and I arrived in Miami last Friday feeling slightly - well, I don't know. Not subdued exactly, but definitely mellowed. You may have gathered that America is a difficult country to travel around, and even more so when money is at the forefront of your mind. Even something as simple as eating isn't as easy as it should be. Most hotels and motels don't have kitchens, or anything other than a microwave if you're lucky. Consequently, I've never eaten out this much in my life. And nowhere has it been more difficult to find a healthy meal than America.

What's more, Miami was beginning to remind me of Los Angeles. Not on a visual level, just in the way that there was a level of expectation associated with it. Someone on my blog had mentioned the beautiful people who frequent South Beach, and err, Will Smith had told me it was sunshine and party central. But a day or two in, and we were finding Miami - which rained almost nonstop for the duration of our stay - a slight disappointment. While the Boyfriend searched in vain for a set of real boobs, I took one look at South Beach and sighed. As with most 'famous' beaches around the world, it wasn't much to write home about, lined, as it was, by sky high hotels. Independence Day was approaching and neither of us felt like doing anything, least of all paying $30 each to get into a club.

Sense of duty and a semi-clear sky made us leave the motel on Sunday more than anything, and I drove us down to South Beach in the afternoon to see how America rolled on it's national day. We parked the car, walked down the beach, and half an hour later, the heavens opened. The beach cleared, the restaurants and bars became sweaty and packed. We holed up in Starbucks, and spent the afternoon ducking in and out of shops on Collins Avenue.

After a good few hours of torrential downpour, it stopped raining. With two hours to kill before the South Beach fireworks display, we sat on a wall alongside the volleyball nets and palm trees, and chatted about all the places we've been over a bag of Kettle Chips. An orchestra set up on a stage; suddenly the area was buzzing with families, groups of friends, couples and dogs who had all come to watch. Flags were given out, fat men had their pictures taken alongside three hot cheerleaders.

"You know what? Don't you find that you lose perspective sometimes? Like, I've been away for so long now and we've been to so many beautiful places, it's like you get complacent." I said, swinging my legs against the wall.
"We're in Miami, for gods sake. Miami. And we're moping around like it's Iraq or something. In three weeks, we'll be back home. I don't want to go home and realise that I spent the last three weeks of my trip worrying about money and feeling like I wanted to be somewhere else."

We wondered onto the beach and sat down on the damp sand. The sun had set, and there were people everywhere setting off their own fireworks, or just chilling on blankets on the dark beach. A couple next to us had Frank Sinatra on their iPhone. No one seemed hammered, no one was causing trouble. Everyone was just having a good time. Suddenly, the sky was lit up as the first fireworks flew into the air, everyone cheered as blue, white and red lights rained down next to the water.

"Come here, you" he said, and put his arm around me.

And just like that, Independence Day was declared really bloody good. And oh, alright then. You got me. America wasn't looking too shoddy that night, either.


em said...

I spent a summer in Miami a while back, and once you get past the rain storms it's a pretty cool place.
If you are still there - head to Nikki Beach in the day and get your hand stamped and you can go back in the evening for free......And look out for the girls drink free offers. The boys I travelled with and I rarely bought drinks with those offers.

If you are thinking of heading off from Miami, I would suggest a drive through The Keys. Key West is amazing - seek out the Angelina guest house - super cheap and nice and huge, healthy, b'fasts. Plus Key West is full of absolute Hicks with amazing mullets......

London-Lass said...

I've been to Miami - the Keys knocks spots off it. In addition to which, I seem to remember spending the entire holiday with my hair slicked down sweatily to my sweaty head (and shoulders) - I see no evidence of slickness or sweatiness in your blog photo, you lucky son of a gun.

O, and did you manage to pack away any s'mores? Not sure if these are that big in Miami but apparently they are the snack of choice for July 4th celebrations.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

em - We've left now, but thanks for the suggestions. Problem is, we were staying a little bit out of the beach area so I had to drive into town if we wanted to go out anywhere. No drinking for me! We were also going to drive down to Key West, but the weather was so awful and the accommodation so expensive over the Independence Day weekend / holiday Monday that we had to abandon that idea in the end.

Lass - No we didn't sample s'mores, what are they? The Keys would have been lovely, we'd planned to go there, but rain storms were an all-day occurance. I drove through the worst whether ever just to get to Tampa, and the weather report said the keys were under thunderstorms all day when we wanted to go. Sooo straight to Tampa it was.

Zstep said...

S'mores are 2 Cinnamon graham crackers with a chunk of milk chocolate and a melted marshmellow in between. Incredibly sweet, messy and oh so yummy.

weenie said...

Think you're right about the 'famous' beaches thing, it all gets bigged up to get people to go there. Although I was surprised when I went to the beach in Thailand where they filmed Leonardo Di Caprio's 'The Beach' - that was a sight to write home about.
Sounds like you're having fun and great that you got to celebrate Independence Day out there.


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