A Brief Anthropological Study of Miami’s Natives:
While I’m sure there some who hold your standard 9-5 office gigs, a vast portion of the Miami population appears to either A) Not work at all, B) Work in a club so they spend the day sleeping and/or taking long lunches and/or hanging out on the beach, or C) Do”work” that allows them to “work” while sleeping and/or taking long lunches and/or hanging out on the beach.
Even “9-5” translates differently here, to something like, “10-ish to 6-ish, with a few hours of lunch for good measure.” And by GOD do I think they’re on to something. It made coming back to work that much sadder….
But back to our story…. J’s brother had a Miami day of work to do on Friday, so J and I were left to our own devices – not a problem when there’s a beach a block away and your surrounded by a yet-unexplored city. So we lathered up with SPF 327 (I did, anyway – J ended up with some bizarre burn streakage which we’ll go ahead and blame on the spray sunscreen he was using. The only reason I was spared this fate was the spray stuff smelled straight up like man, so I stuck with my hardcore girly lotion instead) and headed out into the morning sun to check out the beach first. We’d been viewing it from afar off the balcony, and it was high time we got our feet wet (literally).
This first beach was a little narrow and crowded for comfort, spotted with Portuguese Man o’ Wars, and the water, while refreshing, was littered with seaweed. Still, we relaxed there for an hour or so before leaving to seek sustenance and adventure. We were, however, determined to discover the perfect stretch of beach at some point. After the most horrible sushi ever (Iron Sushi, people – fast food sushi with R&B blasting out onto the sidewalk? Never a good idea. NEVER.), we cut our losses and decided, lack of car be damned, we were going to walk to South Beach.
(J’s Bro, that morning: “You can’t WALK to South Beach!!”)
Ahem.... South Beach.
Turns out, you CAN walk the 45 blocks to South Beach, but it’s best to do so on the beach. We made the mistake of starting out along Collins Avenue and were almost killed (multiple times) by really nice cars. The beach walk, however, was spectacular – around 47th, a boardwalk begins that takes you along the backside of hotels and condos and the occasional restaurant. Even so, when we finally reached South Beach, we were a little drained. Probably too drained to attempt Ocean Avenue, packed as it was with Spring Breakers in all their scantily clad, mentally impaired glory.
Once again, however, we were undeterred. When we finally pushed through the foray (the hostesses at restaurants here actually approach YOU and try to sell you on their menu, in some cases displaying trays of food outside the front door. How many ways can we say tacky?), we came out at the 1st – the end of the line. Rounding the corner to get back on Collins, J and I found ourselves in a part of town still largely under construction. Compared to Ocean Avenue, we’d landed in a ghost town of empty condos and storefronts. We stopped under a tree for a moment, soaking in the salty air and sudden silence.
J looked into my eyes…
Pulled me in for a kiss…
And as our lips touched…
An SUV whipped around the corner and someone nailed us with a Super Soaker.
I took the hit right in the back of the head, and J got nailed in the face.There was a moment of “What the hell just happened” confusion before we both busted out laughing. I supposed we’d asked for it. Caught red handed by the PDA Police.
Completely worn down, we stopped at a little French bistro called Cafe des Artes. Nothing special, but the food was great and much needed. Our spot on the patio looking out onto Collins was perfect for people watching (and what a show the Spring Break crowd puts on). This is where the infamous motorbike gang pulled in to the gas station across the street and not one, but TWO riders didn’t so much crash as tip over, slo-mo style. While motorbikes seem to be one of the more popular rental vehicles on South Beach, the Go Cars (little electric vehicles that share the road with regular cars) were ubiquitous as well. My favorite: the mini Escalade, complete with bumpin’ stereo.
French cuisine meets Art Deco.... Yeah, don't ask.
Feeling somewhat restored after dinner, we decided to hoof it at least part of the way home to save cab fare. When we arrived back at the apartment, J’s brother was incredulous that we’d walked. Anywhere. At all. Apparently he underestimates the power of five months of incapacitating Ohio winter. We didn’t care where we were going, as long as we were outside and stretching the limbs.
The path that saved our feet, skin and possibly lives. (Although I feel it's my duty to not that while there were no aggressive drivers here, you did have to fend off hords of feral cats, always in danger of being... um.... licked to death??)
That said, we were exhausted. Therefore, the perfect end to the evening was to hit up Aventura’s IMAX theater to see Watchmen on the big big screen. To all the naysayers: I read the graphic novel, and I thought the movie was impeccably handled. Not an easy task.
Back at the apartment, my eyelids were busting it just to stay afloat. As I was crawling into the fold-out, J noticed his wallet was missing. He’d left it in the theater. Worried? Yes. Though probably not enough. Not enough to stay conscious, anyhow. We left a message at the now closed theater; anything else would have to wait until morning.
(To be continued….)