Saturday, October 4, 2008

Left My Sunglasses in Miami

I really did. This is why I never buy nice watches or sunglasses. If I don't leave them somewhere I destroy them.

Less than 48 hours ago I had my feet in the fine white sand in South Beach, eighty degree dark green Atlantic waters rushing over my hairy florescent midwestern office worker feet. I knew the Atlantic that far south was warm but didn't expect it to be so comfortable in October.

(Not my pic, just a Google hit.)

Ocean Drive runs along South Beach near downtown Miami, FL. It's lined with Art Deco era hotels and restaurants, all with patio dining areas and filled with beautiful people. As the tourists walk past, cute hostesses (and hosts) pounce on them so they'll sit down for a $25 plate of food with 15% suggested gratuity and hopefully lots of drinks from the bar. After a few passes all the way up and down the street I settle in at the News Cafe (check out the live cam), because of a lack of aggressive hostess mugging and the neat candle-lit courtyard with mostly full tables.

Dining by yourself is an exercise in trying not to look/feel weird and I've brought a book along to combat this but there are a lot of people passing thru, it's noisy and dimly lit, so I spend most of my time people-watching. Most everyone is speaking Spanish but I hear some German tourists every now and then along with a few other languages I can't identify with all the background noise. I expected a lot of Spanish speakers to be here but the landscape is almost completely dominated by it. Outside of a few of the employees at my hotel, everyone's first language is Spanish. Their accents are distinctly different from the somewhat lazy sounding Mexican accent we're used to. These people are mostly from Cuba, Central & South America. They also look like European Spaniards for the most part.

I hear the thin, neatly dressed waiter at the next table talking to his customers. He's a wanderer from Las Vegas who has been travelling across the US. He sticks out a bit being white but it's mostly the nearly-knee high black socks, wingtips, shorts, white shirt & tie. He appears to be very professional and I'm guessing he saves up cash working these kinds of jobs which funds the next destination. Timid me did not strike up a conversation but I wonder if he's headed north next or going to follow the southern coast back around. The weather here is way too nice to head to New York until well into spring. I have to admit that I'm a bit jealous at this point. I would love to have wandered the world without obligations or responsibilities before meeting my lovely wife and having children. Don't get me wrong, I'm not unhappy, I just like to explore. Trips like this are great for that. Wish I had another day or two but I couldn't have afforded a couple of nights at the Doral Golf Resort & Spa on my own dime.

Note to Pearl: I walked through the Miami airport with John Legend. Yeah, seriously. I could have struck up a conversation but it would have gone something like: "Thanks for not being overly sucky in an incredibly crappy dumbed-down music genre. Did you get that shirt at the GAP?"

Other Random Notes:
  • The new Honda Accord is a nice driving car. It handles really well and I rode it hard. Don't have much praise for the Dunlop SP 7000 tires though. They're crap. I don't know if I should blame Honda North America or Hertz for those.
  • Downtown Miami is huge. Even huge-r than you'd think. Visit the world's neatest Target store while you're there.
  • Take a lesson from me while Karting at the Miami GP; trail-brake at corner entry or you'll never goet those rental karts to turn-in properly.
  • Don Johnson, David Caruso, and Will Smith were no where to be found despite what I've seen on the TV.
  • Miami traffic is pretty bad but the roads never see frost heave or snow plows so they're liquid smooth. I was so jealous.


Melanie-Pearl said...

i just heard a quote from the mayor of miami---it was his reaction to being named the city with the most beautiful people; he said he wasn't surprised, and that he doesn't realize the beauty that surrounds him until he travels to other places in the US.

...and i didn't even know you were gone! glad you had a great time. i love trips like that; the ones you know you'd never be able to afford (for me: Westin in Boston, Ritz in Chi-town, Embassy in La Jolla).

travel is just an amazing thing. it's one year ago tomorrow that we spent our 15 days in China. sure you can read a book about the warm Atlantic waters, but if your experience of the Atlantic was in ME, your head never quite gets it until you experience it for yourself.

you will get to travel again soon...even with your kids. they won't always be this hard to get around. (i haven't carried a diaper bag or extra clothes for 5+ years now.)

the latest trip i want to take my family on is to Ashville, NC. i want them to see the Vanderbuilt mansion and the national park that's right there. i want to whitewater raft with them. (guess we might have to tackle the kiddie-carts at the Alley first.) maybe you guys would want to go along and we could split costs? :) sounds fun.

sorry to write a book, but i think i've lost your email.

Melanie-Pearl said...

ps) i miss you guys. want to have dinner some night this week? monday and thurs are out, so tues or wed? we could meet annie up in Park City at the Applebees.

i asked cody if he got to say bye to you guys last night. this week was a total doozy for us, in case you haven't heard. drama!

Kim from Kansas said...

Confession #1: I LOVED Miami Vice in high school and decorated my room as such!!!

Confession #2: I had to look up who John Legend was.

Confession #3: I spent a night in Miami on my way to South America in 2000 and all I got to see was the airport and an airport flamingos or beaches in site.

Jason R said...

Mel: Book-length comments are welcome. The main barrier to travel for us is cost. Financially we'll be in great shape early next year and ideas and trips like this won't be so far out of reach, except for maybe staying at the Doral for very long. Hadn't heard you all had a difficult week. Only got to talk band stuff with C on Sat. night.

My email is jmr302 at gmail dot com. PS: I'm spelling out the address that way to make it harder for automated spammer scanners to get my info (seriously).

Jason R said...

K: The M.V. theme song was my favorite for a little while. It helped get me over the Axle F theme song from Beverly Hills Cop. Ah, the synthesized 80's.

nattyman said...

I was in LA last December with a similar experience. The rental car, eating alone and reading a book tying not to be conspicuous, lonely trips to the beach, the people watching etc... It is fun for about 3 days I think but then I start to desire more human interaction.

Anyway, I assume you were there on business?

Jason R said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melanie-Pearl said...

i was searching your blog for legend b/c i thought for sure i'd seen the video on your blog. no. you just saw him in the airport. duh.

i couldn't remember his name. hence all the stupid searching on your blog today. bye.