Monday, October 15, 2012

The Road Trip Diaries: Miami, FL

10 October 2012 - Day One in Miami

We've just arrived. It is hot and sticky. The wind whips around us. Hot wind.

After dropping our bags off, and a quick freshen up, we head out to a nearby wine bar. The wine flows all night - especially for some of us. I hit the sack by midnight, but Husband and his cousin stay up until 6am, determined to see the sunrise. Turns out the sun only rises at 7.20am, and they just can't make it that far.

11 October 2012 - Day Two in Miami

It's our first proper sleep-in in ages. All this traveling has meant many early mornings for sightseeing, driving and fitting everything in. But we're in Miami for a few days, and can enjoy the luxury of a morning in bed. Plus, Husband is nursing a helluva hangover. Finally, I have to pull back his eye mask, and poke him (gently) in the ribs - it's nearly lunch time, and the clear skies outside are beckoning.
After a quick breakfast, we head to Soho House with Shelley, our wonderful host, and proceed to spend the ENTIRE day lying by the pool. It is excellent.

Unfortunately this Soho House is just like the Soho House in London, and they don't allow photos. But trust me, it was beautiful. 

The corridors through the hotel are wood-panelled, which creates a deep warm passage through the building. On the other side, we are met by an outdoor restaurant, filled with rustic mismatched furniture. It all feels quite weather beaten, but wonderfully so. We twist down the stairs, and end up by the swimming pool. It is long, crystal clear and flanked up palm trees. Miami is unseasonably windy, and the trees seem to be fighting with the breeze, pulled back and forth in each and every direction. 

We park off on the big blue and white striped beds, armed with an endless supply of towels, great big jugs of iced water and some good reading material. Lunch is meatballs and pizza, and a couple of Bloody Mary's for some in our party.

It looks just like you expect Miami to look.

12 October 2012 - Day Three in Miami

The morning is spent doing admin. Turns out my travel insurance has just expired, and I'm in dire need of some more. Being on a road trip will do that to you.

But boy, have we got big plans for the afternoon!

It takes a while for us to get started, and we finally hit the road after a satisfying tuna salad at the Italian deli on the ground floor of the apartment building. A short drive west of Miami, and we end up in the Everglades. 
We grab ourselves two seats on an airboat. There's a few other tourists on the boat with us, I can't help but size up who we would sacrifice first - should it come to that.

And then we're off! The wind pulls through my hair. We're headed straight for what looks like land - it looks like we're bound to collide. I brace.

And we glide straight over. That's the thing in the Everglades - it's impossible to tell the difference between land and water. If at a loss, assume it's water. It's 90% more likely.

The alligators lurk along the edges of the island. They don't seem to mind the roar of the blades of the engine, but sink beneath the surface when we get too close.

Our guide fills us in, through his missing teeth. His skin is red like a lobster, and perched up above us on the driver's seat, it feels like maybe he is king, of the alligators, of the Everglades, of us all.
We're lucky enough to see babies, warming themselves on a mud pile. Mom is not far off - I can almost feel her beady eye watching our every move. The babies are not more than 15cm long, striped and cute.

And we're even more lucky to get to hold a 3 year old alligator at the end. That was nerve-wracking!

13 October 2012 - Day Four in Miami

Beach day! The wind is strong, almost fierce, but the sun is out, and the beach is calling. We head back to Soho House, because the striped beach loungers, fresh cut watermelon, and vintage cooler boxes of water bottles and oranges are calling.

The wind is a sneaky little one though, keeping the heat off me, lulling us all into a false sense of security - soon tan lines start to appear, and redden. After an aptly named Dirty Burger (I have to keep it in its wrapper to stop it from covering me in all its delicious juices), we head back inside, and are soon on the streets of Miami. Saturday afternoon in South Beach is a traffic jam.

Florida has many South American influences, understandably. And you can feel it - in the streets, in the people, in the music. There's songstresses belting out Latino classics, there's rhythm and jive. It makes you want to tango, to dance, to leap.
Tonight we head to the Miami Art Walk - an event in Midtown Miami which happens every second weekend of the month.

The event is along a street which is lined by galleries, and each possible piece of wall is covered in graffiti. It's a sight for sore eyes.
The people were what made it so interesting. It was such a crazy, delightful, mind-expanding mix. And the fashions! Miami seems to be a place that has completely given itself over to being a vibrant, youthful, ever-changing beach town. And the people completely reflect that. The street was packed, the galleries were swarming, the food trucks were surrounded.

Oh, what? I didn't mention the food trucks? Shit. They were INCREDIBLE. In an old abandoned field, along the art walk, just after Panther Coffee Shop. These are the food trucks that I'd heard about - in whispers, on blogs, in secret circles where things that are good and cool and too good to be true are discussed.

Each truck sold something different - Mexican, Latino, health, pizza, pasta, and burgers burgers burgers. We picked Latino, and between us ate two pulled pork sandwiches, one portobello mushroom sandwich and one quesidilla. All were perfection. We then tried some frozen yoghurt from the frozen yoghurt truck - red velvet was my favourite - and then returned to the art walk!

The best bit? We still have a few more days in Miami!
[Map from Google Maps]


lucille said...

Looks like a lovely city, if a hot city. mom

Reaching Robyn said...

Boiling. And that was during Autumn! Madness.

Reaching Robyn said...

Boiling. And that was during Autumn! Madness.