Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Miami Beach!

This is just a mini blog on my trip to Miami. Hmmmm, my second 'mini' blog in succession. I really need a bigger adventure to write about sometime. Maybe soon...

Anyway, it was my first trip to Miami and I mainly came to visit my friend Catherine who used to live in NY but has been back living in France for the last few years. She was visiting Miami on vacation so what better reason to come than to join her for a little reunion. She has been here a bunch of times before so she was an instant tour guide.

Unfortunately this time of year is considered the off-season due to the threat of hurricanes. And true to form, I landed into torrential rain on Saturday afternoon thanks to the tail end of Hurricane Emily.

Thankfully the deluge had pretty much stopped by the time I got to the apartment Catherine was renting in Miami Beach. The beach was a few mins walk away and we had a swimming pool within the apartment complex that no one else used, which was great for us. Here are the highlights of the trip.

Saturday evening:
- Spent the evening at a beach front bar on Ocean Drive (a few doors down near where Gianni Versache was murdered outside his mansion). We caught up and people-watched over some delicious mojitos. We walked back towards the apartment along Collins Ave, checking out store windows. It was hysterical, even the mannequins have had boob jobs.

- We hit the beach in the morning, although it was overcast. Holy humidity though, I thought NY was bad. I was kind of glad the sun wasn't out, it would have been uncomfortably hot. Along the way to the beach we walked through the Art Deco neighborhood where the houses are really pretty and colorful. We went for several dips in the ocean, by far the warmest and saltiest seawater I've even been in.
- We had a lovely Brazilian lunch of salad and fish cakes while watching the daily downpour of rain flood the streets.
- It was still raining after lunch so we headed back to the apartment for an afternoon swim in the pool. Even though it was an outdoor unheated pool, I've been in baths that weren't as warm.
- Finished up the evening solving life's problems with wine and cheese at the apartment followed by ceviche and mojiotos in a lovely Peruvian tapas bar.

- We awoke to sunshine so decided to rent bikes for the day. The plan was to cycle across the Venetian Causeway (which crosses over 6 islands) through downtown Miami to Coral Gables and Coconut Grove but we only made it across the bridge before the rain came in. We tried to keep going for another 40 mins but it was starting to get ridiculously wet and it wasn't going to improve for the day.
- We dropped off the bikes, cut our losses and went to the Mojito Bar at the Bayside Marketplace by the water. Quite touristy but Drew, the friendly barman, kept us entertained and we stayed for lunch.
- With few options because of the rain, we took a boat ride on the Island Queen cruise. A nice trip but overpriced for what it was. Most of the tour was spent around around Star Island where loads of celebrities (with more money than taste) live. Would have preferred more history about Miami.
- Back at Miami Beach the rain cleared up in the evening so we hit the beach for a sunset swim and a picnic. We think we even saw a dolphin swimming in the distance (looked like it from the swimming motion).

Most of the time I didn't feel like I was in America, Miami has such an international and Latin vibe to it which I loved. Sometimes it reminded me of my trip to Mexico. All in all a fun and easy trip from NY and there's plenty more for a return visit. Ciao for now. Here's a link to the photos.