Miami Vice, Miami Nice!

Trip Start Jun 12, 2012
Trip End Oct 18, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Friday, October 12, 2012

Howdy folks,

With the days quickly counting down and still a few things to check off the list, it was time to head down to Miami Beach for a few nights to see the sights. Unfortunately for us, getting there was going to be a different story. Matt was home recovering after a big night 'networking' and Kai was off at school, so he kindly dropped us at the Tri-Rail Station so that we could catch the train. 50 minutes later we stopped at the Miami Airport Transfer point where we caught the bus into the terminal, but we had to catch the metro mover out to the bus station so that we could get the express bus to South Miami Beach. Sound confusing? You bet. To make things worse, we just missed the connecting bus and had to wait an extra 30 minutes. Total travel time: almost 3 hours.

Nevertheless, we were there! Our first stop was Lincoln Street Mall to find a place for lunch. It is the local equivalent of Rundle Mall, but with Italian Restaurants everywhere. We settled for pizza, but it wasn't cheap. After lunch, we had killed enough time to check into our hotel which is down in the art deco part of the beach. There are many buildings here which reflect the architectural style of the 1930s when much of the area was being developed. Steffie and I decided on a hotel above average from the ones we usually choose as a treat to ourselves for making it to the end of our trip. The good thing about it is that it is right in the midlde of everything.

After an afternoon nap, we decided to go to South Pointe Park at the end of the island to watch the sunset. It was definitely the place to be with about 20 people bring their dogs to the park to run around in organised mayhem. First we walked out to the beach past popular Smith and Wollensky Restaurant which looked pretty expensive. It was quite windy and there were a few kite surfers off in the distance making good use of it. In the bushes around the point were quite a few stray cats who were keeping well clear of the dog park nearby. By the time we walked back to Washington Avenue, the sun was definitely setting over the city which was really nice.

Back at the hotel, they had a free drinks hour to get the guests mingling and Steffie and I made the most of the gin and tonics and screwdrivers on offer. We met a nice couple there from New Zealand who had been working in Dubai. The guy even told me that he had spent a season working up at Sunshine Ski Resort! Definitely a small world. We had dinner at the bar as well after they left and didn't really need to go out for any drinks after that. Not a bad day I guess!

In the morning we had a lazy start because they didn't serve breakfast until 8:30am. After we had our bagel (which are quite popular here in the US), it was time to go for a ride. We rented some cruisers from the local bike shop and went for a ride along the promenade. Unfortunately we couldn't go all the way up because the boardwalk was for pedestrians only, so we had to ride up Collins Avenue instead. Eventually we came out at the Fontainebleau Hotel. I had read in our old Lonely Planet that there was a huge mural here painted on the side of the hotel in 1986, but when we arrived we had trouble finding it. One of the hotel bellman told us that in fact the mural was gone because the building had been demolished to put up more condominiums! The main hotel was still there complete with 4 pools, green bar and the usual luxury shops. We were told we could go and take a closer look at the pools, but some punk at the gate wouldn't let us.

We rode back down to Lincoln Mall where we stopped in for lunch and took a look at a few souvenir shops. It was time to return the bikes so we did that and headed back to the hotel. After a few hours relaxing, it was time to hit the beach so we walked 10 minutes down to the water and went in for a dip. The water was warm, but conditions were choppy and there was a strong undertow so it paid to be careful. Still it was a lot of fun, although most people on the beach were just there to sun tan.

Back at the hotel it was time to get changed for dinner and before we went out, we hit the bar for a few more of those free drinks. We had seen an old 50's diner on the corner of 11th street, so I was keen to go in and get the old diner experience. The food took a while to come out, but it was delicious and a decent size. Afterwards, we took a walk around to see all the art deco buildings lit up at night which was cool to see.

Next stop, Miami Airport!
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