Trip Start Oct 07, 2013
81Trip End Ongoing
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Our first day on South Beach was relatively quiet but that probably had something to do with the battalion of police sweeping the beach area breaking up drunken fights. And when did enormous, barely covered butts, that can't help but invoke images of an uncontrolled bowl of jello, become sexy??
After sleeping off the evil deeds of the night before, the booze zombies would hit the streets at sunset- I don't imagine that my own alcohol-fueled pick-up lines were any better back in the day (although they did buckle DH's knees), but at least I was on the same side of the street when I made the attempt (and I didn't use the B word as a term of endearment)
Discretion suggested that we give up the ocean front streets to the Budweiser crowd at night but it was easy to see that the preserved art deco theme of South Beach would be fun to explore in months other than March. In the 1930s, an architectural revolution had came to South Beach, bringing Art Deco, Streamline Moderne, and Nautical Moderne architecture. Jackie Gleason made it even more famous in the sixties by taping his TV variety show there but it then went through a bad patch and has only come back in the last twenty or thirty years. Before the days of another TV show, Miami Vice (which filmed on location in South Beach), it was considered to be a very poor area with a very high rate of crime. Today, it is one of the wealthiest and most prosperous commercial areas on the beach (maybe the bad guys fled thinking Sonny & Rico were real??).
Stepping gingerly around the splashes of vomit left the night before, we jumped on one of those hop-on, hop-off buses that will often times give you a great overview of a city when you're tight for time. This one did provide some insight as to the fabulous art deco history of South Beach in particular, and we did visit Little Havana,the Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables Downtown and a number of other sights, but there was also a heavy emphasis on which vacant movie star/singer owned which extravagant boat and/or home, drank in which bar, sued which strip club, and the tour topped/bottomed out with a highlight visit to the drag racing street that the most vacant of 'stars', Justin Bieber, was arrested on a short time ago (traveling as Canadians used to be an anonymous experience but Justin and Mayor Ford have changed all that). Too bad these trips don't come with a fast forward button!
One more night of dodging stumbling teenage drunks (the proud future of North America??) and it was time to prep for another of those worldwide Wows- Rapa Nui otherwise known as Easter Island (and there, the stone heads represent the past and not the future).