Monday, August 9, 2010

We're in Miami!

Hot, sticky and mainly sunny - that's Miami in the middle of summer.

We stayed in Bal Harbour just north of the main Miami Strip and home to one of the most over-the-top rich-persons' mall ever, restaurants and a crowded family beach.

It's also home to a large number of Jewish delis, supermarkets and Kosher restaurants - and a lot of Orthodox Jews.

A few minutes drive south of our hotel are the famous sandy spots of Miami and South Beach.

From the afternoon we spent walking around the shops, restaurants and boardwalks of Miami Beach the people range from standard to stunning and everyone seems to spend a lot of time on their appearance.

Miami and South Beach are just how you’d expect them to be – endless white sand, blue sea, highrises and people everywhere. The waterfront strip is lined with restaurants and the occasional tourist store and to get anywhere you have to fight your way through the line of waiters trying to thrust menus and happy hour vouchers at you.

Along the Miami waterfront and among the busy streets are rows and rows of beautiful art deco buildings. It reminded me of a larger, more tanned version of Napier.

Lincoln Mall is the main shopping and eating area and runs right up to the beach. Supposedly in the winter high season it’s the favourite place for the rich and famous to shop, but we didn’t catch a glimpse of anyone.

Speaking of famous, the Jersey Shore gang were in town for the second season of their show, but we didn’t manage to see any of them either though I’m sure they wouldn’t be hard to find if you really wanted to.

Nick has been on the hunt (ha, pun) for a patch for his backpack, but Florida seems to be a patch free zone. I think we visited every souvenir, tourist and surf shop we could find and not a patch in sight. I guess people like fancy trinkets these days – like magnets.

One our second day in Miami we were ready for the seaside. For a more relaxing beach stop we drove south to the state park, Bill Baggs Cape in Key Biscayne.

Just like the more popular main beaches, Bill Baggs has the white sand and clear waters plus an old lighthouse - and a lot less people.

After our last skin-crisping outing to the beach we rented one of the giant blue umbrellas for $10 and saved ourselves further redness.

Sandier than when we left, back at the hotel Nick had a new adventure planned.

Nick is a massive fan of the TV series Dexter (if you haven’t seen it it’s about a serial killer who helps the Police catch serial killers) which is set in, you guessed it, Miami.

Being a little bit of a Dexter-nerd, Nick Googled locations for the show and while it’s mainly filmed in LA it turned out Dexter Morgan’s “house” was just around the corner from us.

A short walk from our room Nick quickly spotted the famous apartments. However something told us we were not alone.

The entrance to the building was plastered with “Residents Only” signs and “No Trespassing” warnings. The area in front of the actually Dexter room is open and in view of all the other apartments so it’s difficult to pop in for a sneaky picture.

While I was waiting for an overly excited Nick I saw a home-made sign on the residents’ notice board which, to paraphrase, said if you see any Dexter fans here taking photos or videos call this number and the police will be here in two minutes - a slightly over the top reaction if you ask me for visitors simply stopping by for a quick fan photo.

For our last night we drove back out to South Beach and walked out to pier. Even though it was after 5pm it was still hot and sweaty.

We paid a quick visit to the city’s large, sombre Holocaust Memorial funded by Miami’s large Jewish population.

After a healthy meal at Pasha we wanted to sample that famous local delicacy Key Lime Pie, but could we find any? Nope. We settled on Reese’s Pieces and Jujy Fruits instead.

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