We decided to take “the kids” to Miami Beach for a night. It’s a little over an hour’s drive, too long for a day trip on one of the worst highways in America, so I found a Groupon deal for two rooms in South Beach, SoBe, and we were off.
It was raining. My windshield wipers were acting up. The other night I drove home from work during a torrential downpour, in the dark, and couldn’t see a thing. There seems to be a grease slick on my windshield, the rain beads up, making it very difficult to see. Rich pulled off the road in Hollywood. “We’ll find an AutoZone somewhere,” he said, confidently.
We drove several miles into Hollywood past dozens of ticket lawyers. “Fight That Ticket,” their signs said. Hollywood is also full of CPA’s and tax preparation businesses. But no Auto Zone so we finally gave up, circled around the rotary and pulled into a Sherwin Williams store. “They’ll have something in here,” my husband, the painter, said. The girl behind the register asked, “What is it you need this for? Cleaning your windshield?” She looked at him incredulously. He spent about ten minutes detailing the front window with some product I’d never seen before and smelled funny, to no avail. The rain was still coming down, still beading up on the windshield. Luckily it slowed to a drizzle and petered out as we approached Miami, behind schedule. But no worries, we didn’t really have a schedule.
First stop was the Eden Roc, we were planning to crash the pool again. Dark clouds loomed in the distance, we easily found parking in the public lot next to the hotel. I went for a walk along the boardwalk, everyone else went swimming.
I love the lifeguard towers of Miami Beach.
I passed several Hasidic Jews, the women in long skirts, the men wearing yarmulkes, white shirt and tie. It was muggy, I felt bad for them. It began to rain as I walked back to the Eden Roc. It felt really good on this gray, muggy day.
The Eden Roc was fully decked out for Christmas.
The rain came down harder. We adjourned to our favorite beach bar for the Patriots game and our favorite Jerk chicken wings drizzled with honey. Our favorite waitress was working once again. We have been to the Eden Roc three times and all three times, Hannah has been our waitress. Again, it is a small world.
The Pats and Tom Brady pulled out another victory, a sloppy one, but a win is a win. Back in the car, our next stop was SoBe. We checked into the Majestic right on Ocean Drive in the heart of the Deco District.
It had a Caribbean vibe with old fashioned metal ceiling fans, a tiny reception area, and a sidewalk cafe.
I set out on another walk, a reconnaissance mission to check our dining options. As I passed along the sidewalks underneath the restaurant awnings, dodging the raindrops, I was assaulted by various hosts and hostesses, waiters, and waitresses with pleas to please dine at their establishment. “I give you twenty percent off.” “Two for one drinks.” “Best food on the strip.” The happy hour menus were all the same. Spaghetti cabonara, tomato pomodori, nachos. They all used the same printer.
My daughter and her boyfriend had joined me. We passed the staircase from the movie Scarface, where the chainsaw massacre occurs. It is the location where Tony Mantana, played by Al Pacino, makes his drug deal. I was really wishing Rich was with us because he has watched this movie countless times, but he was doing what he always does after checking into a hotel room. He was lying on the bed, channel surfing. I don’t know why he likes doing this in a hotel, it’s something he does at home all the time and this is the reason I never watch TV with him, but that is neither here nor there. His loss.
The three of us not channel surfing in a hotel room were made an offer we couldn’t refuse. A hostess at one of the countless sidewalk cafes offered us free drinks. No strings attached. “I just opened this place and as you can see, there is hardly anyone here. I need to have beautiful people here, drinking, smiling, having fun. Attracting more beautiful people.” At first, we were skeptical. But, she was calling us beautiful people. If you’re going to put it that way, okay, okay, I’ll take your free drink. So Rich missed out on that, but he did join us for dinner at the Carlyle. The menu was much more enticing than the dining establishment with the free drink. We did leave a nice tip when we finished our free cocktails and several more patrons joined us, so we succeeded in attracting more beautiful people like ourselves. A job well done. Lord knows, I can drink and smile and have fun like nobody’s business.
This is the Carlyle by day:
An art exhibit of works by Havi Schanz was on display in the lobby, portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, and Audrey Hepburn.
The prosciutto and arugula pizza was so good, we ordered a second one. It was late in the evening, we strolled along the shore, passed a disco nightclub on the beach where some very shady things were going on between shirtless men kissing and strolling down dark beach paths to the shore.
We serendipitously caught an excellent fireworks display:
Then decided to call it a night. Returning to the hotel, we stopped to listen to a Mexican band in one of the sidewalk restaurants,
Rich began to complain about how we were not going to sleep that night and he was planning a TV marathon to drown out the noises of Ocean Drive. “Look at this location,” he said, as we approached the hotel. “We’re right on this busy corner.”
“Our room is facing the alley. All sorts of delivery trucks will be passing through early in the morning.”
“Stop complaining,” I said. After an hour of listening to Chandler arguing with Monica, I told him to shut off the Friends marathon. He complied with my request and immediately fell asleep, not noticing the night noises as SoBe slowly settled down for the evening. His snores mingled with the sound of a constant bongo beat from the band playing in the lobby then joined the sound of waiters stacking endless plates, clearing the sidewalk tables for the evening.
Party goers turned that corner we were residing on for the night, passing underneath our sidewalk window, talking loudly. “I can’t believe her. So the little bitch says…” I never did get to hear what that little bitch said, as they quickly moved on, leaving me tossing and turning next to my snoring husband. Angry motorists honked their horns, impatient to get home to their beds, where I was sure it was much quieter than my bed for the night. My husband continued to snore.
Finally, three hours of quiet descended upon us. I caught a few winks then awoke to the sound of those morning delivery trucks. My husband continued to snore. Finally, the sound of the grease truck woke him, and he said, “God, I barely slept at all.” “Oh really?” I rolled my eyes, got up and headed back out on the streets of SoBe for several cups of cafe con leche, people watching as a homeless man wearing only a perfectly white, clean bath towel wrapped around his waist passed by my sidewalk table.