South Beach in Miami: A Place For Mixed Emotions
I personally never need much convincing to make a trip back to the United States. So, I found it pretty easy to decide to start my long-awaited trip to Cuba with a five day layover in Miami.
We arrived in Florida’s most southern city after a sleepless ten-hour trip from London – the stuff of nightmares for any veteran of long-haul flights. After a fun hour spent standing in line at immigration and a relatively stress-free Uber ride, we arrived at the barely furnished apartment that we’d returned off Airbnb.
We were met at the gate by one of my best friends, who has been living in the US of A for some four years now. We spent an hour cramming our faces full of chips/crisps, before jet lag struck. The boys hit the town – I hit the hay.
London has a noticeable lack of heat, sand and surf, so I was determined to make the most of our close proximity to Miami Beach while I had the chance. Up at 7am thanks to the wonders of jet lagged, I dragged my long-suffering boyfriend to the ocean’s shore. It was a windy day and the waves were choppy, but let’s be honest – I was there for the sun. I stretched out on my towel, opened my book and waited for the Vitamin D to work its magic.
After I’d pushed Si’s patience to the limit, we ventured away from the beach. We walked down Ocean Drive and Washington Avenue, admiring the art deco buildings along the way.
This was a process we’d attempt to repeat for the rest of the week. Yet, after the good weather of our first day, the skies clouded over – which made my heart hurt. So much for hours spent lounging on the beach, or alternatively by the pool. My disappointment was palpable.
The problem with places like South Beach is that they’re designed for two things – sunshine and drinking. I’m not a party animal and as the skies clouded over, so did my enthusiasm for the city of Miami.
Si and I are both in agreement that we travel to eat. This was not going to be a holiday that would satisfy our appetite. Maybe better meals are to be had within the city itself – I didn’t have the opportunity to explore this option. South Beach is a mecca for tourists and the food left a lot to be imagined.
Imagine greasy plates of food that’s covered with cheese… but with New York or London prices. We ended up eating most of our meals at the 11th Street Diner. Comparably, the food was good and I got the opportunity to treat myself to a rather decadent slice of red velvet cake. No complaints from this girl.
We did manage to hit the town one night for a memorable (or not, as it were) evening. My BBF (best boy-friend) loves nothing more than to paint a town red and persuaded us to make our way to a establishment known as Senor Frogs. I’d never heard of the chain and can’t really say I’d be in any rush to head back there again, but we had a good time nonetheless. I did get the opportunity to perform a little karaoke – although it wasn’t my finest rendition of “Baby’s Got Back” by any means.
Our final day in town brought us back to the beach. I strolled along the sand down by the water’s edge. The cloudy weather had driven almost everyone away, leaving me free to take as many pictures as I liked of the iconic lifeguard huts that littered the beach.
Ever since I quit plastic I’ve been seeing the stuff everywhere. I’d stand in the ocean, dodging waves and feel something hit my legs.
“Oh, seaweed!” I’d exclaim as I reached down and picked a plastic bag up out of the water.
It’s projected that there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050. As I walked along Miami Beach, I picked up enough rubbish to convince me that this might just be the case.
And so ended our quite peaceful layover in Miami. We weren’t to realise it at the time, but those five days served as the calm before the storm. We were headed to Cuba and all hell was about to break loose…
Have you been to South Beach? What are your thoughts on this part of Miami?