Day 12: Highlights of Miami Tour

2010-04-16 Highlights of Miami Tour - Joys (105) - Miami Beach Sign Tom The cruise is over (picture me frowning with a clown tear on my cheek).  But the vacation continued.  We disembarked early to board a tour bus.  We were driven up Biscayne Boulevard a part of Route 1 then over to our first stop at Miami Beach.  The portion of beach at which we disembarked is in the Art Deco District.  This may well be the most attractive row of hotels in the United States (unless one calls The Royal Hawaiian and Ala Moana a ‘row’).  There is a green park with a clean public restroom facility across the street.  After that there is a grassy dune followed by the wide expanse of white sand that forms Miami Beach.  If I can’t live on an island, this would be the next best thing.  However, I don’t have or want the wardrobe to live here.  This is one styling strip even at the breakfast hour.  If one sits in Starbucks and watches commuters go to work on Manhattan and wonders what do these Manhattanites wear on vacation, Miami is where one goes to find out.  If you are a fitness buff who spends more on plastic surgery than most of us spend on cars, Miami Beach is where you go.   For you Californians, this is a place that makes Balboa Island seem Bohemian.

2010-04-16 Highlights of Miami Tour (6) Lifeguard Tower Joy 2010-04-16 Highlights of Miami Tour (12) - tourists in a tree

2010-04-16 Highlights of Miami Tour - Joys (98) beach 2010-04-16 Highlights of Miami Tour - Joys (99) urban beach

We then drove down through Coconut Grove and Coral Cables.  Not exactly Beverly Hills, but Florida’s answer to California’s Orange County.  Yet, it was uniquely and attractively Floridian.  I loved the white coral walls and coral stone outcroppings in the yards.  That is my kind of rock garden.  I could easily see myself on a condo balcony sipping Cuban coffee near Miami Beach or hanging by the pool in my Coconut Grove home.  But it seems pure fantasy to imagine living on one of the many canals with a yacht in my backyard.  Think little Naples near Long Beach with wider canals and Florida architecture.

2010-04-16 Highlights of Miami Tour (17) Barbizon 2010-04-16 Highlights of Miami Tour - Joys (18) canal

My impressions of Miami were severely made over by this vacation.  It is without doubt a destination city.  As a small wave surfer, enthusiastic snorkeler, wannabe architect, and shameless people watcher, Miami offers the kind of sophisticated but casual international community that has great appeal.  It has been elevated in my estimation to the status of one of America’s great cities.  I can’t yet address the availability of shopping and shows, but maybe my brother will weigh in on that in the comments.  But with Mount Sinai, Miami International, and Port of Miami it would appear that Miami would be an excellent place to retire if one were looking for an east coast of the continental U.S. location.

Just a word about the tour itself.  Our guide was a highly educated and informative interpreter of Miami.  We heard about a smattering of entertainers, most notably Jackie Gleason, one architect, a hand full of moguls, and fifty to one hundred people associated with boxing.  Out of three hours we probably spent a third of that time hearing about cut up faces and people being killed in the boxing ring.  Not content with talking about boxers and their associates who had been to Miami we also heard about fights in each of the countries of the tourists on the bus.  If you’re not a boxing fan, you may prefer to plan your own tour with Google maps and a rental car.  As an added bonus our driver spoke on his cell phone while negotiating our bus through Miami’s rush hour traffic!  Wayne, I think you should have met us and given us the tour before dropping us off at the airport.

Miami Vice?  Miami, NICE.


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