Friday, September 21, 2012

Miami? No thanky!!

Miami – Home of Miami Vice and lots of millionaires – really lots and lots of rich millionaires – that at the moment seem to be away on holiday somewhere as all the stupidly big houses we have passed on the Venetian Islands as you cross over to Miami Beach seem to be empty. There are plenty of huge expensive boats everywhere, but no Madonna or Paul McCartney (Surely he must have a house here?) Just row upon row of huge, expensive millionaires mansions, overlooking the gorgeous waterways that lead from Downtown Miami to the Islands of Miami Beach, where me and my mate Dan are staying.

We have been here for three days now and to be honest, Miami isn’t all that good. It’s fine if you want to veg on a beach (Complete with digger moving sand from one sandy area to another sandy area for no apparent reason) or sit by the pool on a stunning sunny afternoon. But for me, who by now is used to travelling and seeing unusual things, visiting strange and wonderful places, Miami Beach is a little bit of a letdown. There isn’t much to do at all if you want to see something interesting. Apart from the Porsches, Maserati’s, Bentley and Lexus cars everywhere there isn’t a great deal to look at. Granted there are two museums and a lot of cool Art Deco buildings to look at, but as you pass another tacky shop, selling ‘I’m in Miami Bitch’, t-shirts, you could be forgiven for thinking you are in Blackpool, Malaga or even Skegness!!  Ok, there are $20million dollar speedboats everywhere and lots of people who wear more in bed than they do during the day, but it’s just another seaside resort.(But one with more airheads and posers than most)
Miami Beach from the plane

and Dan arriving.

So what have we been doing here? Well it’s where we arranged to meet and we needed somewhere to meet didn’t we!? Dan travelled over from the UK on Tuesday as I travelled down from Winnipeg. I met him at the airport after my flight was a little late and we eventually found our way to our Hotel – The Tropics hotel and hostel – one of the cheapest hotels in Miami, but still not a bad place. Ok, the TV remote control that we paid a $20 deposit for doesn’t work and we have to shove a knife into the TV to turn the volume down – but we have a pool view, an air conditioned room and a toilet roll holder that falls off the wall if you go for a piss. What else do you need!? No rats, no bugs and comfortable beds complete the picture (along with a safe that is just for show as it won’t open!)

We have been here for three nights and are treating it as acclimatisation for the next part of our trip. So we HAVE been to the beach, swum in the clear blue Atlantic Ocean, wandered along the yellow sand and back up past the marina housing the huge expensive boats (we saw one that could be hired for as little as $38000 per week  - yes Thirty eight thousand dollars a week!! ) 

Turning the TV up and down

Our Hotel - not too shabby for the price!

Read his tshirt - he is a cock.

Digger on the beach


$38000 a week?

We have watched United play on a TV in an Irish bar, had three great breakfasts in a really cool old fashioned, Art Deco style Deli called Jerry’s and we have watched lots of overdressed people stand outside a very famous and popular nightclub – Yes, stand outside – nobody seemed to be going inside – perhaps they weren’t dressed correctly or couldn’t afford to go in and see Lindsay Lohan or any of the supposed famous people who frequent Mansion Nightclub. Either way, I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t want to go in, even if I wasn’t such a scruffy bastard who had no chance of getting past Mr T’s distant cousin who was guarding the hallowed red rope of no entry. Lindsay Lohan and her dog in a bag can go and shove her head in the propeller of her stupid $38000 a week boat!!    

What else have we been doing!? Well, Dan stuck to the British tradition of getting too sunburnt on the first day and even managed a funny ‘backpack strap’, sunburn, with white stripes now showing where he was wearing his backpack.

Haahaa Sunburn - day 1!!

We ran - and went to hooters

where Dan had crabs!

At the port.

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Mall Cop!!

We have frequented a few of the local bars – Two with abominable service that includes gratuity and no smile – we left without leaving a tip after the beer took more than 15 minutes to arrive and when it did it came with a head bigger than an ice cream. We also got refused service in a local brewery bar – as we didn’t have USA identification. So if you are ever in Miami, feel free to go to Abbey Brewery on 16th street and tell the barman with the quirky hat that I think he is a cock. We went to Downtown Miami and visited the Bayside Markets, where after 10 minutes without service we also walked out of Bubba Gumps restaurant. A shame because I was looking forward to the onion rings!

We have had successes too though – A really nice Jazz cafe with cheap beers and a live jam session on upstairs. A Spanish bar with a Russian barman was really friendly and after Bubba Gumps, we ended up in Hooters – great food and lots to look at, (they had loads of sport on the TV is what I mean, honest!!)  Plus two big pitchers of beer went down really well.

It’s not been the busiest of weeks – A lie in till past 10 in the morning have been followed by lazy days and a few beers in the evening. It’s now our last day and tomorrow we actually got out of town today for something different. We are took a half day tour to the Florida Everglades. It was an interesting morning with a Spanish speaking guide whose English was so broken and fast we couldn’t understand him. The Air boat pilot was a strange old man who seemed to mock us and be friendly at the same time and called all the Alligators we saw, ‘Lilly’. The airboat ride was a lot of fun – speeding around the everglades through the shallow water and the tall grass we got a good load of speed going as well as stopping to look at the wildlife and mainly the Alligators as they came over to see what we were doing.

After the boat ride there was time to take in a small demonstration of Alligator wrestling – which is actually what they call the method of catching an Alligator safely by jumping in its back and covering its eyes. The guy who did this was also a bit mad as I’m sure it helps working somewhere like this. It was great to spend a half day away from the monotony of Miami Beach and see something different and we are both now glad that we are due to leave tomorrow and drive somewhere new.

Millionaire row

and more millionaire houses


Crazy airboat pilot

I don’t know if it’s me or the people here, but I have felt more welcomed in China, Vietnam, and even France! It’s almost as if the people who work here know we aren’t famous or rich and therefore don’t bother to even pretend to be interested in serving us food or drinks. I guess if I had a flash car, used the Valet parking, which is everywhere and carried a pink poodle in a bag I would be welcomed with open arms – but unfortunately I am a scumbag Northerner who really has better things to do with my life than spend an hour every day kissing my own arse. So Miami - You can kiss my arse instead. I’m glad I came here and as everywhere I have ever been, I have enjoyed myself, but for the first time in my travels that have spanned the last two years, I am happy to leave Miami Beach and never come back. 

Zooming along on the airboat

He was mental

another gator

Dan gets to hold one

I got bit!!!

We will go out for a couple of beers and some food tonight, then pack our stuff and get away from here early tomorrow morning – Heading South to Key West and the southernmost tip of the United States.


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