Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Vacation: Day Two - South Beach? I Thought That Was Only a Diet?

As I sit here writing this I can feel gentle movement as the ship moves.

I thought at first it was the 2 gin and tonics pre-supper and the ½ bottle of wine post-supper but then I realize that, no, in fact, the ship is moving at a clip of approximately 22 knots (what does that translate to in American, Wyoming Girl terms?) and so there is movement not induced by liquor.

Which is kinda awesome.
This morning, I sat in the sand on South Miami Beach, watching the sky turn from deepest pre-dawn purple, to hot pink, to orange, to light pink before the sun made its grand debut over the horizon. Pictures don’t do it justice…but I tried to capture it.

Just as the sun was getting ready to crest the horizon - South Miami Beach, FL

And there it is - South Miami Beach, FL

Afterward, we made our way down Ocean Ave. to the News Café where we sat out on the sidewalk patio. There were very few others about at such an early hour and those that were – most of them – were drunk and still up from the night before. We ate breakfast, drank Cuban coffee, listened to light jazz piano music, and felt the day begin to heat up to a pleasant level of sultry.

The News Café. It’s here that Versace would come every morning – literally just down the street from the beautiful mansion in the heart of the Art Deco District he called home. It was here that he’d come to begin his last day before being gunned down on the steps of his home. Steps that are literally feet from the street where revelers spend their days and nights in this Florida hot spot.

The mansion looks as I remember it from the news. And yet, in some strange way, when seen in context, looks different too…more real perhaps? Out of character for the rest of the architecture yet, at the same time, more a part of this foreign world than, say, I am.

There are so many languages spoken in Miami! I knew to expect Spanish but French? German? Japanese? It’s much more international than I’d anticipated. The desk at our tiny boutique hotel – The Chelsea – two blocks from the ocean and the frenzy of what we think of when we think of South Beach – was staffed by a cute little girl from Peru who was eagerly anticipating the arrival of her parents in just a couple of days. They too were coming to Miami to cruise the Bahamas. That wasn’t something I’d considered…that people from all over the world fly into Miami for the express purpose of cruising…like us…Americans.

It makes sense I suppose. We would fly to Europe for the sole purpose of cruising, say, the Mediterranean. But I hadn’t made the connection that it would possibly work the other direction.

Is that my bad, anti-American culture attitude? I don’t know. I’m not anti-American, by the way. I just tend to view us as other people might…and we’re kinda…hmmm…silly, boisterous, preposterous.

Anyway, the rest of the day was easy. Almost too easy. The taxi ride and traffic, the cruise check in process, embarkation were smooth and stress free. The pool area was noisy with people and the ship band. The ship itself is actually pretty noisy all around and all the time.

But, by the time we’d set sail, we’d settled on deck 12 aft, listening to the song stylings of “Bruce” and drinking gin and tonics as we watched Miami disappear behind us.

Bon Voyage, Reality

This is what I’ve been waiting for. And it is good.


zero hour said...

I'm glad you are having such a relaxing time... you were at my old haunts...so odd.. I hung out at the Versace place pre-transformation, when still a hovel ,home to artists, musicians, addicts, what have you's. Drank at the punk clubs, no longer there, but probably chic chic places now.
Have a great time on the ocean!

Diva said...

Beautiful post, beautiful pics, beautiful vacation. Hope you're having a great time!