Miami Nice

November 22, 2015

Saw as much of Miami as a person could see in a day, perhaps.

Started like this:

Headed back down to Ocean…


Then a nice walk on the beach…


Took in some deco along the way…


Love this crosswalk …


Sat in a sidewalk cafe for a long breakfast, waiting on a son who never showed up (a combination of staying up until the wee hours watching old episodes of Seinfeld, and jet lag)…



(Jim looks like his brother here…)

We sat through successive bouts of rain. With each downpour, people would abandon the beach in waves. It was hilarious. They apparently wouldn’t take any time to re-clothe themselves (why bother?); just made hasty retreats!


It’s really something to behold, these tropical regions… sun, dark clouds, rain, sometimes all at once. It’s warm, humid, wet. But, I have to say, pleasant enough.. at least in November when the temperatures top out in the 70s or low 80s.


After a couple hours, we rounded up the kiddo and headed out on a driving tour of the environs. First, north along the island on A1A (Collins) through South Beach, North Beach, Bal Harbor… past beachfront hotel after beachfront hotel after beachfront hotel. Saw lots of ritzy houses and yachts on inner coastal waterways.

And lots of spectacular art deco:


Found our way to a place called the Oleta River State Park. Walked around for about an hour–along the water and through jungly paths…



Tested it for temp…it was warm…


Peter, freaked, sighted a big hairy spider… Jim, of course, checked it out..


Got this shot…


Turned out, it was a banana spider. This from Wikipedia:

In Florida and other southeastern states, the golden silk spider, or as we call them the banana spider, is the large orange and brown spider with the feathery tufts on its legs well know to most native southerners. It is particularly despised by hikers and hunters, as during late summer and fall the large golden webs of this species make a sticky trap for the unwary. The female is distinctively colored, and is among the largest orb-weaving spiders in the country. The female is 25 mm to 40 mm long and has conspicuous hair tufts on her long legs. Males are about 4 mm to 6 mm long, dark-brown, and are often found in the webs of females. These spiders feed primarily on flying insects, which they catch in webs that may be greater than a meter in diameter.

And Peter got the hell out of dodge…


The park also had lots of cool non-California-like vegetation.





And just lots of verdant greenery:


(With creepy crawlers most certainly contained within.) (Poor Peter.)

Then it was off to Little Havana for a late lunch.


We ate [not at that place above but] at Exquisito Restaurant on Calle Ocho for some traditional Cuban cuisine. Enjoyed the proprietor, who commented on all of our choices and reminded us of Chris Christie. Here is the fantastic (greasy, meaty, salty, crunchy) Cuban fried rice I got, with a side of sweet, caramelized fried plantains…


Domino Park is in the center of the action…


If you look closely, you’ll see some dapperly dressed gentlemen. Here is another guy I happened by:


After all the rain, the afternoon brought some shockingly blue skies and piercing sunlight. In this picture, the blue skies are behind me.


We took off in the late afternoon and drove south to Coconut Grove, one of Miami’s oldest neighborhoods. It’s a place I’d certainly heard of, but didn’t know anything about. What we saw of it was lovely.

Then drove up their Highway 1 to the bridge that takes you to Key Biscayne. Absolutely beautiful in that water, marina, yacht, skyline, mansion kind of way. We drove over the water and around an impressively opulent neighborhood. We were witness to a jaw dropping sunset. I have no interest in living in Florida, but for ten minutes, I did.

I had no power left in my camera for any of this, so no pics from me… but Peter got a couple nice ones, shot from the back seat:



Got back to South Beach and chilled for an hour or so, then decided to wander around looking for dessert. Ended up at a bakery for some great, fresh baked cookies. Took a couple of night pics… one of the hotel across the street…


And one of the night life on Ocean Drive…


All and all, it’s a pretty exciting place.