Tattoos to Transvestites and everything in between.
28.09.2011 37 °C
One of the nicest things about having lots of time to travel is that your first impressions of a place can be replaced over time as you slip into the vibe and get used to the people and the pace of life. My first impression of South Beach, Miami was one of slight dread as the street scene was pretty seedy. It is obvious that South Beach is a party town and with that comes all the flotsam of life such as the usual drugs, alcohol and prostitution. The USA has always been a place that for me represents such massive differences in wealth and class, but normally they are clearly segregated. In most cities there are definite lines between a nice part of town and the ghettos and a traveller could quite easily pass through the USA without seeing any real rough neighbourhoods, however this is where South Beach seems to be different.The lines seem to blur and although luxury cars and beautiful people with super yachts and ridiculously big houses seem to be everywhere there also is the very poor that seem to be all a part of this crazy place. The restaurants and bars pump out house music from 11am and feature anything from dancing barmaids on bars to full drag queen shows ( Pricilla Style) up and down the footpath. The bars only seem to be outnumbered by the tattoo parlours. If you want ink, South Beach is the place for you. Although we had no trouble wandering the restaurant strip the place definitely has a dangerous edge. Being offered anything on the street is fairly common for the boys now and believe it or not they reckon the dealers are always polite…. Nice guys? The architecture is what South Beach is known for and for a couple of old antiques like Pat and I it was really well worth seeing. The style is Art Deco with a lot of curves and steel, marble and neon. The buildings are mostly preserved and are the restaurants,hotels and bars . After a while we settled into the swing of things and moved through the neighbourhood a little more and started to find the little places that can make a stay nice. We just about had a standing order with Tony the Italian for pizza and Pasta. I felt like a local when he started shaking my hand when I’d enter the shop. Although we kind of got used to the place we wanted out of there, it was like Surfers Paradise on steroids. We hired a car for the next leg and headed four hours up the coast to Cocoa Beach.
Cocoa Beach is renowned for its small but surfable waves ( home beach to Kelly Slater World champion). We were desperate to have some space and some home cooked food. We rented a unit right on the beach and headed straight for the first supermarket we could find. First night massive steaks and veg. Cocoa Beach was more what we were used to, a bit like a coastal town at home. We spent the week beachcombing and doing a bit of surfing and eating really well.
The last port of call for us was Ft. Lauderdale. It is a nice spot to spend another few days on the beach and ogle at the super yachts. Although there seems to be as much affluence here as in Miami, the lines are less blurred. The drug dealers wear suits. We were lucky to get a great deal in a nice hotel right on the beach with a great view.
Finally we are ready to move on and a flight to Colombia is next on the agenda. Our time in the US was ok but really lacked the stimulation that we had been used to up to that point. We are all really excited about South America and everything it has to offer. Andiamo