Miami, North America, United States

Miami Diaries

July 11, 2009

Last weekend, I left for a fun weekend in Miami, Florida all by my lonesome. Yes, that’s right … I went to Miami for a weekend on my own, to relax, have fun and spoil myself like no one else can.

I woke up bright and early Friday morning and had one of those airport limos come and pick me up for a ride “in style” to YYZ. Obviously, an old Cadillac is not as nice as a real limo but what I like is that the drivers are usually courteous, will come to your door to get the luggage,  have a clean, air conditioned car and supply you with a bottle of water and the morning paper. It’s a nice way to start the day!

Passed like a breeze through check-in and security and had a smooth and enjoyable flight via Air Canada. I heart the video on demand features where you can watch any movie or show of your choice. I started to view Watchmen but never finished as I kept falling asleep! Ended up watching an episode of Flight of the Conchords instead.

While Toronto was freezing cold, I arrived to a humid and hot as hell Miami.

Decided to stay in South Beach, at Loews Miami Beach Hotel. (Currently rated 8 of 200 on Trip Advisor.) My room was awesome, complete with a king size bed, nice balcony, a partial ocean view, iPod docking station and nice LCD TV. The hotel was nice with lots of amenities and most importantly, right on the beach. Only bad thing I could say was that the bathtub was dirty … I called and requested that it be cleaned and they took care of it that day.

Next, settled into my room, called the spa and booked myself a pedicure. The pedicure was relaxing and included an exfoliating treatment and massage. Little peeved that while trying to enjoy the pedicure, the lady kept trying to push spa products on me. I know she had to do it as part of her job, but the hotel should not to use my relaxation time as a shameless selling opportunity. Also was a bit bothered when I received my bill, they decided to include a 20% gratuity! I gave the 20% anyway as it was one of the best pedicures I’ve ever received.

I then explored the hotel pool and lounge area. Was beautiful! Little cabanas available to rent, lots of umbrellas and chairs, live music, full bar/resto service. Also, open 24 hours a day!

I then went for dinner at Emeril’s restaurant, located at the bottom of the hotel. Emeril did not disappoint me! I had a fillet mignon and one of yummiest banana cream pies I’ve had in my entire life. Service was OK, but could have been better. The main entree took 45 minutes to come out after my salad had been cleared.

Took a walk along Collins and Ocean Ave to check out the night action and then retired back to my room to rest for the night.

Next day, I started bright and early and hit the beach. Day was perfect. Hot, bright, and sunny. The water was a beautiful blue and warm. Felt a bit like getting into a bathtub. Chilled there for a while and then came back to the pool for a couple of cocktails and some lunch. Also, finally finished my book Three Cups of Tea. (Excellent and inspiring read BTW!)

Later on, got ready for dinner and had a yummy dinner at a Peruvian restaurant near the hotel called El Chalan. Had my long time favorite lomo saltado, with some sangria. It was a good and also cheap. My credit card thanked me!

Did a little shopping and got a pair of converse for $35 US for bumming around on the hood on the weekends. Think they would cost about $80 Cdn here.

Later on, I walked down Ocean Dr, plunked my towel down on the beach, and sat back to enjoy the 4th of July fireworks. I managed to place myself only a few hundred feet from the launch site! It was loud and crazy. Only lasted 15 mins but a great display.

Bought a piece of artwork from a local shop. Pretty cool … called Picasso’s Mirror … a take on his famous painting but with layers of stained glass and paint. The artist works out of Virginia.

Again, came back to my room to relax. Spent the night watching several episodes from Season 1 of Californication. (Good show, watch it folks!)

The next day, I started off by ordering room service for breakfast. Was overpriced for the basic meal I had … eggs, bacon, toast, OJ … but the service was great and it was awesome to sit out on the balcony with breakfast, coffee, and the NY Times to read.

Later on, went on a Miami city tour. Was fun, although a basic tourist trap where you get in a bus while they drive you quickly all around Miami. Discovered several parts of the city that I definitely want to explore the next time I return there. Coconut Grove … the Biltmore … the Spanish Monastery.

Best part was our stop in Little Havana. I had always wanted to go there! Explored, took lots of pics of locals playing dominoes, cool graffiti, the feel of the area itself and bought some hand rolled cigars from a funny young Cuban guy in a local shop. He was smoking a cigar, wearing a fedora trying to look the part – cheesy but cute! He said “Sorry, I don’t know much English.” and I replied and said “Sorry, I don’t know much Spanish.” We both laughed at that. (I’ve yet to smoke my cigars but plan on having a cigar smoking party on my patio soon …)

Later on, I went to a restaurant along Ocean Drive. I sat outside so I could people watch. The service was bad and so was the food … the only good part was 2 for 1 cocktails … so I had a couple of mojitos and got slightly buzzed.

Next, I went down to the beach for an evening swim which was ammmaaazzzing. The water was warm, the beach was almost empty of people and I felt like the only person there. Just swam and floated in the water as dusk settled. It was awesome just being there, under the reflection of the moon, and thinking about anything/everything. I miss the ocean whenever I am away from it … I need to have more moments like these!

I went back to the hotel pool for a while but found it was overtaken by kids who were doing their best cannon balls into the pool. Got annoyed after getting splashed for the 100th time, so I went back to my room for some more Californication.

Next day, woke up to the sad and harsh reality that I had to leave paradise and come back to cold Canada. Will spare you the details but had a hellish and stressful trip, with a land and transfer in Washington DC, before coming home to the T Dot.

All in all, it was a great, fun, relaxing trip that went by all too quickly.

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