I awake with the sun rising over The Atlantic, a brilliant pink, and steal a few more minutes of slumber. I’m up early today to head to Miami and picking up the Tri-rail double decker train, I set off on my long journey. Will Smith is on my iPod singing about South Beach as we set off, and I’m in the zone.We ride parallel all the way along the highway swooping past Delray and Fort Lauderdale onwards into the heart of Dade County.
I disembark and Security Officer Norris (Dave not Chuck) assists me with my rail transfer to the bus. Safely on the S route, we head over the Trooper highway bridge passing gigantic cruise liners, and half an hour later the bus drops me off on Washington Avenue.
The buildings here in Miami are classically 1930’s Art Deco but simultaneously stir up a Latin American feel with burnt yellow and terracotta hues. As I get nearer the beach front, Hotel names are announced in neon lights and cool whites and mint greens colour the early 40’s diner style venues.
Travel has made me ravenous so I head to Ocean Drive and stop by the busy News Room Cafe to acquire Bacon, eggs, pancakes AND Prosecco. I sit, satiated, and observe my surroundings.
People watching, and it’s clear to see that Miami Beach has a certain type of clientele-one whose sizeable assets leave me feeling somewhat inadequate. Everyone is here to party and patrons think nothing of parading around in stilettos with their pert derrières out before midday.
Observations made, I head off the end of Ocean, turning left past vacation clubs where valet parking takes care of the electric red and yellow classic convertibles stopping by.
Continuing onto Lincoln Road Mall, a famous shopping venue, I’m not impressed by the outdoor cafes and mixture of trashy and classy stores that all but reminds me of the TCR end of Oxford Street, but with more sunshine.
A Middle aged man, not a hair on his overweight body, wheels his bike down the street in a flesh coloured banana hammock offending my eyes.
As the blistering afternoon rays beat down I venture back out of the avenues to the shore onto the infamous South Beach. It’s extremely beautiful and brightly painted life guard huts litter the sand along with sun loungers and umbrellas. Holiday makers are frolicking in the water, posing in groups and snapping photos as I walk along to Nikki Beach-a chic Miami hotspot for pool parties (and overpriced beverages).
The heat is like a dead weight on me and there’s no shade or breeze here which is making me decidedly cranky. For the first time since I’ve been away, I’m feeling utterly alone and a tad out of my depth. Perhaps i’d feel differently if I was here with my girls (or soon to be American husband) but there’s no one waiting to be my new friend in South Beach. It’s vapid, vacuous and geared up for tourists-not what I wanted at all.
Calling time on my day here in Miami, I head the three hours back up the coast to the safe and familiar arms of Singer Island. Although presented as wildly exotic, and made famous by cult classic movies, Miami is a little too insipid for me.
Whilst I can at least claim to have visited; I don’t think I’ll be back Miami-no matter what Will wants me to think-I won’t wind up stayin’.