My Life as a Traveler

Miami Spice

What a difference a day makes! After a night full of thunder and lightning, we wake up to a gorgeous sunrise over the ocean. From our balcony we can see the beach, the pool and hot tub surrounded by palm trees, and the boardwalk that goes all the way to South Beach. There’s a pigeon on my balcony that looks like a chicken. I don’t know why, but it made me smile.

This is a real treat for us. Usually, when we come to Miami, George likes to stay near the airport, close to the Airbus offices. I will either rent a car or take the bus to wherever we want to go, which is kind of a hassle if we want to go to the beach. Plus, there’s usually not a lot of fun action out in the airport neighborhood — well, not the kind of action that I’m interested in, anyway.  A couple of trips ago, Morgan got some sand in his eye that would not come out, so I took him to the hospital closest to our airport hotel. It took about half an hour for them to find a person who spoke English who could admit us. The girl who checked us in had a cheat sheet of Spanish translations to the English questions of name, address, insurance, etc. It was quite a revelation to go to a hospital in my own country and not have people there speaking English.

However, this time the Gods smiled upon us and I somehow persuaded George to stay on Miami Beach at the Sheraton Four Points, 43rd and Collins. Our hotel was built in the 30’s and was the place to stay in the 40’s and 50’s. The architecture is MiMo (Miami Modern). We’re just a couple of doors down from the newly renovated Fontainebleau Hotel, featured in James Bond’s Goldfinger, and where Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack used to hang out. This area kind of went to Hades in a handbasket in the 70’s and 80’s but is coming back. I like it. It’s not all flashy like South Beach, there are more families here, and it’s quiet.

Miami is a great food town. I love the diversity. You can find Kosher delis next to Cuban bodegas, next to Emeril’s. And we’re in luck this week. It’s Miami Spice. Many of the finest restaurants in town are offering special 3-course menus this week, showing off their most creative dishes. Lunch is $22 per person, but it’s a good deal because in these places, that’s how much the entree alone is. Yes, even at lunch. Since George doesn’t like to eat late, I trot Morgan down to 30th to the Palms Hotel, another old beauty recently renovated.

We are seated on the veranda – we can see the pool through the palm leaves. Paris Hilton (or her body double) came in behind us and had some salad with her Blackberry. Two French people who couldn’t speak much English sat at the next table. There’s a parrot or two somewhere beyond the palms; I can hear them. I have flower leaves for salad, delicious Cuban spiced steak on grilled veggies, and coconut tapioca pudding with mango sorbet and a long filo-dough cookie. It rains, hard, but we are protected. Definitely a fine lunch.

The other great thing about the Sheraton Four Points is that it’s right down the street from Subway. Since we all had big lunches, it was a no-brainer to hop over to Subway and snag some sandwiches for the guys and a salad for me. For all the eating I did this week, I do not think I’m gaining any weight because of the light fare for dinner. Hmm… maybe I should think about implementing a big lunch, salad for dinner program at home.

We’re hit by another shower on the way back to the hotel, but no worries, it’s all good.

Perhaps tomorrow we’ll get into the water by choice, not by rain.

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