Quite different from yesterday. I woke up today to the pouring sheets of rain that the forecasters are calling the outer bands of Gustav. It looks like the beach plans are put on hold for a bit. Here's what I saw:
While looking out the window this morning I felt inspired by the strange dichotomy that is downtown Miami. In the morning it's very serene - quiet, lush and green before the throngs of cars come into the city and I'm really lucky to have this view and this small area of quiet among the hustle and bustle of downtown Miami:
I saw this pickup truck driving down Collins and saw the McCain sticker and thought, how typical.... But low and behold, when I got a bit closer, I saw the truth in its message and now see that not all pickups are the same:
305 made it to the Runner's Up category for the week of August 10th in Rick's South Florida Daily Blog! Glad you liked the story Rick, and hopefully, we'll be in the top spot some day :) Here's a blurb from the site:
Runners Ups: I love reading posts where you know the blogger was saying to themselves, "I can't wait to get home to blog this." I got that feeling with 305's well-photographed post called Park Adventures in South Florida where she documented a trip to John D. MacArthur Beach State Park in Palm Beach County.
Last night, I hit up the Beach and wandered to Lincoln, Washington and made a stop at the Shelborne for some karaoke delights. The surprise of the night was when Alonzo Mourning walked in and hung out in the back listening to the throngs of people sing along to I Want it that Way, Gold Digger and Wanted Dead or Alive. We first stopped at Hofbräu München Bierhall, that wacky restaurant/German bar up towards Lenox and then headed to Jazid on Washington which had an unusually high cover (booo) and then instead of paying, headed straight for karaoke entertainment. On the way there, in front of Cameo, there were two HUGE guys dressed in head to toe white suits and everyone was taking their picture but I couldn't get a good angle. Plus didn't know who they were nor did I really care. But all in all it was a fun night wandering the streets of the Beach on a balmy Saturday night. Here are a couple of pics:
At the German Beer Hall - they have liters of beer (see below) and "boots" of beer which are ENORMOUS:
I will never understand why they cannot put lights on the bridges. As far as I know, being blinded on the 7 mile bridge from some jackass who installed halogen lights on his truck is not fun for anyone.
I went this morning to the airport and was pleasantly surprised at what you can do while you are waiting for someone to leave. Usually when I travel to MIA,
I am either in a hurry to get to my gate or am picking someone up outside, so today due to the storm, I thought it would be a good idea if I accompanied my guest in to check on the status of his flight. While there, we visited Cafe Versailles, watched the dudes at the Nokia store throw a dance party and found a new pashmina in one of the gift shops. They had great Miami shirts too - not touristy at all. I almost got one but already had my eye on the pashmina. I've found others there too coming back from flights. Who knew the airport had all this and more?
Other airport pashminas:
I hear it's made vast improvements and looks like it is continuing in that direction. There's a blog on Miami and transportation (Transit Miami), so my next question is when are they going to (if they are) connect the metrorail to the airport? It can't be completely impossible.
The Venetian Pool was the last leg of our journey through the Gables. Unfortunately we didn't have bathing suits on so we couldn't swim but I am dying to go back and spend an entire day there. It's amazing!
After the ruins we cruised around a little, hit up a yard sale and then headed over towards the Biltmore (my favorite hotel in Miami, hands-down, no questions asked.)
And for those of you who don't know, Miami is actually pretty religious. You can find all the churches here, from the Hare Krishna church in the grove, Scientologists in the Gables, and tons and tons of Catholic churches. El Hombre went to the Church of the Little Flower from the time he was young, and this is my first time being there. Its beautiful and it reminds me of the types of churches you see in Italy.
The fountain you see before you get to the Biltmore, Coral Gables Congregational, Church of the Little Flower and the Venetian Pools.
This Saturday, El Hombre and I were on the search for something to do, when I spotted a tower. I made him pull the car over and find said tower (which, considering he grew up in the Gables, wasn't difficult.)
This lead us on an adventure through the Gables, looking at all sorts of landmarks.
So, after tennis this morning, we went to my friend's birthday/citizenship party/BBQ at Crandon and it was a blast. Being one of the few non-Spanish speaking people there but welcomed like I was one, it was a great cultural experience. As always, there was too much food and too many drinks and an impromptu game of volleyball with some dudes who had been drinking out in the sun for too long, but it was a fine ol' time until the bands of Fay came sweeping through to dump buckets on us. But by then it was time to vamos anyway. Here are some photos - check out the skyline pics from earlier in the day. Totally disappeared in the rain:
Today I went with a group of people to China Grill to take advantage of their Miami Spice menu, and I have to say I was somewhat disappointed. Having lived on Miami Beach for 3 years, I have heard many rave about China Grill, but for the price you pay, the service is sub-par. The waiter didn't serve drinks on the right side (as a result one of my friends spilled his $14 dollar drink, and got a smart-assed comment from the waitress.) The snarky, "don't you want to order something from the regular menu?" comments also left something to be desired. Our appetizers were good, probably the best part of the meal, the entrees were also good, but definitely a step down, and the desserts were somewhat forgettable.
All in all? The food was good but I probably won't go back.
This morning in the 90 degree heat, I went to play tennis at the Crandon Tennis Center for the first time and it was awesome! It's $3 to play per hour on the hard courts (they are purple and adorable) and are really REALLY nice courts. Plus it's fun to play where all of those "other" tennis players have played - if you've been to the Sony Ericsson you know who I am talking about). We made it out right before the clouds of doom from Tropical Storm Fay were coming ashore. Here are some photos: