Rohit's Realm

// / archive / 2006 / 08 / 28 / mission-to-miami

August 28, 2006

Mission to Miami

My week-long stint in the Sunshine State, or Florida as it is referred to by those not enamored by its rather dubious and suspect moniker, ended today as my flight left Miami International Airport a little over a day before Ernesto is scheduled to hammer south Florida, and landed at SFO several hours later. Stepping off the airplane into the mild and beautiful San Francisco evening, and for the first time in a long time, not feeling the intense moisture in the air like a punch in the stomach, I could not help but be happy to be returning to California. Not that my trip to Florida wasn't fun—it was—but there's only so much one can take of the tropics.

The trip had started a week earlier, with an afternoon flight that got into Orlando, Fla., at 10 p.m. EDT. The next few days were a blur of training, socializing, and minimal sleep, which I won't dwell on, mostly because I only left the conference center we were staying at once in the entire week. On Friday afternoon, we—by that, I mean, several co-workers and I—left for Miami, Fla., in a couple rented cars. Although we were in the so-called Sunshine State, it rained for almost the entire trip, making a normally 3.5 hour drive into a nearly 5 hour dash through blinding rain and wind. It certainly didn't help that all our luggage took up more space than anticipated and seating was (charitably) a bit tight.

We arrived at our hotel (and I use that term loosely) for the weekend just as the hints of the dusk were appearing in the mostly clear Miami sky. Although it was technically a hotel we were staying at, I would probably describe it more as a yuppie hostel. With its barely functional lighting and dark, modernist decor, the hotel was going for a W look and not quite pulling it off (by not quite, what I mean is not at all). With the questionable tile floor, the doors that did not open or close without shoulder intervention, and the suspect hygiene, I was glad I ended up only spending about 15 hours of my 3 days in South Beach there. At $65 a night, I won't complaining (too much) though.

The first night, we had dinner at an Irish Pub on Ocean Blvd., which is sort of like the tourist haven of South Beach, and then headed to the Hotel Delano. The outdoor bar, mattress-seating, and dim lighting complemented its posh and clearly tourist clientele well. The night ended with a failed attempt to go to The Mansion, a popular nightclub, which despite its empty dance floors at 3 a.m., still wanted $30 in cover, and then some of the best late night pizza I've had in a while at an unknown place.

The second day was spent almost exclusively at the beach. Though warm and relatively clear, the water in Miami is brutally salty and left my eyes burning from the exposure. Also, for reasons that are beyond my understanding, I ended up getting sunburned despite putting on layers of SPF 45 sunscreen, on possibly the most painful place--my face. Perhaps my sunscreen's claim of waterproofness was simply a hoax.

That night, we ate at the News Cafe and then headed to Opium, another popular club in Miami Beach. The club was pretty cool, with two levels and relatively good dance (more euro-pop and less house, though, which was disappointing) and hip hop music. The night again closed with that amazing pizza from the place whose name I cannot remember.

Overall, my trip to Florida, and especially Miami, was a lot of fun, if not relaxing. It actually got my mind off things at home and while I did not get all that much rest, the opportunity to avoid all the stressful things in my life for a week was much appreciated. As for Miami, I'd say that my expectations for it based on TV and movies were met with few exceptions. It seems the city is cursed to never leave its Miami Vice fame, combining Los Angeles materialism, NYC expenses, and 1980s hedonism for a unique feel that is simultaneously tacky and awesome. With 90° F 90% relative humidity weather, $14 drinks, and mandatory 20% gratuities at most spots, it's a place that's good to go for a weekend, but beyond that I wouldn't waste the money.

As always, pictures are available in my Gallery, for those who have access.


rohit, you would probably be the least succesful tourism guide writer ever.
and thats why i love it!

"As always, pictures are available in my Gallery."
LIES!! I see no album for Miami.

I think I know the pizza place you went to. I mean, I don't know the name, but I've had late-night pizza somewhere around Mansion that was delicious.

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