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As the company paid for one night and due to limited availability with Matt’s hotel reward points we did a bit of hotel hopping. We started at the Four Points by Sheraton (average, but a taxi ride away from the action). The next morning we moved to the Mondrian – definitely one of the nicest hotels I’ve stayed at. Matt’s workshop ran from the Wednesday morning to the Thursday afternoon. I was happy just lying at the amazing pool and working my way through the books I downloaded onto my new Kindle. Unfortunately I severely underestimated the Miami rays (much stronger than Oz) and ended up with a bit of sunstroke after only an hour in the sun
As we had a bit of the afternoon left we headed to Little Havana. On our taxi driver’s recommendation we got dropped us off at the Maximo Gomez Domino Club. It’s an enclosed outdoor park filled with lots of tables. Almost every table was surrounded by old people playing dominoes, chess and cards. Everyone was fixed on their game and you could tell they took the competition very seriously. There were a few cool galleries and some interesting murals but apart from very third shop selling cigars there wasn’t too much to see. There were no taxis to be found so we took the local bus back as far as we could and walked the rest of the way. A good way to see the neighbourhood. I was still nursing a killer headache and even though we planned to go out for dinner I ended up sleeping from 6:30pm till about 7 the next morning! Poor Matt; I wasn’t very entertaining and me two nights in a row without feeling like dinner! Definitely a first, but one way to get closer to a Miami beach body… Miami reminds me a bit of a mix between Singapore and the Gold Coast. Not as tacky as the Gold Coast and green, hot and a bit muggy like Singapore.
As we were on the mainland of Miami we headed to Coconut Grove, a suburb not too far from our hotel the next morning. On the map it looked like there was a beach so we packed our cozzies (and sunscreen) but once we started walking around we quickly realised we wouldn’t be swimming amongst the mangroves… As most of the shops were still closed we walked along the marinas and Kenneth Myers and Peacock Parks
Andrew is one of the partners at BCG and Matt’s "boss". His apartment is in a beachfront building called Jade Ocean with amazing views of Sunny Isles Beach. When we mentioned that we met one of his neighbours in the lift (glammed up, flesh bared and popping out and so loaded down with bags the doorman needed a trolley) he told us that most of his neighbours were drug lords and criminals. And he wasn’t joking… Later we had some delicious ginger and lime margaritas and dinner at J&G at the exclusive St Regis hotel. Thanks Andrew and the company expense account!
The next morning we moved hotels again – back to the Four Points. Luckily we could check into our room straight away so by 9:30 am we were on our way to explore Miami Beach. We walked the 5km to the main strip gawking at the beach, butts and boobs. The beautiful buildings came later… Miami is definitely a place where you flaunt what you’ve got, had implanted or even if you don’t have it you proudly parade it. There’s a really fun vibe and it not hard to see why it’s such a party city. As it was getting close to lunchtime we decided to stop for a quick bite before heading to the beach. The Latino influence is huge here so we had some Cuban at Puerto Sagua for lunch. Quite yummy!
As we started heading to the beach some really dark clouds moved in so we decided to grab a cocktail and wait it out
The next morning we went to the beach next to the hotel until we checked out. After storing our bags we headed back to the main beach as we weren’t flying till later that night. Our taxi driver recommended a Peruvian restaurant (he was from Peru) with surprisingly delicious food. Neither of us had had Peruvian food before and the ceviche (raw, pickled fish) was particularly good. After lunch we checked out a street market we had seen on the way. Lincoln Road Mall is an open-air mall with lots of cool shops, cafes and beautiful buildings. We walked around for a bit admiring everything before heading back to the beach to see what was happening at the Gay Pride Festival.
We strolled around for a while but it was really hot and sticky with heaps of people everywhere so we headed for the shaded grass to continue our people watching – very entertaining. We got some great photos and after seeing a few drag queens saunter past we decided to see where they were going. We must have missed a parade earlier on in the day as there were pavilion seats and lots of rubbish in the street. People were partying like it was 2am not 2 in the afternoon! We saw a drag show and when a few other drag queens walked past I followed them to get some photos. Matt got to pose with “Beyonce”. We decided to cool down at the hotel for a bit before heading to the airport.
We had a great time in Miami and wished we could have stayed longer. We might have to go back for another visit…