We arrived at our hostel around 9am after a yukky 2am flight. Our plan was to sleep for a while, but the sun was shining and we only had a few days in this crazy city so instead we ventured out for some food and sight seeing! Miami, namely South Beach is every American Cliche you can imagine, mixed in with a whole lot of Spanish. In fact, we were shocked at how much Spanish is spoken in Miami, there was more than one occasion where our entire transactions were spoken in Spanish rather than English (thank goodness we had a few months of practice behind us!)
. Our morning was spent cruising the streets, looking at all the shops (very Miami-Esq, loads of diamantes', glitter and mesh), staring at the huge slices of pizza in every flavour under the sun and walking in the perfect white sands of the crystal clear (and freezing cold) beach! We made our way back to the hostel for some (free) lunch, before Jenna went to Espaniola Street to Contesta Rock Hair (an awesome Italian created hair salon that offered beer as well as coffee and water) to get a haircut suitable for a weekend in South Beach!!
That night we signed up for the typical hostel club night, which promised us VIP entry into one of the 'coolest' clubs in Miami, with Friday's club being Cameo. We hung around the hostel, meeting some new crew and eating another complimentary dinner. After dinner we went for a stroll on Miami Beach Drive, checking out all the awesome restaurants and bars along the beach front. We stopped for a drink at a huge open air bar that even had a pool, then treated ourselves to a huge 'fishbowl' cocktail at one of the many restaurants along the street. As it was Friday night, the streets were buzzing, the window shopping was awesome, people watching was hilarious (how many Sugar Daddy's can there possibly be!?) and the crazy cars just never stopped!! On the way back to the hostel, we wanted to get some red bull and vodka from the supermarket as we were pretty tired, not surprisingly the red bull cans were 1L (they super size everything)
! Back at the hostel there were about 40 people on the list to go clubbing so the common room was buzzing! The hostel has an awesome location (corner of Washington and 9th) so we all walked down the road to the club (all 40+ people)! A few of us nipped into an Irish pub on the way for a quick drink before we were hit with Miami high night club prices!! The club was awesome, with two main rooms and an upstairs, we met so many people and had a great night - we knew most people were staying for the whole weekend too so it was a great way to meet people!
Saturday morning we rose bright and early ready for a day of shopping. We ran down to the beach for a quick dip in the ocean before heading to the local diner for a scrumy full American breakfast. The vanilla malt milkshake was amazing and Steve loved the free coffee top-ups! The meals were typical except that everything came with eggs, even the pancakes! It was an awesome experience and one we will do again when we come back!! We walked down to the Lincoln Road mall where we enjoyed an afternoon wandering around the shops, in awe at how cheap the shopping is in comparison to Australian (and everywhere really). Steve got some awesome surf gear and Jenna bought a pair of Chloe sunglasses for $200 (down from $400)!
Saturday evening came around and we had been recommended by more than one American to head to Joe's Stone Crab, a famous restaurant chain with the original in South Beach (it's the oldest restaurant in Miami!)
. We arrived and we ushered into this beautiful old dark wood bar, packed with people enjoying drinks, nibbles and even desserts. We waited in line for a few moments and registered with the Maitre d' (Joe's doesn't take bookings) before heading back into the bar and ordering some yummy wine (the first decent wine we had drank since Chile!!). An hour or so later, our names were called and we were escorted into the dining room which was HUGE (we later learned that they can cover over 1000 tables a night)! The service was impeccable and the food was big, yum and delicious (even involving the waiter putting on our bibs), we would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone visiting Miami and will take my parents there when we meet up with them in Miami in April! When we got back to the hostel, there were over 50 names on the hostel list to go clubbing, the club of choice on the Saturday was Mansion, a world famous club which was rated one of the best in the world. All the people we had met on the previous night were going, so we decided to join the group. We were so glad we did, as the club was awesome! When you walked in there was a roped off VIP area selling $700+ bottles of spirit and god knows how much champagne. The DJ Arena was amazing, with crazy Lazar shows and go-go dancers. The back room was just as fun and we all spent the entire night on the dance floor!! Another awesome night in Miami!!
Sunday morning meant a late brunch on Lincoln Road Mall, which is lined with the best people watching cafes and restaurants ever
! We settled in with a bloody Mary and champagne and spent the morning watching the well / over dressed people and their huge dogs (it was like retrievers on steroids) cruise the streets! After this we had a wander down Colins looking at all the famous hotels and checked out Miami Ink (pity the guy working there was a real looser). That night we went for dinner at Sushi Samba, another restaurant recommended to us. It was a really awesome restaurant / bar and the sushi was incredible!
Today is our our final day in Miami and the USA (for now)! The sun is still shining but it was a bit colder so we went for one last walk on the beach then hit the local Irish Pub to watch an American Football match, stare at the hilarious rich people and drool over the cars one last time! It's goodbye Miami for now, but we will be back!!!!
Now in our previous entry, we stated how sad we were to leave Nicaragua, which of course we were. It also meant the end of our Latin America adventures (for now anyway) so it was a momentous occasion for us. On the other hand, arriving at Miami was like a breath of fresh air for us....our first English speaking country in months!! The airport was clean and safe, as was the train station and taxi rank! We didn't once have somebody try to grab my bag and carry it to an unmarked car claiming to be a taxi and we didn't have anybody eye-ing our bags like they were made of gold, this lifted a HUGE weight off our shoulders and we were excited - We're in Miami baby!!!