We arrived at the historic Park Central Hotel in Miami Beach on Christmas Eve after driving through the Everglades twice. That’s right. Twice. Lack of direction and repetitive scenery led us back the way we came after stopping at a gas station, adding an extra hour and a half to out trip from Tampa Bay.
South Beach was everything I’d ever seen or heard of in movies or from friends. Clean, white and neon.
Nightfall brought HUGE fruity cocktails and bilingual servers begging us to come eat at their restaurant. I was dressed to the nines so they sat us at the entrance. The sidewalk was filled with dining tables and humming conversation. I felt like I was back in Playa del Carmen where hospitality reins supreme. We gave huge deserving tips all on account of the service and holiday. We ran into “South Beach Santa” on the sidewalk and he handed my son a wrapped 5-pack of Hot Wheels. Score.
The next morning was Christmas. I convinced my son that Santa didn’t need a chimney to slide down to deliver presents. Santa had clearly come through the front door while we were sleeping. Upon opening his red rocket ship, he joyfully bounced on the bed in front of the window that exhibited a cloudy sky. A flag whipped wildly in the distance.
Next up: Breakfast and the exploration of South Beach.
After exploring South Beach all day, we dined on the sidewalk and chatted with our waitress, brushing up on our Spanish, before heading to the park across the street. I realized it was WAY cheaper to drink out of the mini bar in our room so I raided the fridge and buzzed to the beach barefoot.
The weather was cool and windy. I sprung back when my foot hit the frigid water. Others didn’t let the unusual weather stop them from thrashing in the ocean. The sun occasionally peak out from behind the massive fluff of clouds providing spurts of warmth.
On the way out of South Beach we drove through Little Havana, toward downtown Miami. Miami reminded me of Los Angeles. I mean, exactly like L.A. Downtown donned lanky cranes that made up the city skyline and half built high rises’s stood like stumps. I stopped to photograph the oldest bar in the city, Tobacco Road. It opened in November 1912, and is still in business. The upstairs, now a live music venue, was used as a speakeasy during Prohibition.
Adios South Beach. Until we meet again.