16 Sights & Observations During 48 Hours on Miami Beach, Florida
Visiting Miami Beach reminded me what a sheltered life I live. Within 48 hours of being in Florida’s hottest destination, I saw so many out-of-my-box things I had forgotten the joy of living near Miami. Following is my short list of sights and observations (16 to be exact) during 48 hours on Miami Beach.
- Miami Beach has a groovy bike share program called DECOBIKE. For $14 a day, visitors can pick up a bike and pedal to their heart’s content.
- Parking is really expensive. The conference host hotel charged $30 a day while the city parking garage charged me $8 for Friday then $16 for Saturday.
- Ink. Lots and lots of ink. And I’m not talking about on paper but in bountiful tattoo shops on Washington Avenue.
- Pretty and fit men with perfectly shaped eyebrows walking toy-sized dogs.
- Squeal followed by a crash. Yup, I saw a a car rear-end another while stopped for a red light. Not pretty. The receiving car’s back end crumpled up like an aluminum can.
- Homeless. Sadly, I saw too many homeless people. They were sleeping in doorways of vacant stores, in the exterior stairwell of the Miami Beach Convention Center, on the lawn of the New World Center. Having just hear Mark Horvath, founder of InvisiblePeople.tv present, I felt more compassionate about their situation but still feel helpless in how to assist them. (I encourage you to visit InvisiblePeople.tv. Just do it.)
- Talking crosswalks. Several of the crosswalk signals spoke to me. They told me pretty basic things like, “WAIT” and counted down ’til it was safe to cross. The countdown reminded me of the space shuttle launch, ya know, 3…2…1…
- Big tractors grooming North Miami Beach by leveling then sifting, redepositing and flatting the sand. They carefully navigated around beach visitors and natives. And by natives, I’m referring to sea turtles in which I saw…
- Sea turtle nests. ‘Tis nesting season and the turtles are laying eggs along Florida’s coast. Miami Beach and ecotourism don’t live together in my mind but surprisingly, the two coexist.
- Without a doubt, Miami Beach is culturally diverse and rather than a Spanish influence, looks as though Italian is the dominant culture, especially if judging by the quantity of Italian eateries. It was almost like walking New York City with the pizza eateries everywhere.
- Cash changing hand on the street. I didn’t want to know why so I looked away and stepped up my pace when I saw what looked like a shady deal. Moving along now…
- Talented women. Why were they talented? They walked in 2-foot tall stiletto heels along South Beach’s streets. Okay, slight exaggeration by a few feet (and few inches) but I was amazed how many ladies were gracefully walking the streets in amazingly tall, thin heels.
- An angry man rummaging through the trash. I suspect he was hungry and discouraged when he began throwing trash from a can and couldn’t find what he was looking for. He threw the trash into the streets and yelled.
- In addition to walking, driving cars and riding bicycles, other modes of transportation included skateboards, Segways, roller blades and what looked like a wide, four-wheeling skateboard.
- One of the most adorable sights was a man dressed in a dark suit, crisp white shirt and tall black hat. He had long, wavy gray hair and beard. Both his hands held tightly to hands of two little boys. One of the boys held the hand of a third boy. They wore dark slacks and white button down shirts. Each little boy wore a black yamaka atop their head. Such a sweet sight.
- And finally, I saw the paparazzi staking out Lindsay Lohan’s Plum magazine photo shoot on the rooftop of the Raleigh Hotel. It was one photographer with a mega-lens and at the time, I didn’t realize what he was doing but suspected there was a celebrity. When I walked by him I said, “I suppose you’re not birdwatching.” He smirked.
Can’t wait to get back to Miami Beach to discover more about the city.