Tealess in Miami

Community Highlights North America Tealess in Miami

I really hadn’t appreciated just how big Miami is, approaching half a million people live in the city, but the metropolitan area of Miami has a population of over 6 million, and it seems to be growing at a rapid rate, with many large institutions situated here, including banking, tech and commerce, the skyline is now the third biggest in the USA after New York & Chicago.

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There are said to be only two seasons in Miami, sunshine and hurricanes, although Miami itself hasn’t been hit by a hurricane since 1964 apparently when Hurricane Cleo hit the city. A greater problem for Miami, particularly in the eighties was when Miami became the murder capital of the States due to drug wars between rival factions, in one year in Miami in that decade there were nearly 2 murders a day as the authorities fought to keep control, more to follow.

A more immediate problem that has still to be resolved is the ongoing absence of a proper cup of tea in Miami, those of you who know Diane well will have realised that she doesn’t function too well first thing in the morning until she has had at least two cups of tea, and this generally continues through most of the day and sometimes into the night, so when we had breakfast on our first morning here Diane ordered a “Lipton’s Tea” to go with her cooked breakfast, unfortunately this is a Lipton’s Tea Miami style! Diane made do with my coffee whilst I drank the iced tea - well it was Valentine’s Day!
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Those more astute and seasoned travellers might be asking why Diane didn’t bring some tea bags with her from the UK, the answer is that she did, but unfortunately our hotel room doesn’t have a kettle, only a coffee machine ….. to be continued.

After breakfast we then caught an open top bus in order to do a tour of the city, we are staying on Miami Beach which is actually an island separate from the actual city of Miami. The architecture of Miami Beach is heavily influenced by the Art Deco period, with a number of buildings and hotels built in the very unique style, a number of the hotels were in danger of being pulled down and rebuilt in a more modern style before local people took control, the result now is the outer shells of the Hotels are being retained whilst the insides are being completely renovated, very costly but worth it when you see the finished results of those buildings that have been renovated.
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Probably the most famous hotel on Miami Beach is the Fontainebleau, there are three separate parts to the Fontainebleau, the old section has appeared in a number of movies, it was the backdrop for where James Bond first makes his acquaintance with Goldfinger in the film of the same name. The tour took us over the causeway from Miami Beach through to the city of Miami itself. As previously mentioned there is so much development going on around the city and sky scrapers emerging in a number of locations as well as a new suspension bridge which is due to be finished in a couple of years time, but it also became clear that much redevelopment has taken place throughout the city over the years transforming run down areas into places that feel vibrant and alive, also it is very evident that there is huge emphasis on art and culture in the city.

As you may of may not be aware there is a large Cuban community living in Miami, originally in the fifties there were only 20,000 Cubans living in Miami until Castro seized power in 1958, then large numbers began leaving for the States and in particular Miami, initially it was mainly the educated middle classes who left Cuba, hoping to return when Castro was deposed, unfortunately for them Castro remained in power until 2008. The number of Cubans leaving for Miami greatly increased with eventually some 700,000 settling in an area of Miami which is now called “Little Havana”.

We left the bus tour for a while at an area called the Bayside where there are a number of restaurants, boat trips and a ferris wheel which we rode to afford a spectacular view of the port and surrounding area.
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Miami is one of the busiest ports in the world for cruise liners, on the day we left Miami I counted 6 massive cruise ships moored in the harbour.

We resisted the temptation to go back to the diner where I drank the iced tea for breakfast the next day and instead made do with a subway, the lady who served us I suspect will win the award for being the most miserable person we will encounter on our three week trip! Having said that our Subway’s were very tasty, but still no tea!! We then caught the bus again down to the Bayside area where we took a boat trip around Biscayne Bay to see the homes of the rich and famous. Biscayne Bay is a huge lagoon that stretches for some 35 miles, 90% of the islands in the bay are man made, or should I say person made. The main islands around Miami are called Star, Hibiscus & Palm Islands. On the way to view the islands we were afforded a spectacular view of the Miami skyline, the Beckham’s have a $2 million apartment in this block, you have to be seriously rich to be able to afford a home on one the Islands though.
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A seriously rich chap used to frequent the rather plain looking white and blue apartments in the second picture, he was so rich that he made the Forbes Rich List for seven years, and in 1989 he was listed as the seventh richest man in the world, his name, well remember I mentioned that Miami was the murder capital of the States back in the 80’s, this gent played a large part in creating such carnage, his name, none other than Pablo Escobar.
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Travelling around the bay we saw some of the most amazing properties, which cost tens of millions dollars just to buy a plot - no end of celebrities have homes on these islands, Gloria Estefan, Shaq O’Neal, Julio Iglesias, Shakira to name but a few, and also the Beckhams!! Yes not content with an amazing apartment they also have an incredible house complete with large boat moored up outside, they can also count on Sylvester Stallone as being one of their near neighbours!
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However, the most spectacular property in my opinion was the following home, owned by a chap called Philip Frost. Who you might say? Philip Frost is billionaire who made his fortune in the pharmaceutical industry, his greatest success is one that many millions of men, and women (allegedly) are eternally grateful for him developing - its name Viagra!!
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Having eaten at the hotel the previous night we ate a premises called “Burgermeister” for our last night in Miami, seriously good burgers!!
The next morning we packed, had breakfast in a Cuban diner, great coffee but still no tea, and caught a connection to the airport to pick up our hire car, not a Ford Mustang but an equally impressive beast in the shape of a Chevrolet Camaro and then off set for our drive down to Key West.
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This featured blog entry was written by Rortours from the blog Rortours.
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By Rortours

Posted Sun, Feb 18, 2024 | Comments