It was a splendid morning and we decided to take the Big Bus to tour Miami. It's a system of double decker buses with a guide, and you can get off and back on the next one as you choose. So we waited at the hotel for a shuttle to the nearest Big Bus Stop. Then we waited for the bus. It was lots of fun once we got on, and we enjoyed our open-air top deck ride through Little Havana and into the city center. The Bus's central connection site is right next to a shopping mall, so we found some sunblock and strolled about a bit. Then we got on the bus for the "Beach Tour" which covered the narrow Island of Miami Beach. We got off in South Beach and began walking and enjoying the sights. And oh, there are so many sights. The old Art-Deco hotels from the 20s are still in place. No air conditioning, and no elevators, so you can tell which are the real old ones because they're only 3 stories high. They are all painted in happy pastels, and the sidewalks in front of each of them is covered with the tables of little cafes.
I finally persuaded DH to stop for lunch. They served draught Corona and were offering two for one drinks. Look at the size of the glass! Neither of us finished our drinks, but they were mighty tasty! Nowhere, however, was there a mention of the price. The food was good, the service was very, very casual. A greek salad, a Caesar salad, and two beers came to sixty one dollars!
I was fairly well along into my beer when I asked the waiter if I could take a photo of his backside. He instantly turned around and presented. The other waiter had to get into the act, too.
These fellows were at the next table and wanted their photos taken as well. This was right across the street from the beach, so half of the people in the restaurants were firm, young and beautiful and wearing swimsuits with the occasional wisp of cover-up. The other half were pasty white tourists or leather-skinned geriatric locals. After lunch we walked some more. The hostess at one restaurant was wearing purple and black zebra print spandex. The hostess at the next was wearing a backless orange and white striped mini dress. The host at the next looked like Johnny Depp and wore a flowy white shirt and black eye-liner. The show continued as we walked along. And walked, and walked. Every so often we would stop somewhere and buy another bottle of water. Finally we got back on the Bus and continued the tour of Miami Beach. There are sections where the hotels and apartment and condos have water view on either side. I would be extremely nervous out there during hurricanes, but evidently, most folks just batten down the hatches and ride out the storms.
The last bus back to our stop left the center at 4:30. We got there at 4:15. The city tour took us through Coconut Grove, and Coral Gables and finally back to Little Havana. We got off at our stop, and thought, rather than call the hotel and have to wait for the shuttle to come and get us, we would just step around the corner and catch a taxi. You can not flag down a taxi in Miami. It took us about twenty frustrating minutes to figure this out. Then we tried calling the number on the side of the taxis but between connection problems, traffic noise and language difficulties, we were unsuccessful. The sun set. It was gorgeous! Then it got dark. We walked, trying to find an intersection where the Hotel shuttle might possibly be able to find us. And we walked. We walked past several funeral homes and some bars that were frankly scary. at last we came to an intersection where there was a chicken restaurant that our shuttle driver had pointed out and recommended on the way out in the morning. We stopped and ate delicious grilled chicken. Then, in the somewhat quieter environment, we called the taxi service again, made a connection, and asked them to send a cab for us. And we waited. And waited. half an hour later we called and asked for a time estimate. "Oh, 15 minutes." You said that half an hour ago. "It won't be much longer." And we waited. After waiting an hour for the taxi that never showed, we called the hotel and begged for help, and they sent a shuttle right down and rescued us. Our pedometers showed us as having walked a total of 7 1/2 miles that day. It was kind of scary, being without transportation in a strange city. We are so used to the easy independence of our cars.
I slept like a rock! Today we embark on our cruise. I am not going to post from the ship because the connection is so bad, so brace yourself for a big post next week. Love and joy to you all!