Miami: More than the cultural diversity, more than the pristine weather we had, and even more than the beaches, I was seduced by the beautiful architecture. I love buildings and I don’t have a favorite style or period. I like it all. I would love a low country style house with a wide front porch; or how about a low slung and sexy Alexander house would suit me. How about a Mediterranean with a center courtyard and broad tiled roof? But wait! What about a Prairie style bungalow? (I think the only thing I didn’t see as we wandered around Miami was a Prairie style bungalow.) Miami is the perfect place for an architecture geek, and if your favorite is Art Deco, South Beach is your mecca. You can opt for a , bus tours with a variety of routes and the multi-day pass option; or just wander the streets like we did.
“I have filled 3 Mead notebooks trying to figure out whether it was Them or Just Me.”–David Foster Wallace
I finally read David Foster Wallace’s: ”A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again”. It had been recommended to me many times but I was resisting. I couldn’t bear to read a dark and wry piece about taking a cruise which echoed my own experience and feelings about it. The artistic jealousy felt too overwhelming so I refused to read it until last Sunday.
A couple of weeks ago, we took a quick trip to Miami. my “pink slip” trip. Never mind that I issued the pink slip and had a job waiting for me. Anyhow, one day we took the wrong causeway and ended up in the cruise ship port. It was much bigger than any airport and it was almost completely deserted except for a couple of cops who gave us a confused look as we drove past them. I was astounded by the number of ships which could dock at any given time. There was one in the port, a smallish Carnival liner. I say smallish meaning it could only house, feed, sleep, and entertain three thousand of your closest friends and enemies versus the big ships that contain more. I am not a squeamish germaphob but the very idea of that many people floating around the ocean in a vessel the size of a Vegas casino resort nauseated me. And that’s mostly because the worst cold I’ve ever had in my entire life was caught on the cruise ship. Most people look at cruise ships and envision fun! gaiety! buffets! adventure! Me? I see three thousand people NOT washing their hands and rubbing their noses or eyes.
What’s really sad was until the first recommendation of Wallace’s essay I thought I was an outlier and the only person on the planet who didn’t enjoy being pampered, fed and entertained on a cruise ship. Artistic jealousy aside it was a relief to read Wallace’s account. But I bet now he would admit he did have a tiny bit of fun.
I just wish he were around to admit it.
Not exactly true in my case, I did got to rehab but no one made me and it wasn’t the kind of rehab Miss Winehouse would have benefited from. In fact, it was…well…what her Daddy wanted her to avoid.
So what in the Hell was a blogger with a demographic of well-educated 30 plus year old women doing at Hard Rock Hotel’s big crazy beach party? Taking it all in, grooving to DJ Justice (whom I had actually heard of because his deep house mixes thudded their way towards me on a daily basis when Wally was still living at home.) DJ Justice was even better live than via the boy’s Bose speakers. But it was honestly a profound relief my hosts at Hard Rock Hotel had provided a cabana behind the DJ stage and out of the undulating masses of 20 somethings geared up on alcohol, sunshine, and the thrill of it all.
And what is this Rehab? It didn’t look like the rehab I was intimately acquainted with in my previous day job as a–wait for it–Rehab nurse. (true story) Rehab is Vegas’ biggest Sunday afternoon pool party; it’s the perfect end to a wild Vegas weekend for the twenty-something set. But if this isn’t your speed, Hard Rock has four other pools that offer a completely different vibe to enjoy the hot sunshine and a refreshing beverage.
But who could blame everyone for being a little geared up (through a Prince hangover no less) from the thrill of a great weekend of nonstop gourmet food, amazing live music, luxurious surroundings, and a bucket of fun shared with genius youngsters who are just as passionate about new media and web based business as I am. Besides that, lounging by a swimming pool is my second favorite thing to do in Vegas. In a couple of days you can read about my very favorite thing to do in Vegas.
Don’t worry, it’s Work Safe content.
Dino the Sinclair dinosaur is an almost lost pop culture advertising icon so it’s always fun to see him in his natural habitat, waiting patiently in front of a gas station. I used to beg Dad to stop at Sinclair stations when we were making our big road trips across the country. I loved Dino and sometimes I would get a large green waxy soap replica of my roadside attraction.
I love this completely unintentional tableau. When I shot this picture, I was going for Dino’s winsome stare across the eastern Colorado plain, longing for Nebraska. I didn’t notice the sign in the background until I was editing photos. It changes the story of the photo. Dino is smug because he is a wild beast and isn’t someone’s pet.
Sometimes the best road side attractions are found objects.
Most of the young women at the party would have made Coco Chanel blush and tug at her pearls. I suspect many of the young women are acrobats given their abilities to stay upright in their six inch heels while consuming epic amounts of vodka. But hey, if they had worn sensible shoes and stopped at two drinks it would have been in Muncie Indiana rather than Vegas, right?
I love Miami because it’s so low-key. It’s not a proper city like New York or Los Angeles, where if you go outside you have to be properly dressed and everything. In Miami, I could walk around naked. Anna Kournakova–
Spring in my part of North America has been crap this year. I’m writing this piece on April 22 and it’s snowing outside and a blazing 25 degrees. Our trees are without buds and I’m hopeful the grass will turn green after this snow fall. It’s like I need another respite from winter spoiled princess that I am.
I’m so looking forward to a quick trip to Miami with The Girl. It’s our last real trip–barring weekend type things–until next winter. The last time I was in Miami, South Beach was already on a roll but we were driving through to get to Key West. The first time I was in Miami, South Beach was a collection of derelict forgotten buildings and Don Johnson was routinely in shoot-outs against bad guys. It was terrifically hot, creepy, deserted and a little scary. But I was enchanted by the old Deco buildings and had an inkling of a feeling this place wouldn’t always be lost and forgotten. I heard home grown gangsta rap complete with dysrhythmic and sad scratching outside a gas station around the corner from the crumbling old hotels. It’s another one of those trip moments I kick myself for not carrying a camera with me. Those kids glowing with sweat in the waning evening light, trying to make a point with two records, a hand mike, and a bucket full of anger. We didn’t make it into Little Havana, my fiance was unnerved by the seedy buildings and the angry young men: “Miami is dangerous, and anything could happen in Little Havana.”
God I hope so.
Like deep-fried conch.
Pulled pork sandwiches
Coffee that will make you sit up and holler “Good Morning Florida! Whassup?”
Dangerous stuff. Dangerous.
Remember a few weeks ago when I was blathering about being completely without travel plans? Remember? Well NOW I’m without a plan, or a reservation or a saved/bookmarked itinerary.
before a vacation to Miami…
I have a quick and busy few days in Las Vegas where I’m a guest at the Hard Rock Hotel for the weekend. Prince will be singing, swinging and swaying at The Joint Saturday night. I won’t be wearing a raspberry beret but I’ll be rocking a black cocktail dress. When I’m not dancing to the music, I’ll be working my way through the beautiful food at 35 Steaks + Martinis; Culinary Drop Out; and Pink Taco. I just hope all that delicious food doesn’t make me look like a big (er) whale in my swimmies at the Sunday afternoon Breathe Pool Party. I’m sure this afternoon sojourn in the hot sun will be a relief for my overloaded senses. I just know it will be quiet and sedate.
(I hope not)
Maybe I should turn it into Rehab for old Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers?
If I haven’t lost the ability to such things.
Did y’all know way back in the ’90s I was asked to NOT be fourth grade room mother when Wally–the oldest son–was eight? It seems the third grade Halloween party was too…I believe the word assigned to it by the teachers was “wild”… There were complaints from other parents in other classrooms. Sucked to be in the *other* class.
It was the best party like ever in the history of elementary school Halloween parties. Wally and his buds talked about it well into high school.
Is it sad this is one of my proudest mothering moments? Not the perfect costume, chocolate cake, or craft project but the rowdiest party.
*big thanks to Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas for sponsoring my weekend. I’ll be on instagram and twitter if you want to see what I’m up to next weekend. Just don’t tell my kids, I don’t want to embarrass them. Edgyjunecleaver on twitter and instagram.
“There’s a vastness here and I believe that the people who are born here breathe that vastness into their soul. They dream big dreams and think big thoughts, because there is nothing to hem them in.”
― Conrad Hilton
I’m not sure I am one for big dreams; those big Texas style dreams like Stanley Marcus (Neiman-Marcus founder) or Jett Rink (fictional character in Giant). My dreams are tiny in comparison. And fortunately, I’ve had the courage to act on them and most of them have come true. Like a new job.
And wouldn’t you know the day after I put together a budget for returning to the Andaman Islands next fall I get that new job. A sweet plum of a job that could eventually lead to a mostly location independent gig.
The highway in front of me feels like this one in the picture. Open. Clear. You can see for miles.
This doesn’t mean I will be tied to completely to a desk. Oh nonononono…I’ve got a couple of wild adventures up my sleeve.
And yes, there will be beaches.
THEHotel is one of those places in Vegas I dream of staying. It’s a smoothly elegant hotel adjacent to Mandalay Bay and The Four Seasons. The lobby’s invisible and ambiant light cast an elegant glow on the sleek contemporary furnishings that made me whisper rather than speak. I was immediately happy I opted for a dress and heels at happy hour.
Mix is on the top floor of the hotel and thankfully it doesn’t involve spinning because standing on the balcony or near the window was vertigo inducing enough without any turning nonsense. The best description I can give of the restaurant’s interior is “crystalline” as it was bathed in the glow from the sunset and the magnificent chandelier looked more like bubbles than glass. Bright but intimate. The maître de was kind enough to let me take pictures and look around the room even though the restaurant was closed for a special event. The bar was an effortless sexy room of sepia and red. The menu was a nice mix of classic cocktails and mixology sensations and my lemon drop martini was almost as good as the one’s The Girl makes for me at home. But the bar is raised super high on that one. I’m off to play in Las Vegas again next week and I’ll have to sample a few more so I have the full report.
The things I do for the blog. A cross to bear. (wink)
Athens was stupidly crowded with travelers and tourists that mid-May. I’m not sure if the city could handle more people, or if the hill would groan under the collected weight of so many tourists spewed out of their cruise ship; like school children kicked out of the house and told to go play someplace else. But it was the parthenon for krickie sake in Athens Greece. Of course it’s going to be crowded, one of the most famous sites on the planet. I don’t think I whined about the crowds while I was there. I was too busy navigating slippery marble steps, a camera, and my elderly father (he needed no minding, that was purely my agenda). The scores of people hovering around me, edging into my shots and speaking a babble of languages didn’t annoy me while I was there. The only place the hordes annoyed me were in the unexpected places: back streets and the like. And then they annoyed me when they grumbled and sighed in boredom because the simple pictures of people living their lives in the shadow of a gigantic floating hotel wasn’t fascinating enough.
It’s those moments–not the crowded moments–I become *that* traveler. The traveler with a chip on my shoulder who wishes people would just save their money and buy a new television or suite for their media room rather than taking up space on a Mykanos walkway or Athenian backstreet.