I have been to Miami a few times over the years but nothing ever beats the initial 24 hours of madness that greets you if you look around on your first visit. Here’s a recap of what I saw and experienced during my first few hours in Miami.
You don’t have to spend long in South Beach to realise there are some pretty different characters on the streets.
Tired and dazed with a bit of jetlag I spent my first evening wandering around just to stay awake. A random encounter with a Frenchman who used to live in my home town got me a free slice of key lime pie and the frozen cocktails after dinner certainly went down far too easy for someone who was jetlagged and tired. On a side note I always find a little alcohol sets me up for a great night’s sleep after a long flight!
South Beach is a noisy place so you normally hear a bit of commotion most nights. I didn’t expect however to see an ageing lady in her 80s embroiled in some streets of rage action. After slowly approaching I realised either I had far too many cocktails trying to trade off for a decent nights sleep or this woman was completely crazy. Her altercation seemed to be taking place with the reflection of herself in a shop window. Strange as it may seem the reflection was beating her hands down!
I expected to see more crazy stuff like this whilst roaming the streets of Miami, the further south you head in Florida the more eccentric the people seem to get.
During the next 24 hours my expectation was certainly met. The odd sight was a guy asleep, in the middle of the day, at the very swish Lincoln Road Mall. Being asleep you say – no that isn’t weird but the outfit he was wearing was. He was dressed head to toe in a Carnevale di Venezia costume complete with mask.
I really wanted to wake him and find out what kind of party he’d been to the night before!
I also saw a family on the beach with the craziest kids ever – I thought they were high. Then I realised actually no their idiotic parents had actually been letting them drink powerade all day. Note to self: energy drinks + small children = bad idea
The day followed with a guy called Mark NuYork rapping to me on the street – I then actually bought his CD for $5 – I wish I had got a video but it turns out he’s been doing this for years and there plenty of videos of him on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEOwxr0BDUw&feature=related
During the evening I saw a gentleman in a very posh restaurant having a romantic dinner for two, nothing odd about that, no not really accept his date was a parrot. After hello and a few other token words there must have been some awkward silences during that meal.
A guy cycled by at almost the same time with a ring tailed lemur (in a nappy!) sat on his shoulder. He attracted a lot of attention and seemed to love people taking his pictures. The lemur that is not the guy he just cycled along as normal.
The evening continued with a chap lighting and smoking a cigarette with his feet, another person painting pictures with their nose and a bloke who had managed to grow his dreadlocks to his feet; oh and of course the iguana who walked around wearing a pair of Raybans.
I could literally go on and I honestly saw all of this within 24 hours of touching down at Miami Airport.
Miami and in particular South Beach is the ultimate people watchers paradise – I left the city for the day to get away from the craziness although gave in and immersed myself back in to the weirdness of Florida. I visited a place called Coral Castle, built with limestone formed from coral, hence the name. The structure was made by a Latvian who supposedly built it single handedly using magnetism and supernatural forces. Apparently the only tool he used was something he referred to as a perpetual motion holder?
The Castle is actually very impressive and there is an 8 ton gate which you can literally open with the gentle push of your hand – impressive supernatural engineering indeed!
If you’ve been to Florida and have done all the usual theme park style attractions then I suggest immersing yourself in the weird and wonderful. I loved it; the people put a smile on my face every day.
The craziest people of all though? Well that goes to the Kardashian fans who buy a $10 bottle of water with a print of their faces from their Dash shop on Collins Avenue.