Today we had a much needed sleep in and headed out after midday to run some errands before making for Miami Beach. From what we have seen of Miami itself it’s a noisy, busy and fairly dirty city. Miami Beach on the other hand is much nicer. There is plenty of posing along Ocean Drive in the bars and restaurants which runs alongside South Beach. We parked the car and went for a brief wander in the heat of the day, along Ocean Drive and across to the beach. The beach was busy as expected but to be honest not that appealing for us. The sand is dirty and although the ocean looked tempting we knew we were going to far more beautiful places in the near future. This is very much a city beach, that is a beach that gets packed on weekends and holidays.
Along Ocean Drive there are quite a few art deco buildings with the distinctive curves, lines and a range of pastel colours. It’s difficult to tell which are original and which have been built recently to look that way. Either way it’s a nice change to the large office and apartment blocks of Miami itself.
After an ice-cream to cool down we headed back to the car and drove back to our motel via North Beach. The North Beach area seems like a more pleasant area than South Beach with a more liveable feel albeit an expensive one. It kind of reminded us of around St. Kilda in Melbourne. There are some impressive houses here backing onto the water (Indian Creek) with large boats. Where South Beach would be St. Kilda, North Beach might be Balaclava (that will only mean something to Melbournians). Once back at the motel we lazed in front of the TV and had a snack dinner using up some food we had bought on the way.
I have to make a note of the drivers in Miami being the most inconsiderate we have come across in the United States. It seems as though indicators here are unheard of and when it comes to being considerate to your fellow driver, you’re on your own! For a country to obsessed with safety when you get on the roads it really is surprising the attitudes on the drivers. Another thing, when it comes to lanes on motorways and highways, they mean nothing. The usual standard of going in a lane depending upon your speed is thrown out the window and you get cars weaving in and out of traffic, trucks in the ‘fast’ lane and at times three cars in a row taking going the same speed acting like a rolling roadblock. This is especially prevalent in Florida.
Friday, 4th July
Today is Independence Day and the streets are quiet as expected for a country with not that many holidays. We had another quiet day feeling the effects of almost four months traveling. A good day to do it with not that much open and another hot and sticky day. In the evening I headed out to Miami Beach again, this time to watch the 4th July fireworks.
The fireworks went off at 9pm and in the build up the crowd that had gathered were getting restless on the beach (North Beach) letting off their own fireworks much to the non-amusement to those getting sparked on. From North Beach you could see the fireworks around the city and when it was the turn of the North Beach fireworks there were big cheers and the show went on for 20 minutes with the culmination sounding like a war zone with the number of fireworks they used. They certainly know how to put on a show here! On the drive back I could see fireworks still going off all around the city and we heard them into the night.
Saturday 5th July
Our last morning in the USA was spent packing then having an American diner breakfast at ‘Jimmy’s’. It was a typical American breakfast, too large to finish and greasy but tasty. Kirsty and a massive omelette and I had corned beef hash, my breakfast of choice at a diner. We lingered a while having some time before our flight and then set off to find a charity store to dump Kirsty’s old backpack (she bought another,more comfortable one). The drive there took us through an arty district of Miami which had some amazing graffiti art and could be worth a look if we had more time all around but to be honest from what we have seen of Miami most of the areas don’t look like you’d want to wander around, looking a bit seedy and unsafe.
We then made for the airport and our flight to Mexico. We have had a great time in the United States but both feel like it’s time for another country and keen to get exploring Central and South America. Bring on Mexico!