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10      Trip to Miami Beach — The Story

Reasons why people come to Miami beach are to catch the sun, the night life, the never-ending party sessions, the sand, the surf, the bikinis, the thongs, the men, the ladies and beyond. People come from all over the world because Miami has it all.

The best time of the year to go is between December and April. When it is Winter everywhere else, everybody goes to Miami to seek the sun or warm weather. Spring break is a definite getaway moment. Thousands of teenagers go for mostly a whole week of fun.

So we went there early September. It was during off-peak season and everywhere in Miami looked very spread out. The crowd was small and nice. It meant we had a lot of space on the beach, at the clubs, at the restaurants even at the bike rental place.

It was, however, a busy weekend due to the Labor Day weekend. Literally, everybody in Miami came out to party on South Beach (a 20-minute-drive from downtown Miami), where we stayed. Bars, clubs, café and restaurants along Ocean Drive was packed. Traffic was mad — bumper-to-bumper traffic. The beach was full of people who brought kegs of beers and snacks for their own private parties. Bars like ‘Wet Willies’ and ‘Clevelander’ kept serving drinks after drinks.

Miami is not all about party. Down on the Fifth Street toward the Causeway, we arrived in downtown Miami. The skyline itself is pretty bare compared to big cities like New York, Singapore or Sydney. There stands Freedom Tower which was used for immigration purposes during Castro regime when political refugees from Cuba flooded South Florida. It is now a museum.

There is a lot of Cuban influence in Miami. Going South from downtown Miami, there is a place called ‘Little Havana’. The main street is the Eight Street (Calle means street, ocho means eight — in Spanish) where there are café that serve Cuban coffee (it is served in a small cup, very strong yet sweet), souvenir shops that sells Cuban souvenirs, places where locals play Dominos (their favorite past time). Last but not least, cigar shops.

Cuban cigars are very popular and we are talking about fake Cuban cigar or cigars that are handrolled by Cubans that live in Miami because the original Cuban cigars are illegal in the US. No exports/imports from the country Cuba ever since Fidel Castro regime.

About 75% of the population in Miami speak Spanish as their second language. Outsiders communicate in Spanish out of respect to the immigrants who reside in Miami.

The rest of the outing of the city includes Coral Gabbles, Vizcaya Villa, Biltmore Hotel with the largest swimming pool, Coconut Grove, Venetian pool and passing by Bongo restaurant that owned by Gloria Estefan. Not to mention cruising Fisher and Star Islands where stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Van Winkle (aka. Vanilla Ice), Rosie O’Donnell, Gloria Estefan, Julio Iglesias, even Al Capone.

Here’s a wrap-up of Miami, where things happen all year long.