Day Fourteen – South Beach Miami

I woke and enjoyed a Bob Marley iced tea. No herbs but very nice indeed.

Kate has been panicking about getting our basketball tickets printed. She purchased them online before we left Oz. The receptionist at our hotel came to the rescue for us. One problem solved.

Only a short ten minute work to the bus terminal to get a bus down to where all the beautiful people like to be seen – South Beach Miami. We had no assistance whatsoever from a very unfriendly bus driver. The downtown area as is a lot of ‘downtowns’ in major cities are not the prettiest of sights. Once we crossed the bridge the scenes of huge luxury cruises moored along the river told you that this is the money end of town. One of the boat moorings was three times the size of the St Kilda marina. It is the Miami that we are all familiar with in all those T.V. shows.

We are off the bus at 11 o’clock and it is time to eat, I liked the look of a chicken place but Kate said it was to dirty. A few doors down a street spruiker invited us into Deco Sandwiches. Kate gave her approval and in we went. Good pick. A 10 inch Churassa sandwich and fries filled the spot and I will not have to eat again until tonight. Finally we found a Walgreens and werre able to get some medicine for Kate’s cold. She is battling on like a trooper but she has been very sick.

We hit the beach area at 12:15 and the beach stretchs on forever. Very clean sand with beautiful coloured water. Not much in the way of surf. It does put Surfers to shame. I had to put on my shades as there are a lot of good sights and I don’t want to look like a dirty old man.
We strolled down the sidewalk side of the beach where there are restaurants and cafes of all types. Seating is outdoors. I am starting to feel crook myself with a sore throat. The area is being transformed into a weekend gay pride event. Sure would be some sights but we will be leaving tommorow (Friday). English seems to be the second language down this way. I have read that Cuban and Haitian people make up a fair amount of the population.
We decided to have a cold drink at the ESPN sports bar. The waitresses are very easy on the eye and a little (cheeky) if you know what I mean. Bad luck for us as we got the only male waiter working the outdoor area.

I am now so tired that I can barely walk but it would not be fair to force the girls to go back so early. After all we only have this one full day in Miami.
Kate spotted a tatto shop ‘@ Oxygen Tattoo.’ Every block has a tatto parlour but this one is special. It appears regulary on a T.V. show and Kate watches it back home  We called in and she recognised the owner straight away. They got talking and he seemd pleased that she knew of his business. Both the owner and another aritst commented on how good the work was for her own tatts.

About 4 P.M. we lined up for the bus to downtown. Not a good time of day as a lot of local workers are heading home. I young guy offered me his seat. The first five rows of the bus are designated for the elderly and people with disabilities. Nice of him to do so but I declined the offer. A few stops down the road another older guy got on. There was a smug looking young guy sitting and he did not offer up his seat. A verbal stoush in Spanish errupted, In fact most of the elderly people up front ripped into this young guy in heated Spanish. He didn’t move.

We had a rest back at the hotel before heading out around 6ish for the Miami Heat game. A short 10 minute bus ride. Incredible stadium with a buzz like an AFLfinal. The Heat need to beat the Chicago Bulls to stay in the pennant race. They have not been the same team as last year after Lebron James left.
The pre-game hoopla is entertaing. Non stop music and commentary and the the team mascot was hilarious. Even when the game started the noise and music contiued with the crowd singing along and clapping and making as much noise as possible. It amazes me that the primadonna tennis players have to have complete silence just to hit a tennis ball. The Miami Heat dancers put on a good show. During one time out the young spunks were replaced by a grandmother troupe who danced and gyrated away as if they were still in there teens. I am hoping there are no wardrobe malfunctions.

The Heat was kicking arse and at half-time lead by 19 points 51 to 32. Looks like a blow-out and Kate is very happy. Guess what they got beat by 11 points. A 30 point turn around. Sort of like coming from10 goals down at half time at an AFL game.  Wendy and Kate know the feeling, just like Essesndon last week! Still it was great to see an NBA game for the first time.

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Rob Rowe

Day Thirteen – Orlando to Miami

Day Thirteen – Orlando to Miami
We checked out at 10 A.M. and caught a cab to the Amtrak Rail Station in Orlando. Our train does not leave until 12:50 but I am hoping we can check our bags and have a quick look around the city of Orlando. Unfortunately the station is not centalised like Southern Cross and there is little around to explore. We have an hour and a half wait for the train. Time to grab something to eat, 2 hot dogs and ketchup, one chilli dog (guess who that is for) and three sodas for $10. We left Orlando right on time and settled in for the just over 5 hour journey. You get plenty of leg room and you can also charge your electronics. I like train journeys. They give you a chance to look at the landscape. There is something comforting about the clickity clack and the rocking motion. The continual blast of the trains horn as we approach level crossings tells you that the train is the boss over the motor car. Get out of my way I have the right of way here.

The journey flew by and before we knew it we were in a cab and on our way to the historic (1906) Miami River Hotel located downtown. A journey time of only 20 minutes.Our cab driver is a Pakistani who has been in Miami for 25 plus years. He knows we are Australian and congratulated us on our World Cup win. I asked if he had watched the games and he had. He told us that he was well acquianted with the M.C.G, the S.C.G and the Adelaide ovel. I said maybe one day you will get to see the M.C.G. He said he had and in fact played a few tests for Pakistan and also played to County Cricket in the U.K. Told us that he had faced the greats, Dennis Lillie and Jeff Thompson. His name is Nadeem Mohammed. A real nice guy who chatted about his past life and also gave Kate advice about respecting your mother. He could not have been more accommodating and we have got his cell number so we can call him when we need a cab to get us to Miami airport in a few days.

Our hotel is located in the old Cuban section of Miami. A short 10 minute walk to downtown. We unloaded our cases with the time being  around 7:30 and headed over the bridge that spans the Miami river. There are many fishing trawlers moored along the bank. The area is safe to walk around but pretty grotty. I was taken by the number of homeless that are bedding down in their makeshift cardboard homes for the night. None of them give any trouble. I thought New Orleans had a fair number of homeless but nowhere near as many as this part of town.

Kate is still crook and not that hungry. We found a clean looking restauarant that advertised ‘east meets fresh organic food. ‘Buddahs Belly’ sort of burritos meets sushi. I had the beefy korean – garlic beef, kimcher, cucumber pickles, organic field greens, scallions with black bean sauce. It looked like a burrito, very thick but it was made with the traditional seaweed casing. Very nice and a totally new taste sensation. We also shared some Thai Donuts – hot mini dognuts topped with icing sugar and warmed sweet condensed milk. Kate miracously found her appetite!

Tommorow we have a full day ahead, exploring Miaimi’s south beach and also a night basketball game with the Miami Heat taking on the Chicago Bulls.

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South Miami Beach

Rob Rowe