We drove through the city, past the skyscrapers down the coast and along the tree darkened streets in Coconut Grove to spend the morning on small beach on Matheson Hammock County Park. It was quiet and we sat on a bench and looked back over towards Miami and Miami Beach.
We went back into Little Havana and ate at a local’s hang out called Versailles -- a real Cuban hangout. The Lady ordered in Spanish until she couldn’t quite figure out ‘Dark or white meat, madam?’. Outside, she lined up at their coffee window and got an espresso shot to wake her up.
Back on South Beach, we moved hotel to Indian Creek -- an aging but fun Art Deco hotel that once sat on the river (Indian Creek). We walked to the beach and spent the sunset walking up to the boardwalk past larger more modern hotels.
When it got dark, we got ready for a New Year’s Eve. With no real plan, we thought the easiest option would be to go to one of the grand hotels’ bars. When we asked at the Delano, they told us that tickets were $400 each! That’s just for a free bar. I didn’t think that I could get through 40 drinks to compensate. We drifted down to Espanola Way to a French bar we had seen, but it was closed. We walked back up to the pedestrianised, restuarantised Lincoln Road and I looked at my watch – it was 10pm. Something will turn up. I thought.
We sat in a good sushi restaurant with a bad name: World Resources Café. At the bar, we ate cold fish and ordered several Cuba Libres to pick us up. Were we really going to celebrate the coming of the new year with cold fish in between our chopsticks and a camp waiter to give us a hug??
The phone rang at 11pm – it was the Lady’s friend, Maria. She invited us to a party in Miami. We jumped in a cab and he radioed his mate and he refused to take us: it was in what the locals called ‘Crack Town’. We got in another taxi and the driver couldn’t understand why we didn’t want to go to one of the clubs here in South Beach. We begged him and we finally cranked over the bridge and cruised into a quiet part of the city. The Lady breathed a sigh of relief when she saw a line outside the 1 0 bar. We got in at 11.45, got out complimentary bubbly at 11.55, and by 12, we were in the courtyard watching the Miami fireworks explode above the palm trees, aware of the Spanish in our ears. It was a great night – a cool disco, a local but fun crowd, a great band, and cheap drinks. Perfect.
(You can read the trip in full at my blog if you want.)