Monday, May 17, 2010

Miami Beach

Every year my husband's company puts up an incentive trip to someplace different. He works hard all year to sell enough so that we can have a luxury vacation. This year it was Miami Beach and the hotel was the Fontainebleu. Home of the Rat pack.

This is the main building. There are 4 buildings and they just did a billion dollar renovation. It is a very classy, stylish hotel. But it is mainly image. We have never been anywhere as image-conscious as this place. It was all style and no substance.

This is a little cabana that you could rent for $1500 a day. It sat in the middle of a circular pool and had 4 TVs. Most of the poolside seating was various cabanas that started out at $100 a day. The chairs were often hard to come by. This was by far the most "That's extra" place we have ever been. A cup of soda was $5. I can buy a case for that much.

This is the bar. The floor and the column in the middle of the bar light up. It is a very exciting very in place to be at night especially when the nightclub is open. I have never in my life seen so many model-perfect women.

This is the boardwalk that will take you anywhere you want to go on the southern end of the island. We found quite a few mangy but friendly stray cats, some interesting homeless people and some wonderful restaurants that had prices more in line with a normal resort stay.
We walked 16 blocks down this boardwalk to find a treasure of a restaurant called "The Tropical Beach Cafe." It was a Cuban restaurant in the 2800 block of Collins Ave. They had the best Cuban sandwiches for only $5.50. It was more food than I could eat. And on Thursday the special was ox-tail stew. It was divine. I had never tried it before but it is now among some of the best food I have ever eaten.
We also learned how to use Miami public transportation. It was $2 per person to ride the bus. We took it to the Art Deco district for shopping and lunch. The Art Deco district was beauty punctuated by periods of poverty. It was quite startling to see a store selling $500 one-item originals next door to a hole in the wall dirty restaurant catering to real people.
The homeless broke my heart. There were so many elderly people wandering the streets with carts or bags, sleeping on benches and just looking so alone. I know that addiction and hard living lead to this but to see such frail people living on the streets was to much.
We did have a good time though and spent a lot of time by the pool reading and relaxing. We saw friends we hadn't seen since last year and made new friends we hope to see next year in Puerto Rico. The company put on a good time for us.
We had a beach ball party on Thursday with a fun DJ. On Friday we had our formal banquet with Chilean Sea Bass (we all agreed it was the best fish ever). And on Saturday we had a Rock and Roll buffet. After we ate they had a Rock and Roll show with people dressed as various performers and lip syncing. They even dressed up some of the guys like Devo. It was a lot of fun.
Now we are back home and next week we may start school back up. This week will be for catch-up, cleaning and errands.

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