Monday, January 2, 2017

Thursday, November 10, 2016 – Miami Beach, FL – Sunny – 75F

It was a relatively quiet night but we were awakened early by construction in the alley behind the hotel.  Hammering, backup beeps, and lot of shouting in Spanish made it clear that we would not be able to sleep in. 

The breakfast at the hotel was modest – cold cereal (in boxes), mini-muffins, bagels, and yes, an actual waffle maker.  The coffee was regular and decaf was available in packets – I opted for regular coffee this time out.  We ate outside in the walkway, which was nice. While we were eating, an army of yellow outfitted cleaning folks arrived and started cleaning the rooms.  Very organized.

It’s another picture perfect day in Miami Beach today.

We had a route planned out today.  We are going to walk to the Lincoln Road Mall, then visit the Miami Beach Holocaust Memorial, the Botanic Gardens, and make our way back to the hotel area.

We started out heading North on one of the major street, Washington Blvd and then turning onto the Lincoln Road Mall Pedestrian Walkway.


Art Deco Building – Washington and Lincoln

The Lincoln Road Mall stretches several block and consists of a number of high end stores and restaurants.  At this hour and on a work day, the mall is pretty sparsely populated.  Many of the restaurants have outdoor seating in the center of the walkway.  These will be filled both at lunch and dinner, no doubt.


Entrance to the Lincoln Road Mall

Much of the mall is occupied by green areas with palm trees and other tropic plants.  Although it reminded me of La Rambla, there are no mimes or street performers.


Among the Plants at Lincoln Road Mall

Leaving the Mall, we came to the Miami Beach Golf Club.  The course was magnificent sporting both water and trees.  I couldn’t seen any players on the course.  Although it was a weekday, there should have been somebody getting in a round.  The course looked in perfect shape and even the landscaping surrounding the course was perfect with flower beds and perfectly manicured grass.


Can you find Ellen among the trees and flowers below?



The Miami Beach Golf Club

Across the street from the golf club, the Miami Beach Holocaust Memorial is a fantastic construct.  Dedicated in 1989, it is a circular structure surrounding a lily pond.  In the center of the pool, there is an island (or more accurately, a peninsula) on which a giant forearm and hand sits.  The hand can be reached via a bridge.

We actually entered the memorial on the wrong side so we viewed everything in reverse.  Some of the items not shown in my photos are a) An Eternal Flame; and b) A chamber whose only light comes through a stained glass window fashioned in the yellow Mogen David symbol the Nazis imposed on Jews.


The white area at the bottom of the photo below has an inscription - “In Memory of the Six Million Jewish Victims”.



The Walkway


One of the Many Sculptures Showing Victims

There were several benches – some hand inscriptions (individuals who supported the memorial).


We passed through a remarkable tunnel to reach the arm.  The tunnel had asymmetric slits which allowed sunlight through. The effect turned the boxy tunnel into an angular structure.  You can see the courtyard and arm at the end of the tunnel.


“The Arm” is a dramatic structure – there are figures trying to scale the arm.


The Arm

Leaving the Arm and continuing around the circle, we found a wall of victim’s names – these names were put here by the families of those who died in the Holocaust.



Victim’s Names (my reflection in the background)

To complement the somber environment of the Memorial, there was music being played – Hebrew and sad.

Continuing down the street, we found the Miami Beach Botanic Garden.

Not only are their exotic plants but also animal life – we came across a “herd” of iguanas.  They weren’t camera shy.



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The Gardens and Turtles

On the way back, we passed by the deserted Miami Beach Convention Center and the Jackie Gleason Theater.  This led back to the Lincoln Road Mall and Collins Avenue.  We rested up in the hotel and got back on the road – this time to the Beach.

We took beach towels from the hotel and walked the block and half to the Beach.  It was still sunny and warm and we didn’t want to rent an umbrella for a short time.  A solution presented itself – we put our towels down next to where the beach chairs were stacked.  This provided not only a backrest to lean against but also shade.  Nobody seemed to object so we stayed there for the better part of a hour or so.  This game me plenty of opportunities for picture taking.


Miami Beach (Looking South)




Miami Beach (Looking North)

The beach time was great – we just don’t get the beach very often if at all.

After yesterday’s yummy but heavy meal, I Googled pizza restaurants in the area.  I came up with a reasonably priced Italian restaurants just a couple of blocks away.  Italymania (really) is on Collins Avenue just down from the Hotel.  I haven’t mentioned an interesting feature of the South Beach area, namely the “barkers”, who stand out in front of the restaurants and bars and try to entice customers to try the place.  Usually, pretty girls are used for this job although we did see some guys also scaring up business.  The girl working Italymania was probably from Eastern Europe (well dressed and unintelligible).

We were the only ones in the restaurant (around 5:30 PM) so we didn’t have to deal with any smokers.  We ordered a mixed salad (fu fu greens and oil and vinegar dressing), a margherita pizza, and fettuccini with mushroom cream sauce.  All of the food was good especially the pizza.  We must have been hungry since we polished off just about everything.  The bill was about $30 (or about the price of one dish at most other South Beach restaurants).  If we get back here again, we will get that pizza again.

Needing to walk off some of the meal, we went a little further down Collins Avenue to a point where the restaurants stopped.  We then took Ocean Drive back to our hotel.  Ocean Drive was really alive tonight. 

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Ocean Drive – Alive with Music and Food

Ellen is currently needle pointing a Lion design for Ari.  Amazingly, we found the same design on the side of a van on Ocean Drive.


A great day in Miami Beach.

We got back to our hotel and tried to wind down from the day and evening.  We could hear loud voices coming from one of the adjacent units.  We were hoping that the noise would stop and it did for a while (perhaps they went out) but it did start up again.  Had to stuff those earplugs in real deep to muffle some of the noise.

Hoping to get some sleep.

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