Chris Rea & The Great British Actress – ( part 2 ),
Let me be honest about a few things. I enjoy writing this stuff. Whether I personally believe people enjoy reading it is another matter entirely. It’s a form of release from the day-to-day struggles I have staying positive. I also find that sometimes when I write it just sounds like complete garbage. Other times it reads back exactly how I want it to. How I wish it was the latter 24/7 but if it was maybe I wouldn’t be sitting here at 05:00 typing this for whoever is unlucky enough to fall upon it.
At this point it has to be noted that my photography skills are dire!…I’m really selling myself here aren’t i!… I was going to insert a photo but having looked at them, it’s for the best for the time being that they are cold-shouldered!
The next thing is Miami. I couldn’t wait to get there. When I did it wasn’t how I remembered it. Hardly surprising really considering I was last there, ( with GB I might add ), just under 20 years ago. Do you ever get that feeling of disappointment brush over you when something isn’t how it was supposed to be though. I don’t think it helped that after a meal and a further walk to the end of Ocean Drive, while sat outside it absolutely hammered down. We had left a lukewarm England for a rainy Florida. Had we been hoodwinked and were really in Macclesfield?…That’s how it felt when I went to bed on night 1.
Both of us were wide awake five hours later. It was 10:45am back home. In Miami it was just approaching 6am. It was still quite dark, but not wanting to waste a second we got dressed and headed across the street to the beach.
I will give you more details about The Leslie Hotel as we jog along but the one thing I cannot argue with is its location in South Beach ( or SoBe if you are under 25 ). From the opposite sidewalk The Leslie looks fantastic. A proper old school Art Deco masterpiece. It is smack bang in the middle of Ocean Drive, and as are all the hotels on OD less than 30 seconds from sand and water. Well there is a lot of construction work going on!.. I’m pulling your danglies, the Atlantic is a mere Michael Jackson backslide away, the clue being in the name of the road.
Many moons ago, for a wedding, GB and I were lucky enough to visit Hawaii. On our first night after arranging to meet up with the happy couple for dinner, the four of us all went back to our respective rooms for a nap and to freshen up. Near on 10 hours later, GB was standing over me with a guilty look on her boat. We had fallen into a deep slumber. It was now 4am. Riddled with guilt the two of us decreed that as awake we might as well go do the romantic thing, and watch the sunrise on the beach.
As we slipped a note under their door apologising for our 40 winks turned 1000 blinks, the door opened. A startled soon to be bride was looking at us in horror. Before we had said a word, She had spat out a sincere apology about getting back and drifting off. Pure coincidence but they had done exactly the same thing!… The 4 of us ended up on the jetty watching the most incredible sunrise I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness. I’m not including sunrise over the Thurrock riviera obviously!
Off the path we go, so far that I got lost… The main point being that it was such an intense vision of colours, that given the chance to witness something similar, we jumped at the opportunity, and there we were. I should mention that on our way through the hotel lobby I asked the night porter if there was an issue with the Wi – Fi. Her response was second to none. She waved her tablet at me, and said “Mines working”. I did sort of laugh, but then I also asked is it because our room was at the back. Again she waved her iPad and pointed to the signal. Brilliant. I went back, grabbed my device and tried to show her my signal problem. She shrugged. I took my tablet back to the room and walked over to the beach, a little miffed. She did say she would get someone to look at it , but I was a little cynical by now.
There were joggers, skaters ( not on the sand obviously, though that would have made interesting viewing ), mutual sunrise admirers, and surfers. After a stroll up to Starbucks for a morning coffee, we found a spot on the beach and had a lovely sun rising hour of bliss, if you ignore the guy sleeping in the lifeguard tower, and the other mutual sunrise admirers. It was worth getting up for though. A random Rollo tip. After being witness to one of those poetic moments we fluffy Bob – tailed back to our room to shower and get ready for the day. We had a plan to have breakfast at our hotel then go for a wander.
Now here is my second random tip for those travelling to Miami. Watch out for the beverage muggers. After showering and slipping down to the lobby, we were, shock horror, greeted by a minimum of 3 waiters asking if we wanted a table. Happy that we said yes, they showed us to a nice space, before being dismayed that our b/fast was included. It wasn’t the greatest food I’ve ever eaten. Most of it was at best warm. While we were queueing, and GB was hanging around for at least 10 minutes for bacon, another couple had perched themselves on our table. We soon moved them on!… And then the beverage muggers arrived.
One of the waiters, with outlandish charm suggested a “Happy Hour” cocktail. Of course, being on holiday and also easily swayed by alcohol, it sounded like a cracking idea. His punchline being “This is Miami, it’s always Happy Hour”. I opted for a Mojito, GB had the Bloody Mary. What arrived was sadly just ridiculous. We wanted a cocktail. What we got was a 36oz monstrosity of a drink. It looked ludicrous, Distasteful, obscene. It tasted alright. It just wasn’t what I would expect from a relatively high end hotel. Of course then the bill arrived. $64!…
To make matters worse, because the hotel is run independently from the restaurant out front, we were unable to put the drinks on our room bill. Thankfully GB had some wedge on her. It was only AFTER we asked how it was happy hour that the waiter agreed to sign our receipt for 2 more drinks, but in truth we had no intention of trying to get through another 2 of those. I did try to warn an English group of 5 as they arrived, but after I was asked by these random group of strangers if firstly, were they being too rowdy, and then better still, if I wanted money I gave up. Cheeky buggers.
We returned to the room and then grabbing camera and more money we made our way to Collins in search of the hotel we were to preside in upon our return in roughly a weeks time. After a good 35 minute stroll, a pastry and a second coffee, we arrived. It looked lovely. We showed our faces, mainly for a quick butchers and to make a table reservation for next week. The chap at reception booked our table, made a note of when we were due to arrive back and then gave us maps of the area. This was how I was expecting a Miami greeting to be. GB and I both commenting on how we were looking forward to the return already.
Once back at The Leslie, ( no working Wi-Fi ), we got a pack of beers , ( shop purchased, no contest at 8 bucks compared to the 66 it would have cost in the hotel ) and meandered up to the rooftop pool and terrace. It was a relatively nice space. It looked like it could have done with a splash of paint here and there, but overall, cool pool and spa tub. If I wanted to be negative it could have done with being set out slightly better. It wasn’t the cleanest and there were a few families already up there taking up the majority of the small – ish pool. As it was though, and it was so much better than the alternative of being at home and working, we supped our beers and awaited our companions appearance. TH and Juzza arrived roughly an hour later. It was getting windy and overcast.
After a short wander either side of the beach, getting a bit of sand in our toes, the clouds were starting to gather above us. To be perfectly blunt, it looked as though it was going to pour down. We got a bite to eat in a large Irish pub just off of Collins. Playwrights I think it was called. In all honesty that was about the only Irish thing about it. The food was what I would describe as run of the mill pub grub. By the time we had finished it was raining. With the beach off the menu, the four of us took the horn by the balls and booked a round the harbour cruise.