Monday, January 9, 2012

Fabulous South Beach, Miami, FL

Saturday, 1/7/12 - I was so bummed by this website loosing my entire post Friday, approximately 7 paragraphs. It's hard enough writing an entry once let alone two times. So just trust me, we had a fabulous day with Hilda and Brad in Key Biscayne and Cape Florida State Park.....the gorgeous lighthouse was something to see.

However, Saturday, my friend Sonia from North Carolina who with her husband James have been coming to this park for many years decided to take the public transportation down to South Miami Beach and spend the day.

First on our schedule was a "freebie" with our Golden Ticket (I always feel like it's the Willy Wonka movie..... finding the Golden Ticket) which allows seniors to take the Art Deco tour for free ( a $20 each value) on the first Saturday of the month - well, that's today! Then our plan was just to spend the afternoon on the beach.

Will took us to the bus stop a few miles from our house at 8 am and there we took the bus to Dadeland Mall where we caught the Miami Metro Train. While on the train, Sonia who is originally from Columbia, and of course speaks for fluent Spanish....which boy do you need down here, was asking questions of which I was feeding her in English and she asked fellow travelers in Spanish for directions (yes, the Frick & Frack show.) When we arrived at our second stop, Government Station, we needed to find a city bus that would take us to the beach. A very kind gentleman, Jose, who had been listening to our conversation came up and said he was headed to his construction job on the bus and he would get us on the right one....Bus C or S. We walked with him a short block and a half away and he asked, in Spanish for the driver to let us off at the street we needed in So Beach. So incredibly kind and I might add, Sonia and I thought, very handsome! We then headed through the Miami downtown area and over a causeway to South Beach, an absolutely amazing place, where all the sights might astound you, but very beautiful and a very big city. Actually, this area reminds me so much of downtown Honolulu.

Our Art Deco 90 minute walking tour was to begin at 10:30 am and we arrived at the Art Deco building at 10:05 am.....a mear 2 hours by public transportation, which I might add only cost $5.00 per person for an all day pass of train and bus. It really is a wonderful way to travel down here. Our tour started on time and was really great, we both learned so much about the Art Deco period and how these buildings were built in the 30s & 40s and never were meant to last but one woman was determined to save them and one by one she did. All Art Deco buildings are on the National Register and nothing can be done to change or alter them. Our guides pointed out features such as "eyebrows" over the windows (for shade) port holes (for sea decorations) and white w/pastel colors on all buildings. Our guide told how in the 60s this area was filled with, as he called them, "blue haired ladies" and lots of seniors and they called the area "Gods Waiting Room" - loved that! The city did much to change it with the Art Deco period, the clubs, the high rises and condominiums. Today, it is a huge tourist attraction with lots and lots of people with money (and some like us, with OUT) hanging out on Ocean Street.

After the tour was over we headed over to the beach and decided to do it up right, we rented 2 chaise lounges and an umbrella to sit out on the beach. We weren't interested in sun bathing (shocking for ME) but just wanted to "people watch" and just enjoy the beautiful weather and So Beach. We each had brought some snacks so we never even had a real lunch, just enjoyed eating junk food all afternoon. About 3:30 pm we headed back to Washington Street, where we needed to catch the bus for the return trip and walked about 10 blocks just going in and out of stores. Finally, it was time to head back....which we did and returned to our same parking lot - SW 152nd Street and Dixie Highway - where Sonia's husband James was waiting to pick us up. We both agreed that we had a wonderful day and enjoyed ourselves so much. Of course we were both dead tired when we returned home but lots of wonderful memories and plenty of laughs and junk food......Much love to all our family and friends.

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