this morning i walked down to the lobby in the back of the hotel where they serve a free breakfast.  a lovely spread, and, more importantly, a beautiful, serene, warm morning.

i sat at a table overlooking the pool area.  beyond the pool is a little sandy yard enclosed by a fence, with hammocks and more lounge chairs.  and on the other side of the gate, the beach.

i walked out to the beach and it was awesome.  quiet, lovely, peaceful…there were a few joggers, a few people walking, and guys setting up rows and rows of  lounge chairs and umbrellas as far as i could see in either direction.  amy says the chairs rent for $10, the umbrellas, $20. there are also quite a few little kiosks on the beach which, later, will be open to sell all kinds of food and drink.

but now, peace…

this is in stark contrast to the scene when we arrived yesterday evening.  the cab drove down the street to our hotel, and the streets were thronged with people, most of them in their 20s, and most of the women wearing very high heels and bikinis, or bikinis with tiny little coverings over them.  it reminded me of a combination of las vegas and a spring break destination.  some of the people surely were spring-breakers, as a matter of fact.

our hotel…well, it’s one of the nicer places that amy found on trip advisor.  the price…steep.  but the room is tiny, and the place is very old and could use a picture on the walls or something.

the view from the window is of the hotel next door, which is about, oh two yards from our hotel.  maybe a yard and a half, i’m not good with distances.  it’s very very close.

we wanted to go outside and see the ocean, and the scene out on the back patio was, well…extreme.  it was packed with people, undulating guys with no shirts, more scantily-clad women, music deafening.  we tried to fight our way through the crowd, and amy and mom made it, but in front of me was a woman who was shuffling along, kind of dancing, but then she stopped all of a sudden to complete a circle of people surrounding a guy break-dancing.  i was trapped, and had to find another path past wildly dancing people who crashed into me a few times as i made my break for freedom.

we got out onto the beach and it was much calmer, but as we walked down by the water we could still hear the thumping of the music.

this was all part of the huge international DJ…competition?  event? of some kind that is going on here.  i think last night was the last night.

we made our way to ocean drive, the street filled with art deco hotels, all of them with restaurants on the bottom floor with outdoor seating.  they were crowded with people, and a gridlocked line of cars stretched along the street.

the hotels are only on one side of the street, though, and amy said we had to stay on the other side, which wasn’t so filled with people.  she said if we walked past the restaurants we’d be accosted constantly by the hawkers trying to get people into the  seats.

even if i had a perfect body, and at this point i’m pretty sure it’s never going to happen, i don’t think i’d feel comfortable strutting around in four-inch stiletto heels and a tiny little bit of bikini with maybe a little cover-up over it.  right down the street.  i kept saying, “that woman MUST be a prostitute,” but i think that maybe that’s just the way it is here.

we walked by a club where a huge drag queen was singing, and the crowd that had gathered was so big that cops were in the street making the cars keep moving.  he had a great voice, and big pink ponytails, and was wearing a multicolored bodysuit and really REALLY high heels.  he was great, and i took a few pictures but i don’t know if they came out.

we stopped at a restaurant for dinner and a bottle of champagne, to celebrate mom’s birthday and being away in the warmth.  it was nice, sitting there.  it was called the front porch cafe, one of the restaurants recommended on trip advisor, and we were glad to be up on the porch because it rained really hard for about 10 or 15 minutes.  it was fun to watch the rain, and then it stopped and was lovely again.

Miami beach is a huge international destination.  this morning most of the people in the lobby are speaking something else;  i’ve heard lots of italian and a little german.

why do people flock here?  just because of the women in bikinis?  maybe because of the reputation – something lingering from “miami vice,” or before that, when it was a fancy, fancy place.  the halls of the hotel are lined with great black and white photos of miami beach in an earlier time.

more later.  i have to get out to the beach now.  i don’t know if it’s going to fill up with people, and i prefer it quiet.

i feel that miami beach probably isn’t the place for quiet, so much.

we’ll see what the day brings.

ok then,

grace in the warm weather.

p.s. amy called jim, who said it was 27 degrees there this morning.  i think that five inches of snow fell there on saturday night and yesterday.  which helps to put the crazy crowds into perspective.