With Art Basel going on in Miami at the moment I thought I would share with you my Miami trip. I’m not pretending to be there now! Sigh…I would love to be, thought. There have been gale winds in London this past week and the temperature has definitely taken a nose dive. Who wouldn’t want to be stretching on a warm white sand?
It was one of these trips- and I’m going to risk sounding like a spoiled brat by saying that – totally on a whim. Who crosses the Atlantic on a whim? Yet, It was never a destination I dreamt about only the opportunity presented itself by way of a week in friend’s villa in Bal Harbour, Miami Beach. I mean- wouldn’t you go? And so I packed my bags. Or a bag to be precise, half filled with a few bikinis, two sundresses, two pairs of flip flops, shorts, two tank tops and a pair of high heel sandals. I took a couple of evening dresses, too, a DVF in deep burgundy and a Versace backless number I dreamt about ever since I saw Eva Green in THAT purple backless dress in Casino Royal movie.
I had no preconceptions and no real expectations save for the sun and the sea. It turned out to be a fabulous place, and one I would love to return.
In the mornings I usually went down to the beach, often empty at this time save for a few running enthusiasts (do you know how hard it is to run in the sand?). The villa was separated from the beach by a set of traffic lights. As a Londoner I got a special warning- not to attempt crossing the road on a whim. It’s apparently called jaywalking and one can be fined for that. It was a sound advice, indeed. Londoners have a way of crossing the road at any place and any time and the drivers are often complicit in the crime slowing down to let us through.
I must admit I’m a bit of a chaotic beach enthusiast wanting to swim, read, gawk at the infinite blue, sunbathe and all in a quick succession until lunchtime. When it comes to food, Miami lets you chose from it’s fabulous offerings whether you want sea food (I did) or American pancakes (that, too) or Cuban food in Little Havana (how could I resist). I’m going to admit to a Taco Bell addiction (I know, OK?) and late night take away Taco dinners, consumed by the pool. High and low, so very Miami. Swanky cars in Taco Bell drive through and designer dresses with flip flops (guilty on both counts).
I explored, too. Places with whimsical names like Coral Gables or Coconut Grove, pastel Art Deco houses set between swaying palm trees. The Jewish Museum where I got chatting to the curator about an exhibition they housed before sending it to San Francisco. I saw it in London, ‘Lawyers without rights” depicting tales of extraordinary courage of Jewish lawyers in the Third Reich. And Little Havana with it’s strong coffee and music spilling everywhere.
Then there was the famous South Beach. I’m not a fan of big crowded beaches (actually that’s my idea of hell) but South Beach was fun, really fun. From my vantage point under an umbrella I admired tans, the deep ones, layers upon layers of tan that only come from spending months in the sun. I saw some perfectly made and no doubt expensive breasts and bodies honed from hours in the gym, proudly displayed in neon bikinis.
Then there was fashion. Coming from London I’ve long learned to be at ease, fashion wise, wherever I go. I bought a few “Miami” dresses in more is more style. They were cheap and cheerful and reminded me of this holiday long after I returned home. The clothes were as you would expect- on a skimpy side and rather bright. What in London would earn me stares and loud comments, in Miami wouldn’t attract a second glance. It was liberating.
Then there was shopping. A swanky mall where I spent a few pleasant hours rummaging through shops we don’t have in London. I bought a tweed jacket- an odd souvenir to bring from Miami yet one that I love and wear often. There were vintage shops and I spent hours dreaming of LV luggage and Hermes orange butter soft gloves. And an outlet outside Miami, a monster housing hundreds of shops where I spent silly amount of money on Gap jumpers and Victoria Secret clothes instead buying that one, expensive D&G dress I had eyed up.
Then there was night life when my Versace dress came to its own. From late night bars in South Beach, hotel pool parties and swanky hotel clubs, you could see and taste how the other half lives. I adored Miami skyline at night, neon lights like a promise of good times ahead.
I was sad to leave. Miami was more than I expected. I loved 4pm storms that swept through the town to clean the dust. I loved how the city expertly toed the line between classy and vulgar, high and low whilst managing to be fun and vibrant, and not at all stuffy. I had great fun and will definitely return.
Have you been in Miami? Did you like it?